For a time the cares dispelling
Of this present busy life,
Fancy paints a pleasant dwelling
Distant from its noisy strife,
Where the birds are ever singing
Grateful carols ‘mong the tress,
While sweet Flora, incense bringing,
Daily scents the summer breeze;
Where, without a care or sorrow,
Lightly time should fly away,
And forebodings for to – morrow
Ne’er should mar our joys to-day;
Where life’s current ever floweth
With a quietude serene,
And a ripple hardly knoweth
Passing o’er its peaceful stream,
Thus the soul’s for ever yearning
After some abode of rest,
Seldom this great truth discerning –
‘Tis contentment makes us blest,
And that life was ne’er intended
In mere pleasure to be passed:
That our labour’s never ended
Whilst with us the day doth last.
Thankful then, for every blessing,
Let it ne’er of us be said
That a name to live possessing,
We’re as useless as the dead;
But an upward path pursuing,
Ways of error let us flee –
A mere dreamer’s life eschewing,
Right good workmen strive to be.
And, when growing faint and weary,
Longing for a happier lot,
Where the way is never dreary
And where pleasure fadeth not,
Be assured, for when this changing,
Ever-varying life shall close,
There’s a better rest remaining –
A glad season of repose.
- Liverpool Mercury.



Publication:The Bolton Chronicle

Published in:Bolton

Date:February 22nd 1862

Keywords:poverty, religion, work


This anonymous poem originally published in the Liverpool Mercury follows a fantasy of an idyllic rural dwelling, before urging contentment with labouring life. It contains religious elements – particularly looking forward to the ultimate repose in death, but its function appears to be the encouragement of continued hard work in the face of hardship. By this point in the Cotton Famine many workers had been put on short time and there was a prevailing worry that the industrial and social effects of this would be disastrous if the workforce did not accept their reduced lot. – SR