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1912 > Sligo Poetry 1912 > Sligo Independent

During 1912 and 1913 the Sligo Independent published a number of short sharp political verses on the current national political situation. These were all anti-government and anti-Home Rule reflecting the newspaper's stance. In 1912 these were published June to August only and in 1913 between August and December.

The verses are generally short, in response to a recent event or statement and rely heavily on sarcasm and rhyme. They do not read very smoothly and show no great facility with rhythm.

Their author or origin is difficult to decide. Only one is credited with having appeared in another publication, an English one, so it appears they were written first and foremost for the Independent. Of those that have a location, all except one have London, W. The one exception, the first of 1913 in mid-August, has Boyle, County Roscommon which is interesting. Could it suggest someone travelling from Sligo to London for the Parliamentary session?

The Independent contained regular reports from a Westminster Correspondent who is unnamed. Could this be the same man? The A.D. initials, if indeed they are the author's initials, might suggest A. L. Denham whose poem on Knocknarea was published in March 1912, this author's only appearance in the newspapers.

There are few Denhams to be found in the 1901 and 1911 census records, 32 and 45 respectively. Of these none live in Sligo or surrounding counties. Nor is there an A. Denham who might be the author of any of these verses.

The targets in these poems are the Liberal government under Asquith, Lloyd George the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the government's support of Home Rule in return for an alliance with John Redmond and his Irish Parliamentary Party. There are jibes against Lloyd George's National Insurance Act of 1911 and jubilation at the Conservative victory in the Crewe by-election. They support the Conservatives under the leadership of Bonar Law and their alliance with the Ulster Unionists under Edward Carson.

Sligo Independent 29 June 1912


Men of Ulster, will you falter?
Now the challenge has gone forth.
No! your oaths will never alter,
Sworn for Carson and the North.
Is each Ulsterman a fool?
When he shouts out “No Home Rule.”
Englishmen applaud his cry:
For the Union do or die.
                                  A. D.


Redmond has given his orders,
The Premier must obey,
A sorry sight for Englishmen
Is Parliament today.
And Irishmen sit silent,
Without a word to say,
But Redmond, like the Peers’ Reform,
Of course “won’t brook delay,”
He cries, “You know, I boss the show,
If you don’t like it out you go.”
                                      A. D.

Sligo Independent 13 July 1912


Mr Bonar Law has stated “the Cabinet are so tied up in a knot they cannot release themselves except by suicide.” —Standard.

What a Cabinet we’ve got,
Almost tied up in a knot!
Everyone admits tis true
Tis a knot they can’t undo;
And the’re so securely tied,
Only freedom—suicide!      A. D.


Class against class, a war Lloyd George is kindling,
While Radical majorities are dwindling.
Witness result of latest bye-election,
Affording thought for Radical reflection.

The bye-elections still continue
To make this Government resign,
And Asquith cease to be a tool
For Devlin, Redmond and Home Rule.


Ulster now shall decide,
And will not be denied,
Whether Ireland and England in friendship abide,
Or let Devlin and Redmond the countries divide.

No, the turn of the tide
Will soon see them defied,
And the will of electors no more set aside.
Better men who have tried
To pass Home Rule have died,
But the Union we’ll cling to whatever betide.

Sligo Independent 27 July 1912


The cause of strikes we plainly see
Is envy of the rich M.P.,
Who vote and cheer and shout “hear, hear!”
And draw four hundred pounds a year
(How many at such price too dear?)
Take a day off just when they like,
Then grumble at the men who strike.
Compare the workman’s weekly pay
With M.P. at three pounds a day
(And some with not a word to say).
The best of feeding, too, and cheap,
With lots of time to smoke and sleep.
We’re not the least surprised to see
So many sigh to be M.P.
We hope the day is coming soon
When those who pay may call the tune.

London, W                              A. D.

Sligo Independent 3 August 1912


Cock-a-doodle doo!
Craig has got in for Crewe.
The Liberals look blue
And won’t believe it’s true;
But between me and you
Insurance Bill won’t do,
And soon will all fall through.
’Tis more than folks can chew,
The payments will get few,
Insurance Bill they’ll rue,
And we may shout hurroo!      A.D.

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