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Born at Rishton on the 7th May 1859.

 Joseph Baron was, like many of the dialect writers and poets, a journalist, although he began working life as a solicitor. He was educated at the Blackburn Grammar School, where he "took to learning" like a duck to the water, and won prizes almost as often as they were offered.  Like his friend "Jack o' Ann's," he spent part of his youth at Blackpool; returning, however, after some years, to his native district.  From 1880 to 1889 he was a clerk with Messrs. Wilding and Son, solicitors, Blackburn; leaving their office in order to take charge of the commercial department of the "Lancashire Daily Express." He was on the "Express" for two years; and for six years after leaving that journal he devoted the whole of his time to literary pursuits.  More recently he has been Editor and Manager of the "Blackpool Weekly," and is now a member of the literary staff of the "Blackburn Weekly Telegraph."  Among the many publications in which poems from his pen have appeared are "The Athletic News," "The Globe," "The London Figaro," and "The Badminton Magazine."  He has also won valuable prizes, both for prose and verse, from "Tit-Bits," "The Golden Penny," and other periodicals.

Probably his biggest works were the Blegburn Dickshonary, which was later republished as the Lankisher Dickshonary, and wrote extensively on local history and scenery, as well as literary and poetical works. Under the first title, it was written for and originally published in the "Blackburn Times", and under the latter, after its enlargement, it appeared in the "Liverpool Weekly Post," the "Manchester Weekly Courier," and ten other Lancashire weeklies.  Still later the "Dickshonary" was published in book form.  It evoked a commendatory letter from Mr. Gladstone, together with many favourable press notices, and went out of print within two months.  Then came a new edition, with further additions; and this is now well into its second 50,000.  The work has also been adapted to the Yorkshire dialect, the words peculiar to Lancashire being omitted; and in this form it has appeared with great success in the columns of the "Yorkshire Post."

The "Lancashire Sayings" and "Short Studies," companion works which followed the "Dickshonary," were also hailed with delight by many thousands of Lancashire readers.  In fact, these are all three delightful dialect volumes, packed with sound sense mingled with genuine humour, and interspersed with verse, sometimes quoted and sometimes original, of the aptest and happiest hind.  Take first the "Dickshanary"—which, though primarily a humorous work, is a really valuable contribution to philology and turn to the dialect definition of the familiar word "Nook," meaning "share."

His Th’ Dule upo’ Dun, telling the story of how the Devil appeared in the cottage of a tailor at Brungerley near Clitheroe, is one of the longest of all the many Lancashire dialect poems written in the years around 1900.

Baron’s view of Lancashire speech is summed up by part of the dedication of the Dickshonary:

Th’ owd lingo talked bi gradely fooak

Th’ owd lingo as eawr faythers spooak

Th’ owd lingo as we hooap’ll leaven

Th' whul lot o’ Babel tongues I’ Heaven!

You will find that the author, not content with giving you the ordinary prose definition, illustrates it by "a toaathri verses of his own," entitled—


HE OLEZ DUD HIS "NOOK."


Iv trouble comes unto a friend
    Dorn'd streytway tek yo'r hook,
But stick clooase to him reight to th' end,
    An' olez do yo'r nook.

Ill-luck may come to yo' an' me,
    An' come o ov a rook;
An' fancy heaw we o should be
    Iv nobry dud their nook.

These cares as we let mek us ill
    Wod disappear like smook,
Iv we but faced 'em wi' a will.
    An' friends wod do their nook.

This world wod be a diff'rent place,
    An' faces breeter look,
Iv ev'rybody wi' good grace
    Wod nobbut do their nook.

An' when th' Recoordin' Angel teks
    Eawr items in his Book.
Heaw grand when he this entry meks:
    "He olez dud his nook."

Turn now to "Some Lankisher Sayings," and take this blithe sang in illustration of the hearty old phrase:—


AS HAPPY AS A KING.


