A Night With The Brother Of “Mine Host” Or “Who Could Have Thought It?”
Grimshaw Park, Blackburn.
By Wm. Billington.
Title:A Night with the Brother of "Mine Host" of "Who Could Have Thought It?" Grimshaw Park, Blackburn
Author:W. M. Billington
Publication:The Blackburn Times
Date:July 30, 1864
This 72 line poem is written in six-line stanzas in the rhyme scheme of ABABCC, which is surprisingly difficult to achieve with distinction, particularly with the short line length allowed by iambic tetrameter. However, Billington was a skilled poet and capable of maintaining a charming narrative tone throughout, with the first person form address here represented as a story told by the poet himself of events which had recently occurred. In that sense this appears as closer to reportage than lyric poetry, but of course only the participants in the events could attest to its truth or otherwise.
The political events of the day are touched upon with reference to the ‘cotton crop and Yankee war’, but this is really an account of social conviviality which reveals the closeness between the major poets in this part of Lancashire including Jonathan Critchley Prince and John Baron, both of whom featured heavily in the poetry columns of local newspapers during this period. As social context to literary history this is invaluable.- SR