LINES ON THE DEATH OF JOHN OSBALDESTON,
Of Shire Brow,who died on the 17th of Feb, 1862.
BY JOHN BARON.
Title:Lines on the Death of John Osbaldeston
Publication:The Blackburn Times
Date:February 22nd 1862
Keywords:industry, literature, poverty
This elegy to the Blackburn weaver and inventor John Osbaldeston celebrates the life of the man and the town’s industrial legacy but also takes the opportunity to attack the wealthy in terms of class opposition. Osbaldeston obtained a patent in 1836 for the improvement of metal healds used in the production of cotton and other textiles. This advanced textile manufacturing considerably but the poem implies that Osbaldeston did not profit proportionately from his invention and the fact that he ‘met the pauper’s doom’ (l. 4) is related bitterly. This is a skilfully written poem, as one would expect from John Baron, with echoes of Shelley’s elegy to Keats, ‘Adonais’, in its suggestion that its subject’s immortality will be achieved by his earthly achievements. – SR