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Cockermouth Post Article March 2013 - George Chatt (former editor of the West Cumberland Times, and poet)

I recently found a book of poems, published in 1866, by George Chatt. George was born in 1838 and moved to Cockermouth in 1874 to become the first Editor of the West Cumberland Times, a position he held for 16 years. Clearly, he was a man interested in the written word, with some ability as a poet. His are mostly rather long poems, but this humorous shorter one (‘Bring, oh, Bring’) gives a flavour of his work:

Bring, oh, bring me quickly here
A pound of steaks and a pint of beer;
My heart is sad as sad can be,
For the charming widow has jilted me.

I had no peace when she was nigh,
For mischief lurk’d in her laughing eye;
Yet I could not, could not keep away,
Her smile would haunt me night and day.

Her voice could charm like a song of glee;
But, oh, her lips, how they tempted me!
I’d leave my glass of the ruby wine,
For a single touch of her lips divine.

Like a daffodilly I pined away,
A-thinking about her every day;
Till one fine night, just after tea,
I asked her plump would she marry me.

She seal’d me up with her answer brief,
It cool’d my heart like a cabbage leaf;
I’ll hang my harp on a gooseberry tree,
And away to the Fenian wars I’ll flee.

But, no – I’ll stay, and the girls I’ll court,
‘Twill vex my charmer to see the sport;
For I can reckon her up to a T,
The charming widow that jilted me.

George lived on Brigham Road with wife Hannah and his four children, Mary, Isabella, Annie and George. Son George went on to become an apprentice printer in Cockermouth, Isabella and Mary died just one month apart in 1898 aged 30 and 32 respectively, whilst the other daughter, Annie, was destined to drown on the Lusitania in May 1915, aged 46, en route to New York. The Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland by a German submarine and sank in 18 minutes. 1, 196 people in total, including Annie, were lost.

Gloria Edwards

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