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A Non-elector's Soliloquy

1867-8: Representation of the People Acts

This poem appears in our anthology

Publication: Eclipse

Published: 14 November 1868

Place of publication: Paisley, Scotland

Publication type: Newspaper/Periodical

A full copy of this poem is available.

Archive/Library: Paisley Central Library
Classmark(s): 050 PA PC22326
Pages(s): 7

Three periodicals were produced during the period of the 1868 election campaign in Paisley: the Hoo'let, the Hawk and the Eclipse. The Eclipse was not explicitly tied to any interest and used the jester as its emblem. The front cover included an extract from Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Act 2, Scene 7): ‘… I must have liberty/ Withal, as large a charter as the wind,/ To blow on whom I please’ (excluding the end of this phrase, ‘for so fools have’). This poem is modelled on Hamlet's famous soliloquy ('To be or not to be': William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1). Instead, it begins 'To vote or not to vote!'. In addition to highlighting the plight of the unenfranchised, this poem also addresses the controversey of the rating clause of the Second Reform Act.