    Aw'm happier nor a King,
    For aw whistle an' aw sing,
        Fro' morn to neet
        Mi heart is leet
    As a skylark upo' th' wing;
An' that's a sooart o' feelin', lads,
    As creawns con never bring.

    Aw try to do what's reight,
    An' aw addle wod aw eyt;
        Aw pay mi way
        Fro' day to day,
    An' aw nayther steyl nor feight;
But there's nooan so mony Kings i' th' world
    Con say they're hofe as streight.

    Aw've a wife as is a brick,
    An' we're olez gradely thick;
        An' ayther lad
        As co's me "Dad,"
    Is th' bonniest ever wick.
Aw'd nooan swap shops wi' ony King,
    Iv aw could tek mi pick.

    Aw've mates—ay, mony a scoore,
    An' they ne'er go past mi door;
        Though aw've no wealth
        Thank God aw've health,
    An' iv aw'm nobbut poor
Aw con strive for Heaven when aw dee,
    An' Kings con do no moore.

In the same little volume, in illustration of the expression, "A Hoss of Another Colour," we get a picture, as true to life as any that ever was painted, of that famous Blackburn lawyer, the late Mr. Thomas Clough:—


TH' BUTCHER AN' TH' LAWYER.


You may go to a Jew and buy things cheap;
You may catch a weasel when asleep;
You may get the best of a tax collector,
A plumber's bill, or a Mill Inspector;
You may be able to disarrange
The schemes of the bulls and bears on 'Change—
If you're pretty deep, and a trifle clever,
But as for doing a Lawyer—Never!
And as for myself I think I'd rather
Be less ambitious and make good use
Of my cunning and try to cheat the Deuce,
For the child is smarter than the father.

            Now, 'Tosney Clough
            Was "up to snuff "
(In more ways than one, but quantum suff):
And the man who dared him to a bout
Soon found he had got his work cut out.

            But it happened once
            That a foolish dunce
Who laboured under the fond belief
He had got Clough fast as any thief,
Went into his office with many a grin,
When he thought of how he would take him in;
And being shewn in his private room—
Where Clough sat snuffing a la Brougham—
Plunged into the matter without delay:
(And here I would pause for a space to say—
Remember when going to Attorneys
You are always on expensive journeys,
So don't talk of last week's sun and shower
At the rate of six-and-eight per hour.)


"Yo' see aw'm a butcher, Mester Clough,
An' aw deeal i' nowt but gradely stuff,
An' yesterday aw'd a leg o' lamb
On th' stock, aside o' some beef an' ham;
When in rushed a dog, an' as soon as look,
Id collared thad leg, an' took id hook.
Neaw, thad sooart o' thing 'll herdly fizz,
Sooa happenin' to know whooa's dog id is
Aw just thowt as aw should like to know
Wod aw owt to do, sooa aw've come to yo'."

            Then 'Torney Clough
            Took a pinch of snuff,
And answered him readily enough,—
Nay, he filled the butcher's soul with awe
At the mysteries of Common Law;
He quoted cases of the sort
He had often won in the County Court,
And his client got in a fearful fog,
And seemed as one overcome with grog,
As he listened to the catalogue
Of this and that and the other suit;
"But the gentleman who owned the dog
And paid the tax for the pilfering brute;
(And who he was didn't matter a d—)
Would have to pay for the leg of lamb."

This being the place where the joke came in
The butcher gave an extensive grin.
Then a chuckling laugh and a loud guffaw—
(Which somewhat surprised the man of law);
And he managed to, say, between his roars:
"Thad pilferin' brute, Mester Clough, were yo'rs."

            Now 'Torney Clough
            Didn't cut up rough,
But he did take a mammoth pinch of snuff,
And he closed his eyes, and rubbed his hands
As resigned as one who understands
He's sold, and must take the thing as such,
So all he did was to ask "How much?"

And though the sum had been worked before,
The butcher studied the walls and floor,
And clearing the entrance to his fob
Said, "Well, it's nooan sich a ter'ble job;
Six peawnd at tenpence—just five bob."

