Deserved Words – The Garland of the Working Class

Tis once beholden, now long agone

Mouthings aplenty, without hesitation

Yet verse then reserved, alone for the gentry

Twas quality, speed, thereon adorned

Coxcomb masters, of the highest degree

Manors resplendent, with fields circumjacent

Enow equipage, with the means to forfend

Tis then, how indeed when clerks did find fie

Among the damsels and cully, beef-witted beldam

Fishwives and chapmen, the cordwainers too

The drab and the doxy, and dandiprat swarms

The fuzzle in kirtle, both levy and knave

Verses of virtue, held high, naught revealed

Neither mayhap nor perchance, nary meet, not indeed

For rabble, rapscallions, and the scurvy-had lot

Neither worth in their purses, nor a top on their crown

Deserved words, served with care and sweetmeat

Trig so they ween, in their immedicable ire

Did fail to invest when communicants came

With parchment and quill, appetency, and audition

Soon came bijoux and bill, often fandangle

Still forsooth, and goodly, verse hence from thy streete

Hight heeded hist, and the mass gathered hither

Magdalens and petermen, stood with paynims and peelers

Picaroon, poltroons, piepowders and porters

Every ear did they lend, as the verse found its birth

How the sciolist did wonder, and the scullion adore

The swash of the poet, the words spilling forth

Worthiness forged, such the verse given life

Garland bestowed, stood then high, open shew

But quotha, chagrin, and again disbelief

Did the gentry challenge and show their athwart

But alas, moving bootless, felt awash in degrade

As the verses did travel, in the packs of horse-copers

This monsterful drudgery of the purblind and nithing

Found mummers each morrow, mazed and unfettered

And with steps prone to lively, and stages naïve

Brought life, appetency, disport, hereupon indefinite


Author’s Note on Deserved Words – The Garland of the Working Class

So many wonderful words from our past are lost to the sands of time. I often use archaic or obsolete words when I write, simply because I choose to. This piece is a collection of dozens and dozens of words no longer spoken.

To save you having to look up the unfamiliar words, the story is such.

Long ago, the wealthy and powerful would speak to the working class, but only when necessary. They lived in estates and manors, where fine food and literature was aplenty. Poetry, books, and anything of high culture was not shared with the everyday people, as the scholars saw them as ill-mannered, low intelligence, unwashed masses. Yet, despite their perceived control, the working class gave birth to their own form of poetry, one which told their story. It spread, and soon evolved into stage plays, ensuring that the porters, farmers, smiths, servants, ironworkers, and even the unscrupulous brigands and bandits, would have a voice in the world.


R J Schwartz
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R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

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