William Topaz McGonagall |
A pathetic tale of the sea I will unfold,
Enough to make one's blood run cold;
Concerning four fishermen cast adrift in a dory.
As I've been told I'll relate the story.
T'was on the 8th April on the afternoon of that day
That the village of Louisburg was thrown into a wild state or dismay,
And the villagers flew to the beach in a state of wild uproar
And in a dory they found four men were cast ashore.
Then the villagers, in surprise assembled about the dory,
And they found that the bottom of the boat was gory;
Then their hearts were seized with sudden dread,
when they discovered that two of the men were dead.
And the two survivors were exhausted from exposure, hunger, and cold,
Which used the spectators to shudder when them they did behold;
And with hunger the poor men couldn't stand on their feet,
They felt so weakly on their legs for want of meat.
They were carried to a boarding-house without delay,
But those that were looking on were stricken with dismay,
When the remains of James and Angus McDonald were found in the boat,
Likewise three pieces or flesh in a pool or blood afloat.
Angus McDonald's right arm was missing from the elbow,
and the throat was cut in a sickening manner which filled the villagers hearts with woe,
Especially when they saw two pieces of flesh had been cut from each thigh,
'Twas then the kind-hearted villagers did murmur and sigh.
Angus McDonald must have felt the pangs of hunger before he did try
to cut two pieces of fiesh from James McDonald's thigh,
But, Oh heaven! the pangs of hunger are very hard to thole,
And anything that's eatable is precious unto an hungry soul.
Alas it is most pitiful and horrible to think
That with hunger christians will each other's blood drink
And eat each other's flesh to save themselves from starvation;
But the pangs or hunger makes them mad, and drives them to desperation.
An old American soldier that had passed through the Civil War,
Declared the scene surpassed anything he's seen by far,
And at the sight, the crowd in horror turned away,
which no doubt they will remember for many a day.
Colin Chisholm, one of the survivors was looking very pale,
Stretched on a sofa at the boarding-house, making his wail:
Poor fellow! his feet was greatly swollen, and with a melancholy air,
He gave the following account of the distressing affair:
We belonged to the American fishing schooner named "Cicely",
And our captain was a brave man, called McKenzie;
And the vessel had fourteen hands altogether
And during the passage we had favourable weather.
'Twas on March the 17th we sailed from Gloucester on the Wednesday
And all our hearts felt buoyant and gay;
And we arrived on the Western banks on the succeeding Tuesday,
While the time unto us seemed to pass merrily away.
About eight O'clock in the morning, we left the vessel in a dory,
And I hope all kind christians will take heed to my story;
Well, while we were at our work, the sky began to frown,
And with a dense fog we were suddenly shut down
Then we hunted and shouted, and every nerve did strain,
Thinking to find our schooner but, alas! it was all in vain:
Because the thick fog hid the vessel from our view,
And to keep ourselves warm we closely to each other drew.
We had not one drop of water , nor provisions of any kind,
Which, alas soon began to tell on our mind;
Especially upon James McDonald who was very thinly clad,
And with the cold and hunger he felt almost mad.
And looking from the stern where he was lying,
he said Good bye, mates, Oh! I am dying!
Poor fellow we kept his body thinking the rest of us would be saved,
Then, with hunger, Angus McDonald began to cry and madly raved.
And he cried, Oh, God! send us some kind of meat,
Because I'm resolved to have something to eat;
Oh! do not let us starve on the briny flood
Or else I will drink of poor Jim's blood.
Then he suddenly seized his knife and cut off poor Jim's arm,
Not thinking in his madness he'd done any harm;
Then poor Jim's blood he did drink and his flesh did eat,
Declaring that the blood tasted like cream, and was a treat.
Then he asked me to taste it, saying It was good without doubt,
Then I tasted it, but in disgust I instantly spat it out;
Saying, if I was to die within an hour on the briny flood,
I would neither eat the flesh nor drink the blood.
Then in the afternoon again he turned to me,
Saying, I'm going to cut Jim's throat for more blood d'ye see;
Then I begged of him, for God's sake not to cut the throat of poor Jim,
But he cried, Ha! ha! to save my own life I consider it no sin.
I tried to prevent him but he struck me without dismay
And cut poor Jim's throat in defiance of me, or all I could say,
Also a piece of flesh from each thigh, and began to eat away,
But poor fellow he sickened about noon, and died on the Sunday.
