Here you will find the Long Poem The Hartley Calamity of poet Joseph Skipsey
The Hartley men are noble, and Ye'll hear a tale of woe; I'll tell the doom of the Hartley men - The year of sixty two. 'Twas on the Thursday morning, on The first month of the year, When there befell the thing that well May rend the heart to hear. Ere chanticleer with music rare Awakes the old homestead, The Hartley men are up and off To earn their daily bread. On, on they toil; with heat they broil, And streams of sweat still glue The stour unto their skins, till they Are black as the coal they hew. Now to and fro the putters go, The waggons to and fro, And clang on clang the wheel and hoof Ring in the mine below. The din and strife of human life. Awake in 'wall' and 'board', When, lo! a shock is felt which makes Each human heart-beat heard. Each bosom thuds, as each his duds He snatches and away, And to the distant shaft he flees With all the speed he may. Each, all, they flee -- by two -- by three They seek the shaft, to seek An answer in each other's face, To what they may not speak. "Are we entombed?" they seem to ask, For the shaft is closed, and no Escape have they to God's bright day From out the night below. So stand in pain the Hartley men, And o'er them speedily comes The memory of home and all That links us to our homes. Despair at length renews their strength, And they the shaft must clear, And soon the sound of mall and pick, Half drowns the voice of fear. And hark! to the blow of the mal below Do the sounds above reply? Hurra, hurra, for the Hartley men, For now their rescue's nigh. Their rescue nigh? The sound of joy And hope have ceased, and ere A breath is drawn a rumble heard Re-drives them to despair. Together now behold them bow; Their burden'd souls unload In cries that never rise in vain Unto the living God. Whilst yet they kneel, again they fell Their strength renewed -- again The swing and the ring of the mall attests The might of the Hartley men. And hark! to the blow of the mall below, Do sounds above reply? Hurra, hurra, for the Hartley men, For now their rescue's nigh. But lo! yon light, erewhile so bright No longer lights the scene; A cloud of mist yon light has kiss'd And shorn it of its sheen. A cloud of mist yon light has kiss'd, See! how long it steels, Till one by one the lights are smote, And deep the doom prevails. "Oh, father, till the shaft is rid, Close, close besides me keep; My eyelids are together glued, And I -- and I -- must sleep". Sleep, darling, sleep, and I will keep Close by -- heigh-ho!" To keep Himself awake the father strives -- But he -- he too -- must sleep." "O, brother, till the shaft is rid, Close, close besides me keep; My eyelids are together glued, And I -- and I -- must sleep." Sleep, brother, sleep and I will keep Close by -- heigh-ho! To keep Half awake the brother strives -- But he -- he too must sleep. "O mother, dear! wert, wert thou near Whilst sleep!" And the orphan slept; And all night long by the black pit heap The mother a dumb watch kept And fathers, and mothers, and sisters, and brothers, The lover and the new-made bride -- A vigil kept for those who slept, From eve to morning tide. But they slept -- still -- in silence dread, Two hundred old and young, To awake when heaven and earth have sped And the last dread trumpet rung.