Words and Poetry
List of Contents
Only a Cranky Owd Foo' - A classic Lancashire dialect poem by Stalybridge poet Samuel Hill, 1864 - 1910.
Dover Harbour - A review and synopsis of a 1942 nobel by Thomas Armstrong. A thrilling adventure novel set in the town of Dover during the years 1789 - 1809 against the background of the French revolution and the ensuing Napoleonic wars.
King Cotton - A review and extract from a classic 1947 novel by Thomas Armstrong about the 19th century Lancashire cotton industry, in the context of the American Civil War and the consequent cotton famine.
Rogue Herries - A novel by Hugh Walpole, first published 1930. The story of the Herries family, their fortunes and adventures, set in Borrowdale in the Lake District, in Hanoverian England between 1730 and 1774.
The Family Man - A fine poem by a local man set in the context of a very enjoyable family gathering in the beautiful English Lake District to celebrate the poet's 80th birthday. Very reminiscent of William Wordworth's style this recent composition contains many references to the seasons and landscapes with which the earlier poet would have been familiar.
Mind Your Language - A humorous poem by "the bard of Haydock" George Anderton, inspired by memories of a trip to Bad Canstatt, Stuttgart Germany with the Haydock Male Voice Choir in 1975. This publication will bring a smile to the faces of not only those members who were there at the time and know the people involved but the wider population of Haydock as well who speak the language.
The Heart of Midlothian - A brief synopsis and extract from this wonderful novel by Sir Walter Scott. Set in the mid-eighteenth century, it relates the trials and tribulations of the Deans, a family of farmers on the outskirts of Edinburgh, a case of infanticide and the contrasting fortunes of two very different daughters.
When Winds Breathe Soft - A classic poetic and majestic choral seascape with words and music by Samuel Webbe 1740 - 1816, a firm favourite with male voice choirs, choral societies and audiences alike for many decades.
Jeff Unsworth's Dialect Poetry - Some wonderful dialect verse on subjects which most Wiganers of a certain age will be able to relate to and enjoy, including: Th'istry of Wiggin; The Story of Mab's Cross; The Road to Wiggin Pier; Worra Palava at Bedtime; Scithers, Combs un Pensuls; Ceawnt Thi Blessins; Mi Ony Luv.
Toddlin' Whoam - A wonderful dialect poem from the pen of Edwin Waugh, waxing lyrical and extoling the virtues of family life as he makes his way homeward after a hard day in the office.
The Darkling Thrush - A prolific novelist and poet Thomas Hardy is perhaps one of the most talented. This poem is just one example of his work and one of his best, demonstrating his command of language and his ability to capture contrasting mood with the most wonderful imagery.
The Fair Rosamund - This page is dedicated to all those train spotters who never wondered why Class 47 diesel 47618 was so named! Rosamund Clifford, legendary beauty and mistress to twelfth century King of England Henry II, daughter of Walter de Clifford of Clifford Castle Herefordshire. Reputedly killed by a jealous Queen Eleanor (of Aquitaine) but more probably died of natural causes in a convent at Godstow in Oxfordshire. These are two poetic accounts of her fascinating story, also the subject of a fine opera by Donnizetti (Rosmonda d'Inghilterra).
A Lancashire Mon - More dialect poetry from the pen of proud Lancastrian Henry Yates, this time in proud and patriotic mood singing the praises of the red rose county.
The Wreck of the Hesperus - Source of mother's favourite saying, probably dating from her early education at St Thomas' School Caroline Street Wigan.
God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer - Poetry in the Lancashire dialect from the pen of Thomas Brierley 1828 - 1909.
Dombey and Son - A short review of this excellent book by Charles Dickens and a brief extract, a poignant picture in words featuring Mr Morfin and Harriet Carker (sister to John and James) in the period after the fall of the house of Dombey.
Aw've Turned Mi Bit O' Garden O'er - A poem from Samuel Laycock in the Lancashire dialect with subject matter very relevant to this part of the world, where the cotton industry was established and flourished. Although the industry has long been consigned to history, this poem provides a fascinating insight into the pastimes and culture of the times.
Martin Chuzzlewit - Classic Dickens at his best, in this epic novel written in 1843 a year after the author's trip to America.
On Th' Hills - John Trafford Clegg waxes lyrical in his native Lancashire dialect about the beauty to be found in nature.
Poet's Corner - Classic poems from centuries past: 'The Wanderer', of unknown origin from the 17th century; 'High Flight', by Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee of the Royal Canadian Air Force reflecting on the exhilaration of flying; 'The Shed' by John Clare after reading in a letter proposals for building a cottage; 'The Donkey', thought provoking words by G K Chesterton.
The Glory of the Garden - A poem by Rudyard Kipling and another superb example of his art, this time applying his language skills and inimitable writing style to a subject matter close to every Englishman's (and woman's) heart.
