King Cotton.

Who was it tried to make these States
In fragments lie, like broken plates?
Who strove to break our Northern pates?
Who tried to make the world confess,
That Southern gentlemen possess
The power all nations to distress?
Who tried to starve the toilsome poor,
At home and on each foreign shore,
That all might Southern wrath deplore?
Who, when of chastisement afraid,
Most basely ran to France, for aid,
And humble prayers to Britain made?
Who like a donkey tried to bray
Defiance to the Federal sway,
But soon got scared and ran away?
Who can’t, by holding back supplies
Of raw material, make the price
Of Tower Hall’s fine Clothing rise?

Title:King Cotton.

Author:The Bard of Tower Hall

Publication:The Philadelphia Inquirer

Published in:Philadelphia

Date:June 21st 1862

Keywords:cotton, politics, trade


Even in our first 100 poems published back in August 2018 we presented examples of British poems which appeared to be political or social commentary before revealing themselves as advertisements. Here is an American example. In its defence, the relationship between the political theme and the product being sold is not arbitrary. This advertisement/poem trumpets the facts that the company in question can still sell its clothes at competitive prices in spite of the effects of the cotton blockade. The piece is followed in this publication context by the following statement, which though partly illegible in the version we accessed, puts the poem into its true commercial context: [We still offer the largest and best assortment of Ready Made Clothing in Philadelphia, being daily in receipt of new and [? ]able styles of goods, and being enabled, by unequalled facilities for manufacturing to keep up our assortment, notwithstanding large and rapid sales. All can be suited. Our stock comprises all styles, sizes, qualities and [? ], from low[?] grades to the finest. Long experience and our mode of conducting business—buying and selling for cash[?] only—enable us to sell at the [low?]est possible prices goods which in style and workmanship cannot be surpassed.] SR