Now it is all over and I will thank all my life,
Who has preserved me and my mate, McEachern, in the midst of danger and strife;
And I hope that all landsmen of low and high degree,
Will think of the hardships of poor mariners while at sea.
William Topaz McGonagall |
There lived in Munich a poor, weakly youth,
But for the exact date, I cannot vouch for the truth,
And of seven of a family he was the elder,
Who was named, by his parents, Alois Senefelder.
But, poor fellow, at home his father was lying dead,
And his little brothers and sisters were depending upon him for bread,
And one evening he was dismissed from his employment,
Which put an end to all his peace and enjoyment.
The poor lad was almost mad, and the next day
His parent's remains to the cemetery were taken away;
And when his father was buried, distracted like he grew,
And he strolled through the streets crying, What shall I do!
And all night he wandered on sad and alone,
Until he began to think of returning home,
But, to his surprise, on raising his head to look around,
He was in a part of the country which to him was unknown ground.
And when night came on the poor lad stood aghast,
For all was hushed save the murmuring of a river which flowed past;
And the loneliness around seemed to fill his heart with awe,
And, with fatigue, he sat down on the first stone he saw.
And there resting his elbows and head on his knees,
He sat gazing at the running water, which did him please;
And by the light of the stars which shone on the water blue,
He cried, I will drown myself, and bid this harsh world adieu.
Besides, I'm good for nothing, to himself he said,
And will only become a burden to my mother, I'm afraid
And there, at the bottom of that water, said he,
From all my misfortunes death will set me free.
But, happily for Alois, more pious thoughts rushed into his mind,
And courage enough to drown himself he couldn't find,
So he resolved to go home again whatever did betide,
And he asked forgiveness of his Creator by the river side.
And as he knelt, a few incoherent words escaped him,
And the thought of drowning himself he considered a great sin,
And the more he thought of it, he felt his flesh creep,
But in a few minutes he fell fast asleep.
And he slept soundly, for the stillness wasn't broke,
And the day was beginning to dawn before he awoke;
Then suddenly he started up as if in a fright,
And he saw very near him a little stone smooth and white,
Upon which was traced the delicate design of a Sprig of Moss
But to understand such a design he was at a loss,
Then he recollected the Sprig of Moss lying on the stone,
And with his tears he'd moistened it, but it was gone.
But its imprint was delicately imprinted on the stone;
Then, taking the stone under his arm, he resolved to go home,
Saying, God has reserved me for some other thing,
And with joy he couldn't tell how he began to sing.
And on drawing near the city he met his little brother,
Who told him his uncle had visited his mother,
And on beholding their misery had left them money to buy food,
Then Alois cried, Thank God, the news is good!
Then 'twas on the first day after Alois came home,
He began the printing of the Sprig of Moss on the stone;
And by taking the impressions of watch-cases he discovered, one day,
What is now called the art of Lithography.
So Alois plodded on making known his great discovery,
Until he obtained the notice of the Royal Academy,
Besides, he obtained a gold Medal, and what was more dear to his heart,
He lived to see the wide extension of his art.
And when life's prospects may at times appear dreary to ye,
Remember Alois Senefelder, the discoverer of Lithography,
How God saved him from drowning himself in adversity,
And I hope ye all will learn what the Sprig of Moss teaches ye.
And God that made a way through the Red Sea,
If ye only put your trust in Him, He will protect ye,
And light up your path, and strew it with flowers,
And be your own Comforter in all your lonely hours.
William Topaz McGonagall |
'Twas in the year of 1869, and on the 19th of November,
Which the people in Southern Germany will long remember,
The great rain-storm which for twenty hours did pour down,
That the rivers were overflowed and petty streams all around.
The rain fell in such torrents as had never been seen before,
That it seemed like a second deluge, the mighty torrents' roar,
At nine o'clock at night the storm did rage and moan
When Carl Springel set out on his crutches all alone --
From the handsome little hut in which he dwelt,
With some food to his father, for whom he greatly felt,
Who was watching at the railway bridge,
Which was built upon a perpendicular rocky ridge.
The bridge was composed of iron and wooden blocks,
And crossed o'er the Devil's Gulch, an immense cleft of rocks,
Two hundred feet wide and one hundred and fifty feet deep,
And enough to make one's flesh to creep.
Far beneath the bridge a mountain-stream did boil and rumble,
And on that night did madly toss and tumble;
Oh! it must have been an awful sight
To see the great cataract falling from such a height.
It was the duty of Carl's father to watch the bridge on stormy nights,
And warn the on-coming trains of danger with the red lights;
So, on this stormy night, the boy Carl hobbled along
Slowly and fearlessly upon his crutches, because he wasn't strong.
