These new recordings have been commissioned by Pendle Radicals, in partnership with the Finding Ethel project, and made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Pendle Radicals is a part of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership.


The man is free to come and free to go.

To earn his crust, and bed, and journey on.
And hush the restless cry that’s in his head,
But I must hear it plead till life is done.

He sleeps in forest leaves so fresh and brown,
He drinks from the cold spring that tastes of earth,

And looks in eyes of men with hearts akin,
But I must stay pot -bound in place of birth.

My limbs are strong to toil from morn to night

Or waste in dungeons dark for freedom’s sake

And throats as soft and white the rope has strung

And hearts as womanly the fool may break


I’m strong for labour, pain and heat of day,

My little hand may fight the vile disease

And through the darkened vale I bring back life

And choose the hardship rather than the ease


The heart that’s bold within the narrow room

Is fit for outside chance and mountain climb

And open doors that lead us God knows where

And will not shut until the end of time.

from Voices of Womanhood (London: Headley Brothers, 1914), Ethel Carnie Holdsworth 1914, used by permission of the copyright holder Helen Brown.

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.