SONG [TUNE – (obvious) – Saltando.]

OF souls a cure I have, you say,
(A thought I can’t endure);
I therefore keep as far away
As may be from my cure
A cure, a cure, a cure, a cure!
The many may endure
Both want and pain, I will retain
The stipend of my cure.
Isometimes hear that people starve,
Of this I am not sure
Because my health will not permit
My presence at my cure.
A cure, a cure, a cure, a cure
I want myself, I’m sure
So the distress and want grow less,
I’m absent from my cure.
Although I’m paid a handsome sum
The blessings to ensure
Of Churchmanship to every one
Residing in my cure ---
A cure, a cure, a cure, a cure ---
I would spoil my pleasant tour,
If I were to return to feed
The souls within my cure.
And so kind friends, I think I’ll stay
In my retreat secure
Till hardships all have pass’d away
From my im perfect cure.
A cure, a cure, a cure, a cure!
But make yourselves quite sure,
At quarter day I’ll claim my pay.
For “serving out” my cure!



Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date: May 10th 1862

Keywords:politics, poverty, religion


This anti-clerical satire castigates absentee churchmen for neglecting their parishioners at the times of highest need, in this case, specifically, the ‘distress’, or Cotton Famine. There is a pun on the repeated term ‘cure’ relating to the ecclesiastical sense meaning the care (cura) of souls within a parish – hence the term ‘curate’. In this poem however, the curate is made to sound like a mountebank, making money through offering false restoratives. Poems of this level of satirical anger are relatively rare during the Cotton Famine, but where they are published they give a fascinating window onto the intensity of local popular sentiment towards the behaviour of certain institutions, here most likely the Anglican or Roman Catholic Churches. – SR