Mrs. Lofty keeps a carriage
So do I;
She has dapple grays to draw it,
None have I;
With my blue-eyed laughing baby
Trundling by;
I hide his face, lest she should see
The cherub boy, and envy me.
Her fine husband has white fingers,
Mine has not;
He could give his bride a palace,
Mine a cot;
Her’s comes home beneath the starlight, -
Ne’er cares she;
Mine comes home in the purple twilight,
Kisses me;
And prays that he who turns life’s sands
Will hold His loved ones in His hands.
Mrs. Lofty has her jewels,
So have I;
She wears her’s upon her bosom,
Inside, I;
She will leave hers at death’s portals,
Bye and bye;
I shall bear my treasure with me,
When I die;
For I have love and she has gold, -
She counts her wealth, - mine can’t betol [sic – printer error?]
She has those who love her – station,
None have I;
But I’ve one true heart beside me,
Glad am I;
I’d not change it for a kingdom,
No, not I;
God will weigh it in His balance,
Bye and bye;
And the difference define
‘Twixt Mrs. Lofty’s wealth and mine.

Title:Mrs. Lofty and I


Publication:The Bolton Chronicle

Published in:Bolton

Date:9th August 1862

Keywords:class, poverty


This anonymous poem contrasts the material riches of ‘Mrs. Lofty’ with the valorised simplicity and familial love treasured by the narrator. It adds a marked religious note at the end in the line ‘God will weigh it in his balance’, and the suggestion is that wealth matters little to God. Poems of this nature were common throughout the Victorian period but were particularly popular during the Cotton Famine, as once relatively prosperous Lancashire mill workers noted the sudden and precipitous increase in the difference between the economic circumstances of the social classes. – SR