[Series of three poems poems taken from The Temperance and other Poems of the late Henry Anderton of Walton-le Dale, near Preston (1863) (full book available here https://archive.org/details/temperanceotherp00anderich )]

Let sycophants bend their base knees in the court,
And servilely cringe round the gate,
And barter their honour, to earn the support
Of the wealthy, the titled, the great;
Their guilt-piled possessions I loathe, while I scorn
The knaves – the vile knaves – who possess ‘em;
I love not to pamper oppression, but mourn,
For the poor, the robb’d poor – God bless ‘em!
Let tyranny glitter in purple and gold,
The sheen and the costly array;
Let idiots take pleasure in what they behold
‘Till the puppet shows vanish away;
I turn from such pageants as these, for I know
Whose gold bought the gew-gaws which dress ‘em;
I turn from such splendour to brood o’er the woe
Of the poor, the starved poor, - God bless ‘em!
Let legalised wrong domineer over right,
And want be accounted a crime;
Let barefaced dishonour put virtue to flight,
And traitors exult in their prime;
Let the pride-trampled mob feel the venomous claws
Of the vultures who strip and oppress ‘em;
I care not, my soul is alive in the cause
Of the poor, the stung poor, - God bless ‘em!
Let the halls of our foemen, like Solomon’s shine
With jewels, and echo with mirth;
While cellars, and dungeons, and garrets confine
The bravest and best of the earth;
I’ll not be the slave of these upstarts, who soils
The knee which he bends to caress ‘em;
Give me the unbought gratulations and smiles
Of the poor, the warm poor, - God bless ‘em!
And what, though discretion should check me and say –
“The wrath of your foes will be roused!”
I’ll fight against self if it stands in the way
Of the cause which my heart has espoused;
The poor are my brethren, and for them I part
With honor and those who possess ‘em
For oh! while a pulse bespeaks life in my heart,
It will throb for the poor, - God bless ‘em!
Surely “wonders never cease,”
Valk up, gemmens, pins-a-piece!
Pins-a-piece! ‘tis quite dog cheap,
Such a field of fun to reap;
Pins-a-piece to peep at things
Which the “march of freedom” brings!
Pins-a-piece to look at a show –
Modern wonders all in a row!
Freedom’s tricks in ’37,
Have made England just like heave;
Public faith without a flaw!
Wages high! provisions low!
Penny cobs like shilling loaves!
Baked in Jock’s “No Corn Law” stoves.
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Cobs, where are you all in a row?
Mark the Whig’s “Dead Body Bill!”
When a pauper’s pulse sounds still –
“Dust to dust” is hardly read
O’er the friendless, unclaimed dead.
Ere the “student’s” glittering knife
Maims the form yet warm with life.
Pins-a-piece to look at a show
Whigs like butchers all in a row!
Lo! yon Babel just arisen,
Gemmen, ‘tis a “Poor-Law prison!”
Rectangle of gloom profound,
Hidden by thick walls all round;
Who are they that press the floor?
Englishmen, because they’re poor!
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig-built dungeons all in a row!
In these ultra-blessed times,
Want and child-bearing are crimes!
“Husbands , to your partners cleave,”
Says that God whom we believe!
“Part, and no more paupers breed,”
Says Malthusian Crawford’s creed!
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig-born comforts all in a row!
Paupers starve alone – to wit –
As commissioners think fit;
“Best to part,” says Brougham Hal, -
“And,” cries Little John, “they shall.”
Classified must paupers dwell,
Dad, mam, lad, lass – each a cell.
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig-made hermits all in a row!
They may meet at prayers, but all
To the pauper’s church must crawl –
There where three partitioned aisles
Baulk their recognising smiles;
In one place, yet made like three –
Trinity in unity!
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig-plann’d temples all in a row!
They may meet at table, but
There the pauper’s mouth is shut!
By the “silent system” nurs’d.
All are mute, though fit to burst.
What can still groan, sigh, or sob?
“Stocks” and “nine-tails” do that job!
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig-gagg’d Britons all in a row!
Does plum pudding bless their maws?
Does roast beef extend their jaws?
Beef and pudding! nay, nay, nay!
That’s the hell-born Tory way!
That would yield no treasury grist,
Says our Scotch “economist.”
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig state-tactics all in a row!
