A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
Title:A Christmas Carol
Publication:The Blackburn Times
Date:December 20th, 1862
This poem follows themes familiar in the Cotton Famine Poetry which was published around Christmas time, with a focus on religion and charity. As in many of the other poems we’ve featured, the joys and comforts of Christmas for the wealthy and its potential trials for the poor are contrasted, and the poet goes on to draw on Biblical teaching to encourage some redistribution of resources. Interestingly, the tone towards the rich is one of disapproval, and the wording suggests that they are due some of the blame for the condition of the poor. References are made to the loaves and fishes being ‘taken’ from the people, and to Zaccheus the tax collector, regarded as a sinner until his faith in Christ led him to seek redemption by returning dishonest earnings and giving to the poor. Finally, there is a warning against ostentatious giving, so we know that the envisioned ‘well-behaved’ of Blackburn are those who help the poor through pure motives rather than to gain social approval.
Though this poem is described as a carol, unfortunately there is no further information provided about any musical accompaniment or a suggested tune.
- Dr Ruth Mather, University of Exeter.