Biography of Joseph Skipsey
Born March 17, 1832, in Percy, Northumberland. Joseph Skipsey was a colliery worker at seven years of age. He made himself educated, publishing verse in local newspapers until he was gradually able to leave harsh labour behind him. He earned a living as caretaker to schools and colleges. He and his wife Sara Ann Fendley, married in 1854, had eight children. Of the 8 children, only the last three, Elizabeth, Joseph and Cuthbert survived to adulthood and old age.
Skipsey had several literary positions: Assistant Librarian, Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society (1863), and custoldian of Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford-on-Avon (1889-91). He was awarded a annual civil list pension in 1880 for his literary work, which included preparing popular editions of important poets.
Skipsey died at Gateshead on Sept. 3, 1903, and was buried in Gateshead Cemetery.
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Joseph Skipsey Poems
A CHANGE hath come over young Fanny, The yellow-hair'd lass of the Dene— Erewhile she look's cosy and canny, But now—now, what aileth the queen?
Polly And Harry
MERRY, lark-like, merry, At the break of day, Polly meeteth Harry Coming down the way;
HEY Robin, jolly Robin, Tell me how thy lady doth? Is she laughing, is she sobbing Is she gay, or grave, or both?
Willy To Jinny
DUSKIER than the clouds that lie 'Tween the coal-pit and the sky, Lo, how Willy whistles by Right cheery from the colliree.
Star And The Meteor
DIRECTED by a little star, I paced towards my own loved cot, When rushed a meteor from afar, And I my little guide forgot.
Mary Of Crofton
AH! a lovely jewel was Mary of Crofton, And now she is cold in the clay, We think of the heart-cheering image as often As we pass down the old waggon way.
Thistle And Nettle
'Twos on a night, with sleet and snow, From out the north a tempest blew, When Thistle gathered nerve to go The little Nettle's self to woo.
My Merry Bird
I HAD a merry bird Who sung a merry song, And take it on my word, The day it was not long
Lo, A Fairy
LO, a fairy on a day Came and bore my heart away; But as she secured her prize, Sweetest smiles illumed her eyes.
AH, be not vain. In yon flower-bell, As rare a pearl, did I appear, As ever grew in ocean shell, To dangle at a Helen’s ear.
The butterfly from flower to flower The urchin chas’d; and, when at last He caught it in my lady’s bower, He cried, “Ha, ha!” and held it fast.
Mother wept, and father sigh’d; With delight a-glow Cried the lad, “To-morrow,” cried, “To the pit I go.”
Misfortune is a darling, ever Most faithful to the minstrel race; Let low-bred wretches shun them, never Yet acted she a part so base.
Get up!" the caller calls, "Get up!" And in the dead of night, To win the bairns their bite and sup, I rise a weary wight.
Misfortune is a darling, ever
Most faithful to the minstrel race;
Let low-bred wretches shun them, never
Yet acted she a part so base.
True, oft by her the bard discovers
He's stript of all he once possest;
But then, just like your sculpture-lovers,
She likes her idols naked, best.