            And 'Torney Clough,
As he took his hundredth pinch of snuff,
Remarked, "That's reas'nable enough;
It's really dirt cheap at the price,
But there's six-and-eight for my advice,
So if you'll give me one-and-eight
It'll make the thing exactly straight."

Said the butcher, "Pay yo' one-and-eight;
By gum! that's a dearish piece o' meyt;
Well, aw think id nobbut serves me reight,
An', Mester Clough, see, here's yo'r brass,
An' happen yo'll come an' hev a glass.
But, Mester Clough, wodever yo' do,
Dorn'd mention this to a livin' mon—
Aw do hope yo'll kindly nod 'let on,'
For fooak would think aw wer sich a foo'."

MORAL: You're always sure to find
It is not Love but Conceit that's blind.

As examples of the dialect verse contained in the "Short Studies," I have barely space here for the two extracts which follow.  The first is taken from the chapter on "Childer," and is descriptive of the process known to Lancashire folk as—


CUTTIN' ID TEETH.


For weeks it's slavvered o th' day through on hankitcher an' bib,
It's slavvered on idsel an' me—it's slavvered on th' owd rib.
It's shoved id neyve into id meawth, an' skriked an' kickt id legs,
An' o becose it's gooin' to ged some "ickle peggy-wegs."

It's chewed id hand for heawrs at wonst, its chewed id ivory ring,
It's chewed—eh, dear, aw r'aly think it's chewed at ev'rything.
It's chewed mi ears, it's chewed mi nooase, wi' gums as hard as segs,
An' yet thad little bab a' mine corn'd cut id peggy-wegs.

It's bitten away at th' Tum-cat's tail, till th' Tum-cat's t'en id hook;
It's bitten away ten bobs' arrears fro' th' rent-collector's book.
It's bitten hoyles i' th' sofy seeat, an' polish off th' cheear legs,
An' still thad little beggar corn'd fot eawt them peggy-wegs.


The second is taken from the chapter on "Looking Forrud," and forms the concluding stanza of "Look forrud, Lads," ("A Song for Th' New Year "):—


Mek up yo'r minds to do wot's reight, an' nobbut th' truth to tell;
To olez deeal bi other fooak as yo'd be served yo'rsel';
Stert th' New Year wi' a cleeanly sheet, an' iv it's cleyn at th' end,
Yo'll nooan ha' med one enemy or lost a single friend.

That the practised hand of "Tum o' Dick o' Bob's" has lost none of its dialectal skill in recent years will be proved by the perusal of our next two pieces: the second of which is an amusing version of a well-known Irish legend:—


TO ONYBODY.


Yo' may nod do as others do, becose yo're nod inclined;
An' they may say as yo're a foo', or owt else they'n a mind.
Id may be yo've no wish to bet, or wear yo'r wage i' drink;
But then, yo're keepin' eawt a' debt, sooa ne'er mind wod they
        think.

Yo' may nod keer to sell a mate for little bits o' gowd;
Yo' may not harbour thowts o' hate, nor theft an' lies uphowd.
Yo' may ha' shown disgust for vice, at which they nobbut wink;
Iv sooa their thowts 'll nod be nice, but ne'er mind wod they think.

Yo' may forgive a chap, an' oft, as ceawrdly blows hes struck;
An' other fooak may co yo' soft, an' say yd hev no pluck.
But, spite o' thad, iv yo're on land, an' see he's beawn to sink,
Stretch eawt a gradely helpin' hand, an' ne'er mind wod they think.

An' iv a chap's on th' rooad to hell, nod knowin' which is reight,
Goo eawt o' th' way a bit yo'rsel' to show him thad at's streight,
Ne'er tremble at a harmless sneer, nor fro' yo'r duty shrink;
Keep up yo'r hearts, there's nowt to fear fro' wod o th' world may
        think.

 


OIRISH WUT.


