Samuel Laycock was born at Intake Head. Laycock's father was a hand loom weaver, and Samuel was brought up on the isolated farm above Marsden. The only education he had was at Sunday School, and at the age of nine he started work in the mill.
When Sam was 11 the family moved to Stalybridge in Lancashire, and he worked in a cotton mill. The Cotton Famine of the 1860s threw him out of work, and he responded to this by publishing poems about the crisis.
After this he worked as a librarian at the Mechanics Institute, as a Curator in Fleetwood, selling books on Oldham market, and as a photographer. He died in Blackpool in 1893.
by Samuel Laycock
IT was upon thy lovely hills,
Thy running brooks, and murmuring rills
These eyes first learned to gaze;
And often in thy meadows green,
In youthful sport might I be seen
The butterfly to chase.
Oh, those were happy hours to me;
Oft have I roamed in childish glee,
My bosom free from care,
Where the young lambkins joined in play,
And neighbouring children loved to stray,
Each other's sports to share.
Alas! we ne'er shall meet again;
Some of those children now are men;
Yes, men with silvery hair.
The old oak tree I loved to climb
Seems altered by the hand of Time,
Since last I saw it there.
The mountain heights and shady wood
Where, when a child I often stood,
Come fresh before my mind;
Though forty years have passed away,
Still, I remember well that day
I left them all behind.
Alas, alas, why should I leave
The things to which I fondly cleave,—
The heath, the mountain wild;—
Those scenes on which I loved to look,
The trees, the flowers, the babbling brook
I bathed in when a child.
Good-bye! good-bye, my native hills;
Those running brooks and murmuring rills
No longer yield me joy.
This heart is not so free from care,
As when I first breathed thy pure air,
A happy little boy.