THE CUTLER'S DAUGHTER from Ballads, Poems and Recitations 1885 by Ed Darbyshire

  • 26 March, 2008 at 21:28 #499

    [html] This poem was written by a Sheffield grinder and the story in it must have been influenced by his surroundings. I wonder if Ed relieved some of the boredom of his occupation by composing his poems in his head as he worked?'I'm a blade, rough handled, fluted and spangledMy heart is entangled with love, true as steel,For a poor cutler's daughter, who lives in the quarter,Where rough Sheffield grinders turn many a wheel.She's made of such metal, wild hearts she can settle, She's pretty well polished – she's everything nice:For when I first met her, and tried hard to get her, I felt like a pocket knife screwed in a vice.Industrious rather, she works with her father, Pinning on scale tangs from morning to night;And charming Susannah, she sings to her hammer,And needs no piano to keep her notes bright.The grinders have made her as sharp as a razor, A witty young shaver, so careless and free;She's a blade for a sportsman, a match for a foreman -In fact she's too good for a waster like me.I'll make her my dear wife, then, like a penknife,I'll flourish my feathers whene'er duty calls;And polish my manners, like charming Susannah'sAnd take her to Tommy's to dances and balls.And should Fortune's chances e'er lop off the branches, Of our little business, though small it may be;You cutlers shall never say you put together,Round tangs or scale tangs, paired better then we.Recent quote from a "Moseley" – an elderly Sheffielder."There were so many litle back street businesses, squallid places, you wouldn't be able to realise just how diry they were, filthy conditions. And then there were the buffer girls who buffed the spoons and forks, working in grit and dirt. They were part of Sheffield. They wore a red turban on their heads to deep out the dirt and above all things a white sort of overall. The buffing shop where they worked was so noisy and everyone shouted because of the noise of the buffing machines".In these conditions then, wasn't it remarkable that Ed Darbyshire retained his great sense of humour ! [/html]

    27 March, 2008 at 16:52 #602

    [html] I think these are a wonderful insight into the working lives of our ancestors. They give an indication of working conditions, the processes involved, the pride in a well finished product and above all they show how ordinary working class people were thinking during what were long and monotonous working hours.As today, I wonder just what skills these people possesed which were not utilised to the full?How would we, today, react if required to work in these conditions for the pitance they earned, and with so little time off?Society has changed beyond all recognition, and it is through these snippets we realise just how much. Many thanks Hibiscus Girl, you have come up with some real gems.Best regardsMartin [/html]

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