Shure Fin McCoul was a throubled soul
    Whin he saw the Shcottish goiant
Shtip over the wave from Fingal's Cave
    Wid a shtip that was quoite defoiant.
"Oh, whirra—whoo! an' phwat 'll I do?"
    He croied in deshpairmint, did he;
"How'll I get safe from the murtherin' thafe?"
    And "Oi'll tell yez the way," ses Biddy.

"Och, sure an' you'll be the baby, Fin,
    For the Shcottish divil's a gaby, Fin,
            A daft soort a' loon
            Wid a crack up aboon,
So we'll blind him aisily, maybe, Fin."

The foightin' Shcot forninst the shpot
    Set his bagpipes foinely rooarin,
Thin druv, d'ye moind, wid his kilt behoind
    Till he bruk Fin's cabin door in.
And ses he, "Is Fin McCoul within?"
    And Biddy ses "No, but maybe
The while Oi'm look'n for him on the Stook'n
    Ye'll kape an eye on the baby?"

"An' sure ye'll be soft wid yer breathin', sor.
Ye'll not wake the delicut wee thing, sor.
            Me darlint—me choild—
            He's nearly druv woild
Wid his terrible throublesome teething, sor."

The Shcot just took at the babe (?) wan look—
    'Twas three yards long, if an inch, sors;
And when the chiel at his gums would feel
    Fin fetcht 'em a moighty pinch, sors.
And the Shcot, bedad! he was fearful glad
    To shtip it to Cantyre gaily,
While Fin came out and set up a shout,
    And twirled av his big shillaley.

And ses he, "Heaven bless yez, Biddy, dear,
For making me into the kiddy, dear;
            But for yez, me jew'l,
            The thunderin' fool
'Ould ha' kilt me an' made yez a widdy, dear."

It is time, however, to give a few examples of Mr. Baron's poetic work outside the domain of dialect; for without these latter one can form no adequate idea of his lyrical powers.  Listen to this lovely—


SERENADE.

(Music by W. Wolstenholme, Mus. Bac., Oxon.)


Thou art high above me, lady;
        Distant as a star;
Ah! but I may love thee, lady.
        Dearly from afar.
            Not gold so base,
            Or Time or Space.
    Can ever be a bar,
When evermore I love thee, lady.
    Love thee from afar.

Nestling in the sky, my lady.
        Beams a star on me;
Beautiful and high, my lady.
        Beaming lovingly.
            And be it near,
            Or beam less clear,
    'Tis all the same to me,
Until the day I die, my lady,
    Die, to live for thee.

Love that is sown on earth—
        Seed of eternal love,
Here it may burst to birth
        But it flowers in heaven above;
            When Time is not
            And Earth forgot
        It will flower in Heaven, my love.


    Take next this rousing naval song, which was one of the first six,—out of same hundreds of selected ones,—sent in competition for a ten-guinea prize offered by the "Referee."


THE MISTRESS OF THE SEAS.


Ho; a bumper to the brave, our defenders on the wave,
    Who are famed throughout the world in song and story;
They have conquered every foe since a thousand years ago,
    And have made our name a wonder and a glory.
There is silence most profound in the nations all around
    When the battle-flag of England is unfurled, boys;
And our cannons' voices make hearts of mighty tyrants quake
    When a wrong is to be righted in the world, boys.


C
HORUS:


We are proud of dear old England, she's the mistress of the seas,
We are prouder of her squadron as she sails before the breeze,
But we're proudest of our Jack-tars,—of their bravery let us sing,
For they battle to the death for dear old England and the King.


When the Galleons of Spain came to wipe us off the main,
    We had Drake and all his gallant lads to brave them;
And the world remembers yet—is it likely to forget?—
    The complete and final lesson that we gave them.
When the famous Dutchman Tromp swept upon us in his pomp,
    Blake despatched him, crushed and humbled, on his way, boys;
Ay, and France may recollect how the fearless Nelson checked
    Her designs for ever in Trafalgar's Bay, boys.

