(Original) The Cotton Famine

WANT and Woe, twin sisters of the grisly band
That haunt the penal state of poverty,
Sit brooding o'er the million weavers’ wrongs,
And thus they sing their elegy: ---
In the cottage we are presidents,
O’er the cupboard we have sway,
Vices, in their rude deformity,
Follow in our starving way:
We are conquerors of virtue ---
Gaunt, red-handed democrats,
Levelling the working progeny
To sin in shame, or steal for that
Which makes the boasted brotherhood
Of man to grovel for their food;
And in face of panic darkness,
Obliterates the common good.
But above the song and chorus
Flashes heaven’s flood of light,
Speaking consolation to us
In our struggle for the right,
In our sorrow, in our trouble,
Mourn we what we strongly feel:
God’s right hand is wisely touching ---
We shall never starve nor steal;
For the good that shelters goodness
Touches all our sorrows’ goals
With the rainbow tint of promise ---
Haven-shelter for our souls.
By the wives who pine in hunger,
And the children barely fed,
Our resolves in tribulation
Shall find them honest, daily bread.
Strong in morning, faintly nightly,
Ascends the parents anguish cry ---
That from War’s red banner furling
Peace shall bless us by and by.
By the right that rules our conscience ---
By the wrong which men proclaim
Through this suffering, Lancashire
Shall redeem her proudest name!
Then, Want and Woe, in skulking form
Saw how fruitless was their labor
To touch pulsations of our purpose
With their harsh and strong endeavor!

Title:The Cotton Famine

Author:A Blackburn Weaver

Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date:May 17th 1862

Keywords:gender, poverty, religion, war