Handloom V. Powerloom
Come all you cotton weavers, your looms you may pull down.
You must get employment in factories, in country or in town.
For our cotton masters have a wonderful new scheme:
These calico goods now wove by hand, they're going to weave by steam.
In comes the gruff o'er looker, or the masters will attend.
It's "You must find another shop or quickly you must mend.
Such work as this will never do, so now I'll tell you plain:
We must have good pincop-spinning or we ne'er can weave by steam."
There's sow-makers and dressers and some are making warps.
These poor pincop-spinners they must mind their flats and sharps.
For if an end slips under, as sometimes perchance it may,
They'll daub you down in black and white and you've a shilling to pay.
In comes the surly winder. Her cops they are all marred.
They are all snarls and soft bad ends, for I've roved off many a yard.
I'm sure I'll tell the master or the joss when he comes in.
They'll daub you down and you must pay, so money comes rolling in.
The weavers' turn will next come on, for they must not escape.
To enlarge the master's fortune, they are fined in every shape.
For thin places or bad edges, a go or else a float,
They'll daub you down and you must pay three pence or else a groat.
If you go into a loom shop where there's three or four pairs of looms,
They all are standing empty, a-cluttering up the rooms.
And if you ask the reason why, t'ould mother will tell you plain:
"My daughters have forsaken them and gone to weave by steam."
So come all you cotton weavers, you must rise up very soon,
For you must work in factories from morning until noon.
You mustn't walk in your garden for two or three hours a day,
For you must stand at their command and keep your shuttles in play.
From "Folk Songs and Ballads Of Lancashire," Oak Publications, 1973.