March 2, 1812: Ode to the Framers of the Frame Bill

On March 2, 1812, Lord Byron's poem "Ode to the Framers of the Frame Bill" appears anonymously in the Morning Chronicle. Byron hoped the publication would influence the continuing debate in the House of Lords on the Frame Breaking bill. It is difficult to see how the publication would help. The poem is in some ways far more incendiary than his speech in the House of Lords of February 27, 1812.
Oh well done Lord E—— n! and better done R——r!*Britannia must prosper with councils like yours;Hawkesbury, Harrowby, help you to guide her,Whose remedy only must kill ere it cures:Those villains; the Weavers, are all grown refractory,Asking some succour for Charity's sake—So hang them in clusters round each Manufactory,That will at once put an end to mistake.[14]
The rascals, perhaps, may betake them to robbing,The dogs to be sure have got nothing to eat—So if we can hang them for breaking a bobbin,'T will save all the Government's money and meat:Men are more easily made than machinery—Stockings fetch better prices than lives—Gibbets on Sherwood will heighten the scenery,Shewing how Commerce, how Liberty thrives!
Justice is now in pursuit of the wretches,Grenadiers, Volunteers, Bow-street Police,Twenty-two Regiments, a score of Jack Ketches,Three of the Quorum and two of the Peace;Some Lords, to be sure, would have summoned the Judges,To take their opinion, but that they ne'er shall,For Liverpool such a concession begrudges,So now they're condemned by no Judges at all.
Some folks for certain have thought it was shocking,When Famine appeals and when Poverty groans,That Life should be valued at less than a stocking,And breaking of frames lead to breaking of bones.If it should prove so, I trust, by this token,(And who will refuse to partake in the hope?)That the frames of the fools may be first to be broken,Who, when asked for a remedy, sent down a rope.

* refers to Lord Eldon and Richard Ryder who was Home Secretary, 1809-12.


  1. For more on this poem, see Tom Mole, 'Byron's "An Ode to the Framers of the Frame Bill": The Embarrassment of Industrial Culture', The Keats-Shelley Journal 52 (2003), 97-115.

  2. Incidentally, the text of the poem here differs slightly from that published in The Morning Chronicle, which mistook Richard Ryder's title. It called him 'Lord R--r'.