The Rolling English Road - Some humurous verse from the pen of G K Chesterton.
The Antiquary - A review and synopsis of this fine novel set in Scotland in the late 18th century, a mysterious, dramatic but heartwarming story written in 1816.
Dust upon God's Fair Earth - An unusual exercise in imaginative writing, this short story demonstrates a powerful command of language and represents perhaps the blossoming of a remarkable literary talent. Written by fifth year pupil J Taylor, it is transcribed here from the summer 1960 edition of the Thomas Linacre School (Wigan) magazine.
A Legend of Montrose - A synopsis of this novel by Sir Walter Scott, set in Scotland during the civil "Wars of the three kingdoms" in the 17th century, with the Royalist army of the Earl of Montrose set against that of the Presbyterian Covenanters supporting Parliament led by the Marquis of Argyle.
Hymn Before Action - Probably inspired by the Boar Wars and his fears for the future in the face of increasing antagonism throughout the Empire, this is a rather remarkable but surprising composition for a man who described himself as a God fearing atheist. Written in 1896 by Rudyard Kipling it predates the Great War but echos the sentiments felt by thousands affected by the terrible carnage in the trenches of the Somme and Flanders fields, including the author himself whose son John was killed in action at the battle of Loos 27th September 1915.
Martyrs of the Arena - A male voice classic blockbuster popular with choirs throughout the country during practically the whole of the twentieth century. With poetic words by J S Stallybrass set to music by French composer Laurent De Rille this choral classic was always guaranteed to please a discerning audience.
The Bride of Lammermoor - A review and synopsis of a novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published 1819. A tragic love story set in Scotland in the early 18th century, the storyline becoming the basis for Donizetti's 1835 opera, Lucia di Lammermoor.
Redgauntlet - A review and synopsis of an 1824 novel by Sir Walter Scott set in Edinburgh and the borders around the Solway firth, in 1765 against a background of two decades of Hanoverian rule and Jacobite zealots still clinging to the cause of Charles Edward Stewart.
Th' Coartin' Neet - Samuel Laycock again in his own inimitable style, this time waxing lyrical about his romantic attachment to Rosy Bell and his aspirations and fears for the future.
Boat Song - Poetry from the pen of Sir Walter Scott, inspired by the historic war between the lowland Scots army of King James V and the highland clans led by Roderick Dhu of Clan Alpine
The Pickwick Papers - Meet the Pickwickians in this humorous romp through the southern counties of England, packed with adventure and misadventure in equal measure.
Calm is the Sea - A poetic descriptive choral classic by Heinrich Pfeil 1835 - 1899, with English words by John Guard, a popular feature of many Male Voice Choir concerts in past decades.
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens at his best in this classic tale of mystery, intrigue and heroism played out in the late eighteenth Century in the period before and during the French revolution, first published in 1859.
Some Links to other reading - follow the link behind the picture
A Walk in the Hills
The Bohemian Girl
Local Interest: Richmond Hill Dairies; Mind Your Language; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; God's Choir; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Lindsays of Haigh; Dust Upon God’s Fair Earth; The Nurburgring 1960; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action; It’s meu ip a Funny Life; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; Wigan Old Bank 1792; The Brocklebank Line; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; The Holy City Liverpool; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; A Cricket Calypso; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak.
Walking & Cycling: Moss Eccles Tarn; Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; A Lancshire Lineaer Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Wigan Circular by Bike; Freshfield to Crosby; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley (Bury to Salford).
Words & Poetry: Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; Martin Chuzzlewit; Dover Harbour; Rogue Herries; The Heart of Midlothian; King Cotton; The Family Man; The Pickwick Papers; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; A Legend of Montrose; When Winds Breathe Soft; The Wreck of the Hesperus; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Dombey and Son; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; On meu ip Th' Hills; Four Favourite Poems; The Darkling Thrush; The Glory of the Garden; The Rolling English Road; The Antiquary; Hymn Before Action; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; Mind Your Language; Jeff Unsworth’s dialect poetry; Martyrs of the Arena; Th' Coartin' Neet; Boat Song; Toddlin' Whoam; A Lancashire Mon; Calm is the Sea; The Bride of Lammermoor; Redgauntlet; A Tale of Two Cities.
Wallgate Chronicles: Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Fun with Trigonometry; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Marriage of Figaro; Cat Bells; A Walk in the Hills; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; The Ravioli Room; Desert Island Discs; Travels in Time 1960; meu ip Travels in Time 2010; The Spectroscope; The Bohemian Girl; Bookcase; Barnaby Rudge; Romance on a Budget; The Battle of Solferino; The Getaway Car; The Switchroom Wigan; The Force of Destiny; Adolphe Adam; The Fair Maid of Perth; Ivanhoe; Semele; Lohengrin; The Old Curiosity Shop; Hard Times.