Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1835/Manchester
Go back a century on the town,
That o'er yon crowded plain,
With wealth its dower, and art its crown,
Extends its proud domain.
Upon that plain a village stood,
Lonely, obscure, and poor;
The sullen stream rolled its dull flood
Amid a barren moor.
Now, mark the hall, the church, the street,
The buildings of to-day;
Behold the thousands now that meet
Upon the peopled way.
Go, silent with the sense of power,
And of the mighty mind
Which thus can animate the hour,
And leave its works behind.
Go through that city, and behold
What intellect can yield,
How it brings forth an hundred-fold
From time's enduring field.
Those walls are filled with wealth, the spoil
Of industry and thought,
The mighty harvest which man's toil
Out of the past has wrought.
Science and labour here unite
The thoughtful and the real,
And here man's strength puts forth its might
To work out man's ideal.
The useful is the element
Here laboured by the mind,
Which, on the active present bent,
Invented and combin'd.
The product of that city, now
Far distant lands consume;
The Indian wears around his brow
The white webs of her loom.
Her vessels sweep from East to West;
Her merchants are like kings;
While wonders in her walls attest
The power that commerce brings.
From wealth hath sprung up nobler fruit,
Taste linked with arts divine;
The Gallery and the Institute
Enlighten and refine.
And many an happy English home
With love and peace repays
The care that may be yet to come,
The toil of early days.
Had I to guide a stranger's eye
Around our glorious land,
Where yonder wondrous factories lie
I'd bid that stranger stand.
Let the wide city spread displayed
Beneath the morning sun,
And in it see for England's trade
What yonder town hath done.
"In a speech last year, at the British Association, Mr. Brand well advised the members to take the manufacturing districts of England on their way to the north, and to explore the wonders there accumulated. Manchester is the great miracle of modern progress. Science, devoted to utility and industry, have achieved the most wonderful results. Intellectual advancement denoted in a taste for literature and the fine arts,—employment for the highest as well as the lowest;—public buildings, liberal institutions, and all that can mark wealth, and a knowledge of its best purposes;—all this is the growth of a single century."