A Prophetic Picture
“ Blest and thrice blest the Roman
Who sees Rome’s brightest day. ”
Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome.
The following poem will have only a local interest. It was suggested by a prophecy, uttered by an old Craven person. He expressed his conviction that at some future time the valley of the Ribble, near Stainforth, would abound with the chimneys of factories, and Winskill be studded with villas. He also depicted an ideal road from Langcliffe to Winskill, up which carriages could be driven at full gallop.
Blest and thrice blest the mortal,
Who sees that glorious day,
When carriages up to Winskill
Come galloping all the way –
Who sees the lordly mansion
And stately villa rise,
Where now the shaggy limestone-cliffs
Tower upward to the skies ;
Who sees in the green meadow,
Where skylarks soar and sing,
The warehouse and the dwelling-house,
Like mushrooms, upwards spring –
Who sees the sparkling Ribble,
Where cattle come to drink,
With poisonous dyes from many mills,
Run downward, black as ink.
When they have done this railway,
Which reaches many a mile,
And opens out the country
From Settle to Carlisle –
When the name and fame of Craven
Are spread throughout the land,
Its limestone crags, its broad, blue flags,
Its hills and mountains grand –
Then moneyed speculators
Will hither come with speed,
And raise up mills and furnaces
Where now wild rabbits breed.
Where now you view a landscape
From Winskill’s stately rocks ;
Where on the grand, rich grazing land
The farmers feed their flocks –
Where in the spring, the blackbirds sing
Within the hazel shade,
Shall future generations see
The busy haunts of trade.