The Massacre of Peterloo, Manchester, 16th August 1819

The Peterloo Massacre - Manchester 16th August 1819

'The Wild Floweret' - A book of poems by Samuel Collins
Bard of Hale Moss
1802 - 1878

Handloom silk weaver;
Veteran of Peterloo;
and Chartist


The wonders of this wondrous age
Would amply fill a monster page,
For every day and every night
Produces something strange to sight ;
But people are so cautious grown,
They'll not believe the wonder shown.
I would remind that sceptic class
Just to remember Balaam's ass,
And if a donkey bray'd it fair,
Why may not my old wooden chair '?
But doubt, deny, or disbelieye,
I'll to my tale. One Sunday eve
I had betimes retired to rest,
And spend the night as I might best ;
In pleasure I had spent the day,
In meadows green and gardens gay,
And so for this and other reasons,
I took down Jemmy Thomson's "Seasons."
A new arm'd chair, a splendid thing,
I straightway to the fire did bring.
The old one stood behind i'th' nook,
But I of this no notice took.
I scarcely had begun to rove
With Thomson, in a shady grove,
When being tired, began to nod,
And yield unto the drowsy god.
But just as I was going to dose,
A new and uncouth voice arose,
So strange to tell, my old wood chair
Did thus assail his rival near.

Owd Cheeor
"Theaw lung shanked skeleton, begone,
Un come not here insulting one ;
Tho' owd un low, aw've still some pluck,
Un dars thee on to try thi luck.
Theaw lengthy, lanky, laggin back,
Theaw vile intruder, Worthless Jack,
Why com'st theaw here for to preside,
Or in my homage to divide.
lf I'm no king I've bin a throne,
While four times fifty years are gone ;
This family to me were true,
And loaded me with honours due."

With sounding words and decent pride,
"Be not uncivil," New Chair cried,
"But let me state, by your permission,
You cannot boast your erudition.
Such rash, such unprovoked haste,
Bespeaks a bad and vulgar taste ;
And that you were, I dare engage,
Rear'd in some rude unletter'd age,
"When not a star, a brilliant one,
Shone in the social horizon ;
When all was darkest gloom perchance,
Lost in the depths of ignorance?"

Owd Cheeor
So lost in ign'rance, without star,
In former time to shoyne afar ;
But, zeawnds,we'd, one that shone in war.
Un youngster, tell me, if you please,
What's he that won at Rarnillies1
Un other places - Blenheim too,
A match for him at Waterloo.
We'd plenty to keep us alive,
For th' rebels comm e' forty-five; 2
Some kept alive and some did not,
For not lung after Byng3 wur shot,
Un if he had no trophies won,
He'd done no less than Napier's dun.
Aw dunno say aw want moor shootin,
W'n had enough upo that footin,
They'd happin done their best for th' nation,
Th't did na pleeos their expectation?

"I must confess in war's barbaric art,
Old England's sons have bravely play'd their part,
In days of yore, when with heroic breast,
In feats of chivalry outshone the rest.
The present race, disdaining for to yield,
With high achievements grace the battle field,
And proudly rear a monument to fame,
And Alma's gory heights proclaim the same,
Of War no more; may mad ambition' s strife
Be quelled with something short of human life
May Mars his brazen trumpet soon surcease,
The world subside in everlasting peace ;
The Russ subdued, may Britain, leagued with France,
The arts of peaceful industry enhance.
May the inventive genius of the land,
That all important, all directing hand,
Dame Nature's inmost secret to explore,
And prompting science to accomplish more,
Their whole united efforts then employ,
To render mankind happy - not destroy."

Owd Cheeor
"To render mankind happy sure,
Do drop it neaw un say no moor ;
Mankind wur happy, else aw dreeom,
Lung time before the use of steeom.
For Genius sometimes gives a blessin
That's little better than distressin
For neaw a days it oft contrives
Some speedy way to take fowks' lives-
The railway trains together dashing,
Do mak a weary wofu crashing:
The blowing up o' factory boilers
Sweeps off at once a host of toilers,
Un mony moor one moot be givin,
Which really makes it dangerous livin.
Sich wark as this wur not byth' macks,
When munchin stuff on horses' backs,
On great pack saddles it were brought
Fro'th' market where it had bin bought.
The factory worker, drench'd in oil,
The ruddy lookin son o'th' soil,
Are different pictures every feature,
One genius draws, and tother nature.
One sighs to yer the bell a ringin,
One joys to yer the birds a singin ;
This lives in sunshine, but alas,
The other shoines in oil and gas.

Aw weel remember, aw may say,
When aw wur yung in former day;
Zeawndsl we'd some fine owd governors
As ever did go eawt o' durs,
Wi' brawny shooders and red faces,
Knee breeches wur kept on beawt braces.
wi sturdy hips un monly cawves,
For men wur whul uns then, not hawves.
Aw knew, but shall not mention names,
Some gradely good owd honest dames,
Good temper'd too they wur aw meeon,
Un kept their heawses neat un cleeon.
If th' husband did, like other cleawns,
Just run away o bit wi' th' heawnds ;
Or happen sometimes off did steal
O'er hedge and doytch to watch a trail ;
Or went may be to see a race,
Hoo still wi' patience kept her place.
Or if he did get summut sup,
Hoo're not so leawd wi' blowin-up.
In fact hoo wur na rul'd by passion,
But neaw it seems it's quite ith' fashion.
Hoo took good care that by no choance
Ther ne'er shud be two foires at once.
Th'owd governor wur just that mack
That awlus cud booath give and tak,
Un he in kindness not being scant,
Alleaw'd th' owd woman length o' bant.
We'd active lads, that when elate
Wi' joy would top a live barr'd gate,
Wi' bouyant limb then run away,
And spend an heawr ut foot bo play,
An healthy, bowd, un monly sport,
To which they often did resort,

Un then they wud come whoam at neet,
Wi' broken shins un weary feet.
In those days we hed bonny lasses,
Sich as none of these times surpasses ;
Wi' modest, meek, un quiet mien,
No brazen face or crinoline
the like o' this wur never seen. .
Neaw I have towed thee of a lot
O wot we had; wot we had not
Is neaw in turn, it comes eawt next,
Aw care na who is pleast or vext.
Un fust that aw begin wi' then,
Are these great idle policemen
Aw say thoos chaps are a disgrace
To ony rural country place;
Aw wish there wur na one ith' nation,
But then thurs happen some occasion,
For fowk are neaw so greedy grown,
They'll not be quiet with their qwn,
What I have seen aw do know well,
Un someheaw conno help bo tell."

The thoughts of this now gave me pain,
and caus'd an effort in my brain;
And thinking quite enough were said,
I waken'd up and hove up my head.
I stretch'd my leg in turning round,
And with my foot made the fender sound,
When what I deemod alarming riot;
Died away and all was quiet.

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