Sunday, 11 March 2012

11th March 1812: Poem by “A Poor Stockinger."


The Stockinger lately so blest,
His household so comely and gay,
Contentment each night gave him rest,
How cheerful he work’d through the day;
His earnings commanded respect,
To church and to market he went;
The landlord’s accounts made correct,
He bow’d on receiving his rent.

But now we are dwelling with woe,
O, could I my fears but surmount;
The consequence who can foreknow?
Or suffering who can recount?
The warehouses still want demand,
The frames lie to rust on each floor;
The workman has “nothing in hand,”
The traddle he cannot tread more.

YE POWERS, who govern events,
Your Orders in Council we feel;
Humanity surely laments,
Who call’d for the hemp or the steel?
When INDUSTRY fails of support,
From home takes the poor-house in view,
And drove to the dernier resort,
Disorders may doubtless ensue.

YE SAGES our living to save,
Your joint mediation afford;
The thanks of the PUBLIC you’ll have,
Whil’st conscience presides at your board;
Consent, your arrangement may meet,
Success may the soldiers withdraw,
Whil’st angels your kindness shall greet,
For “order was heaven’s first law.”

YE AUTHORITIES, grant us your care,
O, exercise gently your rod;
Distress on distresses to spare,
Is worthy a KING or a GOD:
Ye BRITONS at large through the land,
REPENT, and your war-whoop give o’er;
That rapine no more may withstand
The peace and content of the poor.

Monopoly upheld by war,
The breath of sweet PEACE will destroy;
The PLENTY shall soon re-appear,
And COMMERCE give labour employ:—
BRITTANIA still Peace can command,
In arts or in arms-great are WE:
Can make all the WORLD understand

Nottingham, March 11, 1812. A POOR STOCKINGER.
This poem appeared in the Nottingham Review of 20th March 1812. Kevin Binfield (2004, pp.252-253) has written extensive notes on the likely influences on this poem.

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