He struggled on manfully with all his might
Through the fearful darkness of the night,
And half-blinded by the heavy rain,
But still resolved the bridge to gain.
But when within one hundred yards of the bridge, it gave way with an awful crash,
And fell into the roaring flood below, and made a fearful splash,
Which rose high above the din of the storm,
The like brave Carl never heard since he was born.
Then; 'Father! father!' cried Carl in his loudest tone,
'Father! father!' he shouted again in very pitiful moans;
But no answering voice did reply,
Which caused him to heave a deep-fetched sigh.
And now to brave Carl the truth was clear
That he had lost his father dear,
And he cried, 'My poor father's lost, and cannot be found,
He's gone down with the bridge, and has been drowned.
But he resolves to save the on-coming train,
So every nerve and muscle he does strain,
And he trudges along dauntlessly on his crutches,
And tenaciously to them he clutches.
And just in time he reaches his father's car
To save the on-coming train from afar,
So he seizes the red light, and swings it round,
And cried with all his might, 'The bridge is down! The bridge is down!'
So forward his father's car he drives,
Determined to save the passengers' lives,
Struggling hard with might and main,
Hoping his struggle won't prove in vain.
So on comes the iron-horse snorting and rumbling,
And the mountain-torrent at the bridge kept roaring and tumbling;
While brave Carl keeps shouting, 'The bridge is down! The bridge is down!'
He cried with a pitiful wail and sound.
But, thank heaven, the engine-driver sees the red light
That Carl keeps swinging round his head with all his might;
But bang! bang! goes the engine with a terrible crash,
And the car is dashed all to smash.
But the breaking of the car stops the train,
And poor Carl's struggle is not in vain;
But, poor soul, he was found stark dead,
Crushed and mangled from foot to head!
And the passengers were all loud in Carl's praise,
And from the cold wet ground they did him raise,
And tears for brave Carl fell silently around,
Because he had saved two hundred passengers from being drowned.
In a quiet village cemetery he now sleeps among the silent dead,
In the south of Germany, with a tombstone at his head,
Erected by the passengers he saved in the train,
And which to his memory will long remain.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Welcome, sweet Christmas, blest be the morn
That Christ our Saviour was born!
Earth's Redeemer, to save us from all danger,
And, as the Holy Record tells, born in a manger.
Then ring, ring, Christmas bells,
Till your sweet music o'er the kingdom swells,
To warn the people to respect the morn
That Christ their Saviour was born.
The snow was on the ground when Christ was born,
And the Virgin Mary His mother felt very forlorn
As she lay in a horse's stall at a roadside inn,
Till Christ our Saviour was born to free us from sin.
Oh! think of the Virgin Mary as she lay
In a lowly stable on a bed of hay,
And angels watching O'er her till Christ was born,
Therefore all the people should respect Christmas morn.
The way to respect Christmas time
Is not by drinking whisky or wine,
But to sing praises to God on Christmas morn,
The time that Jesus Christ His Son was born;
Whom He sent into the world to save sinners from hell
And by believing in Him in heaven we'll dwell;
Then blest be the morn that Christ was born,
Who can save us from hell, death, and scorn.
Then he warned, and respect the Saviour dear,
And treat with less respect the New Year,
And respect always the blessed morn
That Christ our Saviour was born.
For each new morn to the Christian is dear,
As well as the morn of the New Year,
And he thanks God for the light of each new morn.
Especially the morn that Christ was born.
Therefore, good people, be warned in time,
And on Christmas morn don't get drunk with wine
But praise God above on Christmas morn,
Who sent His Son to save us from hell and scorn.
There the heavenly babe He lay
In a stall among a lot of hay,
While the Angel Host by Bethlehem
Sang a beautiful and heavenly anthem.
Christmas time ought to be held most dear,
Much more so than the New Year,
Because that's the time that Christ was born,
Therefore respect Christmas morn.
And let the rich be kind to the poor,
And think of the hardships they do endure,
Who are neither clothed nor fed,
And Many without a blanket to their bed.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Edward Teach was a native of Bristol, and sailed from that port
On board a privateer, in search of sport,
As one of the crew, during the French War in that station,
And for personal courage he soon gained his Captain's approbation.
'Twas in the spring of 1717, Captajn Harnigold and Teach sailed from Providence
For the continent of America, and no further hence;
And in their way captured a vessel laden with flour,
Which they put on board their own vessels in the space of an hour.