Ho, a bumper to them all, ready at Britannia's call
    To avenge the slightest insult put upon her;
May the consciousness of Right nerve their arms in every fight,
    To uphold their native land's untarnished honour.
May their lives be free from cares, and rewards galore be theirs,
    With the kisses of the truest girls on shore, boys;
And when Life's rough storms are past may their anchors all be cast
    In the peaceful Port of Heaven for evermore, boys.

Note now,—and note well,—the noble lines contained in each of the next three lyrics:—


BALLADE OF PERFECT HAPPINESS.


When summer days all blue and gold,
    In green leaves and in roses dight,
Their glam'rous beauties do unfold,
    And lure us with the witching sight,—
    Why, let us forth, at their invite,
By where the trout leap in the brook,
    Or apple trees are robed in white,
With one true friend,—a well-loved book.

When wintry winds blow drear and cold.
    And dark and stormy is the night,
When snow is whirling o'er the wold,
    And Nature feels the Frost-King's bite,—
    Why, let us round the taper's light.
Or in the chamber's cosiest nook
    Enjoy the God-sent season's flight
With one true friend,—a well-loved book.

Through Homer's eyes we may behold
    Achilles in his matchless might;
With Plato speak, the lofty souled,
    Or list to Shakespeare's fancies bright;
    With Dante soar to Heaven's height,—
With Milton on the angels look,—
    Heaven and the Past to Earth unite,—
With one true friend.—a well-loved book.


E
NVOY.


Friends, when all pastimes fail ye quite,
    When spectral pleasures are forsook,
Still will ye find extreme delight
    With one true friend,—a well-loved book.

 


THE CONQUEROR OF MARS.


'Twas not the goblet Bacchus gave
    Which acted as a charm,
And made the mighty Mars a slave,
    For the nectar nerved his arm;
The war-god laughed as the wine he quaffed,—
    Oh, his scorn was fine to, see!
That the paltry stuff had strength enough
    To conquer more than he.

'Twas not the gold which Plutus thrust
    Before the warrior's eyes,
Though kings were groping in the dust
    For the filthy ore they prize:
The war-god turned, and the dross he spurned:
    Oh, his rage was grand to see!
"Give, give me a blade of the true steel made,
    And a foeman worthy me."

'Twas Venus, Love's resistless queen,
    Who conquered conquering Mars:
She snared him with the glamorous sheen
    Of eyes which shamed the stars.
And the rust so red on his armour fed,
    For the god had done with wars.
Ah, they fight no more who fall before
    The queen who conquered Mars!

 


TENNYSON'S DEATH.


Deep silence in the chamber reigns;
    The mourners gather round the bed;
And softly through the window panes
    The moon's white mystery is shed
    In glory round that noble head
So calm, so rapt; for at his side
    His Pilot stands—the sail is spread—
He passes with the ebbing tide!

The Poet's dying hand remains
    On Shakespeare's page, where late he read;
One thought, perchance, his mind enchains:
    "Hang there, my soul," the Master said,
    "Like fruit until the tree be dead."
Alas! the tree hath all but died—
    The sweet soul all but gathered—
He passes with the ebbing tide!

What vision beautiful sustains
    Our loved one in this hour of dread?
What angel-hosts' adoring strains
    Unto his ear have earthward sped?
    "To the great deep," where Arthur led,
"From the great deep," his soul doth glide;
    Beyond the bar thus beckoned
He passes with the ebbing tide!


E
NVOY.

Farewell, a space.   The soul is fled,
    Nay, mourners, let your tears be dried;
By Christ's own presence piloted
    He passes with the ebbing tide!

That Mr. Baron is successful not only in the measured music of the "Ballade" metre, but also in the more popular ballad form of poetry, is witnessed by our next example, which is one of his many prize-pieces:—


"FATHER'S OLD STICK"

(By permission of Sir Geo. Newnes).


