Tuesday, 6 March 2012

6th March 1812: Poem "Industry Distressed" from the Nottingham Review


How chang’d are the times! I've oft seen the day
Of Christmas approach, free from frowns;
My creditor’s bills with ease I could pay,
With guineas, or shillings, or crowns!

Nor was the term, Bankers, in our village known,
To mean more than hedger or ditcher,
That work’d on the margin of fields that were sown,
Whilst his wife to the well took the pitcher.

But fine flourish’d paper has ‘minished our coin,
And rais’d our banks without fences;
And knaves with their rag-money often combine,
Enough to distract a man’s senses.

By frugal industry, I have made it my care
To provide for the winter of age;
But unwarily caught in the bankruptcy snare,
Nought now can my sorrow assuage.

My barrels that used to be stor’d with GOOD ALE,
And wine which the elder produc’d,
Are worm-eat, and rotten, and not fit for sale,
Having many years never been used.

And useless the stone, where the pig lay in pork,
While others remain’d in the sty;
Not here we as once the carol or joke,
When say round are large Christmas pye.

No more my old consort nor I meet the smile,
This season was want to produce;
Nor share in those visits which time so beguile,
Such visits being now out of use.

Not a vestige remains of my once happy lot,
The workhouse my refuge must be;
Must quit with reluctance my beautiful cot,
So dear to my partner and me.

That cot, where my ancestors liv’d in repute,
The spot where I drew my first breath;
Such heartrending thoughts, so sever and acute,
A period will soon have in death.

But what makes my misery fully complete,
My frame by NED LUDD has been broke;
Release from these troubles, kind death I intreat,
But vainly thine aid I invoke.

But, hush! all rash thoughts which troubles create,
I'll bow to adversity’s rod;
With humble submission I'll yield to my fate,
And happiness seek in my GOD.

This poem was published in the Nottingham Review on 6th March 1812.

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