They also seized two other vessels snd took some gallons of wine,
Besides plunder to a considerable value, and most of it most costly design;
And after that they made a prize of a large French Guinea-man,
Then to act an independent part Teach now began.
But the news spread throughout America, far and near,
And filled many of the inhabitants' hearts with fear;
But Lieutenant Maynard with his sloops of war directly steered,
And left James River on the 17th November in quest of Black Beard,
And on the evening of the 21st came in sight of the pirate;
And when Black Beard spied his sloops he felt elate.
When he saw the sloops sent to apprehend him,
He didn't lose his courage, but fiendishly did grin;
And told his men to cease from drinking and their tittle-tattle,
Although he had only twenty men on board, and prepare for battle.
In case anything should happen to him during the engagement,
One of his men asked him, who felt rather discontent,
Whether his wife knew where he had buried his pelf,
When he impiously replied that nobody knew but the devil and himself.
In the Morning Maynard weighed and sent his boat to sound,
Which, coming near the pirate, unfortunately ran aground;
But Maynard lightened his vessel of the ballast and water,
Whilst from the pirates' ship small shot loudly did clatter.
But the pirates' small shot or slugs didn't Maynard appal,
He told his men to take their cutlasses and be ready upon his call;
And to conceal themselves every man below,
While he would remain at the helm and face the foe.
Then Black Beard cried, "They're all knocked on the head,"
When he saw no hand upon deck he thought they were dead;
Then Black Beard boarded Maynard'a sloop without dismay,
But Maynard's men rushed upon deck, then began the deadly fray.
Then Black Beard and Maynard engaged sword in hand,
And the pirate fought manfully and made a bold stand;
And Maynard with twelve men, and Black Beard with fourteen,
Made the most desperate and bloody conflict that ever was seen.
At last with shots and wounds the pirate fell down dead,
Then from his body Maynard severed the pirate's head,
And suspended it upon his bowsprit-end,
And thanked God Who so mercifully did him defend.
Black Beard derived his name from his long black beard,
Which terrified America more than any comet that had ever appeared;
But, thanks be to God, in this age we need not be afeared,
Of any such pirates as the inhuman Black Beard.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Alas! the people now do sigh and moan
For the loss of Wm.
Who was a very great politician and a moral man,
And to gainsay it there's few people can.
'Twas in the year of 1898, and on the 19th of May,
When his soul took its flight for ever and aye,
And his body was interred in Westminster Abbey;
But I hope his soul has gone to that Heavenly shore,
Where all trials and troubles cease for evermore.
He was a man of great intellect and genius bright,
And ever faithful to his Queen by day and by night,
And always foremost in a political fight;
And for his services to mankind, God will him requite.
The funeral procession was affecting to see,
Thousands of people were assembled there, of every degree;
And it was almost eleven o'clock when the procession left Westminster Hall,
And the friends of the deceased were present- physicians and all.
A large force of police was also present there,
And in the faces of the spectators there was a pitiful air,
Yet they were orderly in every way,
And newspaper boys were selling publications without delay.
Present in the procession was Lord Playfair,
And Bailie Walcot was also there,
Also Mr Macpherson of Edinboro-
And all seemingly to be in profound sorrow.
The supporters of the coffin were the Earl Rosebery,
And the Right Honourable Earl of Kimberley,
And the Right Honourable Sir W.
Vernon he was there,
And His Royal Highness the Duke of York, I do declare.
George Armitstead, Esq.
, was there also,
And Lord Rendal, with his heart full of woe;
And the Right Honourable Duke of Rutland,
And the Right Honourable Arthur J.
Balfour, on the right hand;
Likewise the noble Marquis of Salisbury,
And His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, of high degree.
And immediately behind the coffin was Lord Pembroke,
The representative of Her Majesty, and the Duke of Norfolk,
Carrying aloft a beautiful short wand,
The insignia of his high, courtly office, which looked very grand.
And when the procession arrived at the grave,
Mrs Gladstone was there,
And in her countenance was depicted a very grave air;
And the dear, good lady seemed to sigh and moan
For her departed, loving husband, Wm.
And on the opposite side of her stood Lord Pembroke,
And Lord Salisbury, who wore a skull cap and cloak;
Also the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Rutland,
And Mr Balfour and Lord Spencer, all looking very bland.
And the clergy were gathered about the head of the grave,
And the attention of the spectators the Dean did crave;
Then he said, "Man that is born of woman hath a short time to live,
But, Oh, Heavenly Father! do thou our sins forgive.