No, it's hardly the latest that's going, this shabby old bamboo of mine,
No crook-handled, silver-tipped dandy which a brush-dip of varnish made fine;
'Tis a plain, honest, under-sized bamboo, and is ferrule-less, clumsy, and thick,
And I love it, and always shall love it, because 'twas my dead father's stick.

I remember 'tis twenty odd years since a shilling upon it he spent,
And that daily from then to his dying it was with him wherever he went;
That, dying, he willed the old farmstead and the stock to my wild brother Dick,
And bequeathed to his "loving son Thomas"—that's me—"free of duty," his—stick.

Shall I ever forget the old lawyer, and his feeble and out-of-place jokes
On the "ample support " that was left me, and the loss to the revenue folks?
His stick!   Oh, the great disappointment—I who loved him—his favourite lad,
And my careless and indolent brother to get every farthing he had!

Ah, well, I was young, strong and healthy, with good wages and constant employ;
I'd the best little wife in the kingdom, and the loveliest mite of a boy.
So in love and in happiness dwelt we, and Fortune continued to smile,
And we thanked God for all of His goodness, and trouble came not for awhile.

But Dick took to drinking and gambling, and he pretty soon squandered the stock,
And his idling and gambling and drinking soon brought the old home to the knock;
He was homeless and penniless—starving—and foolish and weak, but my kin;
So I buried my anger and sorrow, and I took the poor prodigal in.

But Dick didn't mend in the slightest, he was fast in the coils of the curse
What a trouble he was—what he cost us!   And matters got very much worse:
For the firm I was with became bankrupt, I was thrown out of work with the rest;
But I'd good testimonials, and patience, and pluck, so I hoped for the best.

I applied and wrote letters for places, and the weeks went, and nothing was done;
And our savings were dwindling and dwindling, as an icicle melts in the sun.
What with Dick and the big disappointments, and the "nest-egg" dissolving so quick,
I could scarcely help thinking of father and his wrongful bequest of the stick.

Three months passed, and still I was playing; it was useless a clerkship to seek,
When attorneys and doctors and parsons wanted work at a sovereign a week.
Despairing and soul-less their faces—ah, God, 'twas a terrible sight!
And I sickened with horror on thinking what remained when they fell in the fight.

But our savings at length were exhausted, and we went a few weeks upon "tick";
Then I pawned all my books but the Bible, and I had a straight confab with Dick—
(How the lad quailed with shame as I lashed him for the riotous life he had led)—
And next morning he took the Queen's shilling—"He would turn out a man yet," he said.

Then we went into lodgings a fortnight, and we drifted still deeper in debt;
And I tramped after work—any labour, any hours, any wage I could get.
But in vain; and the clouds gathered thicker, for the wife of a sudden fell sick,
And the cupboard was bare, God forgive me!—I'd a curse in my heart for the stick.

And I dashed from the house in my madness, and I wandered, nay, how shall I tell?
For my temples were seething and throbbing with the fires and the tortures of hell.
The white face of my wife an the pillow was the one thing that haunted my sight,
And the moan of my child as it hungered thundered after me into the night.

On, and on, through the night, till I halted where the river was gleaming below;
Ah, the peace-giving river!   Nay, coward, not that; no, a thousand times no!
And I shook like a leaf as I conquered, scrambled down from the bridge, and fell plop
On my father's stick reared up against it, and it broke clean in two near the top.

All the madness was gone in a moment; I arose, and I saw with surprise
From the stick's handle something projecting.   Was I dreaming?   What startled my eyes?
Crisp paper, white, rustling—yes, bank-notes—ten bank-notes for fifty pounds each;
And. "Thank God, oh, thank God!" I was thinking, but my lips couldn't frame it in speech.

Oh, the things that I bought!   The suspicions of the man who changed one of the notes!
And the feast we sat down to, and—laughing—couldn't eat for the lumps in our throats.
.                         .                         .                         .                         .                         .                         .
And we're happy and snug as aforetime; I'm in business; my foreman is Dick.
And this broad band of gold hides the damage that I did to my father's old stick.