Hear the Board its will pronounce –
Weigh their diet ounce by ounce!
We must save, then so contrive
Just to save their souls alive!
Let them have the coarsest stuff, -
Fifteen pence a week’s enough!
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig-spread banquets all in a row!
Thus Whigs stop the pauper’s breath,
Save, by “clamming” men to death!
Scrape from British blood and bones
“Brass” to pay their “salaried drones.”
What do these sage Britons? zounds!
Nothing! save the pension pounds!
Pins-a-piece to look at a show,
Whig “retrenchments” all in a row!
Ye champions of freedom, oppression’s out-wormers,
Who would roast every tyrant on liberty’s spit,
Ye air-castle stormers, ye dram-shop reformers,
“Give ear,” for I want to “chop logic” a bit.
Political drunkards are all “losing stakes” men
Who take losing metods to get what each craves;
You’re poor as March rabbits, and poverty makes men
What drunkards deserve to be, paupers and slaves!
One talks of “repealing the taxes on knowledge,”
Sufficiently loud “the deaf adder” to vex;
Yet he must have been taught at a learn-nothing college,
For the gobbin can’t tell a big Q from an X.
And one, because some “turn their coats,” keeps a-mourning,
And if he could catch them the scamps he would “muz;”
Yet I think in my heart he had better be turning
His own, for it cannot look worse than it does.
Another would “wipe out our national debt,” and
He’d dot with the “sponge” of which Cobbett could talk,
Yet to wipe off his own “debt” a sponge he can’t get, and
He still is the dupe of the two-for-one chalk.
Another would get out of tyranny’s books, but
His thoughts must be rank “topsy-turvyish” grown;
He might doctor poor libert’s “shish-shashle” pegs, but
The sot has quite lost the use of his own.
One will never desert those who live by their labors,
“The struggle with him will but end with his life,”
Yet the wretch (and its very well known to his neighors)
Has been “cribbed” above once, for “deserting his wife!”
Another would “kindle a Radical bonfire,”
To burn up the trash and the dross of the state,
Yet for one week, at least, he has never had one fire,
To warm his blue nose in his own rusty grate!
Another would “patch up our laws,” and he itches
To mend ‘em wherever a rent place appears;
Yet he can’t pay his tailor for mending his breeches;
Just look, what a couple of leg sleeves he wears!
Another would “loose all the slaves in the nation,”
Till he has loos’d ’em he never would stop;
Yet he must have glanced o’er his own situation,
For the fellow can’t loose his own shirt out of pop.
When election time comes these men chatter like parrots,
If bawling would win, then would tyranny fall;
But they live in unregistered cellars and garrets,
And, having no votes, they are nothing at all.
Are you blind, or ought worse, drunken champions of freedom?
Hear me out, I beseech you, I know what you’d sat;
You would give their full rights to the millions who need ‘em;
“Amen!” I reply, but you go the wrong way.
We’ve had talkings sufficient, and now we want actions;
Your cups have undone you, lay these on the shelves;
Leave the shell of reform unto parties and factions;
Seize the kernel at once by reforming yourselves.
Let our joiners and spinners, mechanics and founders,
Keep the “brass” they once spend on their bowls in their fists;
Their money thus saved, what a crowd of ten-pounders
Might rally round Freedom, and swell out her lists!
Teetotal’s your engine, - it looks but a puny one;
But work it, - you’ll find it gives strength to the weak,
For, thus knit, we shall form a Political Union,
Which tyrants may hack at, but never can break.

Title:Series of Poems

Author:Henry Anderton

Publication:The Blackburn Times

Published in:Blackburn

Date:August 8th, 1863

Keywords:politics, poverty, satire


This series of three poems by Henry Anderson indicate the relative tolerance of the editors of the Blackburn Times when it comes to radical, class conscious material. The themes here range from the general oppositional economic argument of the first, through the specific attack on the perceived hypocrisy of the liberal Whigs, to the last satire on the behaviour of parliamentarians. What unites all of these poems is a sense of righteous anger, and as they are published at the height of the Cotton Famine this runs against the grain of the majority of newspaper poems which tend to be politically emollient, urging class co-operation. – SR