The poet Ellen Cowking (1863 – 1939) lived on Lamb Hill, on one of the biggest sheep farms of this area. She wrote poems about daily life on the farm and around the Hodder valley. In her impressive poem A Voice from the Land, she describes the different powers and people that influence the land, like the farmers, tax gatherers and sportsmen. But most of all, it is an charge against the landlords who, as Ellen wrote, asked too much of the land. The original poem consists of three parts, for the performance, we cut and pasted it into one.
A Voice from the Land
Ye landlords of old England and ye landladies too,
The transformation of our land is rising in our view.
The landlord now looks for his rent, twice in the year to him it’s sent
Not much of this does he bestow to purchase till to make grass grow.
Next comes the tax gatherer for the rates, twice in the year at different dates,
They never and your back one pence to repair a gate or mend a fence.
And thus the poor farmer is hung down wit bills,
His own wife and children partake of their ills.
Tis not for the farmer I wish to speak,
But a voice from the land I wish you to seek.
How can you expect to rob it each year
And keep on expecting that fruit should be there.