golden lot

A Golden Lot

A Golden Lot appears in the collections of 1871, 1886, 1888 and 1892. In Carols, Songs and Ballads (1888), it is the closing poem.

In the coal-pit or the factory,

I toil by night or day,

And still to the music of labour

I lilt my heart-felt lay –

I lilt my heart-felt lay;

And the gloom of the deep, deep mine,

Or the din of the factory dieth away,

And a Golden Lot is mine.

And a Golden Lot is mine,

Far from the deep, deep mine,

Where the din of the factory is far, far away -

And a Golden Lot is mine.

I did not at first consider this as a possible song, but on re-reading it I realised that Skipsey was saying that his 'Golden Lot' or great good fortune, was to have discovered his poetic imagination, and that it was poetry that kept him going through all the hardships of life. Robert Spence Watson, writing about Skipsey's poetic gifts in his biography, quotes Goethe:

Willst den Dichter du verstehen,

Musst im Dichters lande gehen.

It is this 'Dichters land', or realm of the poet, that Skipsey understood, valued and enjoyed and his ability to enter it was his 'Golden Lot', which enabled him to feel fortunate, despite the hardships of his life. The poem seems to have a valedictory nature and was chosen to end the 1888 collection. In a similar way, I often use it to end my set when performing the songs. The original consisted of just the first two verses. When singing it, it seemed very short, but I was reluctant to 'pad it out'. However, I found I could use verse two as the basis for a third verse which emphasises the sentiments of the second.

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