Though a devoted student and a busy writer, Joseph Baron is no mere book-worm, and his enjoyment of a game of chess or a hand at whist is excelled by his love of cricket and football.  The following is one of the many poems he has written in praise of these healthful sports:—


THE BALL.


Fill the goblet again! for I never before
Felt the glow which now gladdens my heart to its care;
Let us drink—who would not?—since in sport's varied round
In the football alone no deception is found.

I have tried every dodge which at cricket is tried,
Put in leg-break and off-break, and yorker and wide
I have tried—who has not?—to make "shooters" and "kicks,"
And said "! ! !" as they soared up the welkin for six.

In the days of my youth, when at billiards I played.
Many cannons I missed which I ought to have made;
But ne'er did—why, who would?—on my clumsiness round,
In the ball, I declared, the deception was found.

In the days of my youth—when the heart's in its spring—
Tennis once I essay'd with a "sweet little thing;"
But I burst her dear nose—who has not?—with the ball,
And—and—"nothing to love" was the end of it all!

When the season of youth and its strength is all past,
For amusement we turn to the golf links at last;
Get a "bunker"—who has not?—bring tears to all eyes,
As our tongues fail to utter the thoughts that arise.

You may try in their turn every ball that is known,
Be it pushed with a stick, be it carried, or thrown;
And when all have been tried you will say—who does not
That the splendid old football is king of the lot.

You may read in the records we have of the past,
You may read, if you like, until records shall last,
And you'll find thro' the ages all nations the same
Have indulged—will indulge—in the splendid old game.

When the heroes of Hellas a space sheathed their blades,
With what joy would they frolic at ball with the maids;
Why, Achilles and Helen would often perspire,
At harpastum—of Rugby and Tennis the sire.

When the Picts came marauding this side of the Tweed,
Oh, our forefathers bravely despatched them with speed;
And one fact of importance each chronicler culls:
That at football they played with their enemies' skulls.

And in time the dear ball was a monarch so great
That the Kings of this isle got to view him with hate;
For the cunning ones knew that 'twas better by far,
For their serfs to excel not in peace, but in war!

Then the clergy, as now, took a kick at the game,
"'Twas a murtherous sport, only fitted to maim";
They objected (a "chestnut," your pardons I crave),
Not because of the pain, but the pleasure it gave.

And what wonder King Football is great—that he reigns
Over millions of subjects and boundless domains?
And what wonder his subjects rejoice in his sway,—
That they sorrow the months he is up and away?

Oh, the grit and the pluck we have gotten from him,
The endurance, the patience, the fleetness of limb,—
The contempt and the rage at a cowardly blow,—
The protection and pity for comrades laid low!

Then a bumper unto it—the ball that is true,
Be it dirty or clean, be it worn-out or new;
To the hide of the ox that has long loved the lea,
And is mated with winds that are frolic and free.

To the ball!   And when April is ended at last,
In our mem'ries we'll treasure the joys of the past;
And we'll think—will we not?—what old Time has in store,
And so feed the bright glow at our heart's inner core.

Among Mr. Baron's other book publications may be mentioned "James Sharples, Blacksmith and Artist," "Jimmy Forrest's Career," "Ribble Land, its Scenery, History and Legendary Lore"; "History of the Blackburn Rovers Football Club," and "A Short History of Blackburn."  Over 11,000 copies of the last-named work were bespoken before the day of issue.  "His Grandfather's Clock," a farce, was produced at New Sadler's Wells Theatre in December, 1883, and had a long run; and his comedietta, "Slightly Suspicious," was produced at the Globe Theatre in 1891.  The production of his three-act opera,—founded by arrangement with the author, upon a work by the late Sir Walter Besant,—has been delayed by the too early death of Mr. Arthur Miller, of Blackburn, who was engaged upon the musical portion of the work.

References

The former website known as Lancashire Hotpots

http://gerald-massey.org.uk/hull/c_blackburn_9.htm