Project Canterbury

Songs and Ballads for Manufacturers

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: Joseph Masters, 1850.

VII. The Cotton-Spinners.

A song for the plant that brings money and fame,
Gave Ashton its being, and Preston its name;
Whose ships fill the Mersey each flow of its tide,--
That is Manchester's riches, and Liverpool's pride.

It peoples the waste, it encloses the fen,
'Tis the joy and the wealth of the Lancashire men;
It gives us our meat, and it makes us our dress,--
So a song for the Cotton! We cannot do less!

Away to the batting! But softly and fair!
The fanners must fan, while the scutchers must tear;
Just as mobs hew away at the things that they hate,
When they get up a riot in spite of the State.

But he who expects that his stuff can be clean,
Except it shall pass through the carding machine,
May as well look for Radicals free from complaints,
Or for goodness and virtue in Latter Day Saints!

Then, in drawing, the slivers we endlessly ply,
As they run, and run on, and for ever run by:
Like the Chartist who gabbles with might and with main,
And gives you the same thing again and again.

And in roving, we twist to the best of our skill,
Like a Socialist twisting the truth to his will:
Though he works by his fancy, and we go by rules,
Yet both his twists and our twists are fit but for mules!

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