Then Mrs Gladstone and her two sons knelt down by the grave,
Then the Dean did the Lord's blessing crave,
While Mrs Gladstone and her some knelt,
While the spectators for them great pity felt.
The scene was very touching and profound,
To see all the mourners bending their heads to the ground,
And, after a minute's most silent prayer,
The leave-taking at the grave was affecting, I do declare.
Then Mrs Gladstone called on little Dorothy Drew,
And immediately the little girl to her grandmamma flew,
And they both left the grave with their heads bowed down,
While tears from their relatives fell to the ground.
Ewart Gladstone! I must conclude my muse,
And to write in praise of thee my pen does not refuse-
To tell the world, fearlessly, without the least dismay,
You were the greatest politician in your day.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Alas! Lord and Lady Dalhousie are dead, and buried at last,
Which causes many people to feel a little downcast;
And both lie side by side in one grave,
But I hope God in His goodness their souls will save.
And may He protect their children that are left behind,
And may they always food and raiment find;
And from the paths of virtue may they ne'er be led,
And may they always find a house wherein to lay their head.
Lord Dalhousie was a man worthy of all praise,
And to his memory I hope a monument the people will raise,
That will stand for many ages to came
To commemorate the good deeds he has done.
He was beloved by men of high and low degree,
Especially in Forfarshire by his tenantry:
And by many of the inhabitants in and around Dundee,
Because he was affable in temper.
and void of all vanity.
He had great affection for his children, also his wife,
'Tis said he loved her as dear as his life;
And I trust they are now in heaven above,
Where all is joy, peace, and love.
At the age of fourteen he resolved to go to sea,
So he entered the training ship Britannia belonging the navy,
And entered as a midshipman as he considered most fit
Then passed through the course of training with the greatest credit.
In a short time he obtained the rank of lieutenant,
Then to her Majesty's ship Galatea he was sent;
Which was under the command of the Duke of Edinburgh,
And during his service there he felt but little sorrow.
And from that he was promoted to be commander of the Britannia,
And was well liked by the men, for what he said was law;
And by him Prince Albert Victor and Prince George received a naval education.
Which met with the Prince of Wales' roost hearty approbation.
'Twas in the year 1877 he married the Lady Ada Louisa Bennett,
And by marrying that noble lady he ne'er did regret;
And he was ever ready to give his service in any way,
Most willingly and cheerfully by night or by day.
'Twas in the year of 1887, and on Thursday the 1st of December,
Which his relatives and friends will long remember
That were present at the funeral in Cockpen, churchyard,
Because they had for the noble Lord a great regard.
About eleven o'clock the remains reached Dalhousie,
And were met by a body of the tenantry.
They conveyed them inside the building allseemingly woe begone
And among those that sent wreaths was Lord Claude Hamilton.
Those that sent wreaths were but very few,
But one in particular was the Duke of Buccleuch;
Herbert Spencer, and Countess Rosebery, and Lady Bennett,
Which no doubt were sent by them with heartfelt regret.
Besides those that sent wreaths in addition were the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen,
Especially the Prince of Wales' was most lovely to be seen,
And the Earl of Dalkeith's wreath was very pretty too,
With a mixture of green and white flowers, beautiful to view.
Amongst those present at the interment were Mr Marjoribanks, M.
Also ex-Provost Ballingall from Bonnie Dundee;
Besides the Honourable W.
Colville, representing the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh,
While in every one's face standing at the grave was depicted sorrow.
The funeral service was conducted in the Church of Cockpen
By the Rev.
Crabb, of St.
Andrew's Episcopal Church, town of Brechin;
And as the two coffins were lowered into their last resting place,
Then the people retired with sad hearts at a quick pace.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Good people of high and low degree,
I pray ye all be advised by me,
And don't believe what the clergy doth say,
That by going to the theatre you will be led astray.
No, in the theatre we see vice punished and virtue rewarded,
The villain either hanged or shot, and his career retarded;
Therefore the theatre is useful in every way,
And has no inducement to lead the people astray.
Because therein we see the end of the bad men,
Which must appall the audience - deny it who can
Which will help to retard them from going astray,
While witnessing in a theatre a moral play.
The theatre ought to be encouraged in every respect,
Because example is better than precept,
And is bound to have a greater effect
On the minds of theatre-goers in every respect.
Sometimes in theatres, guilty creatures there have been
Struck to the soul by the cunning of the scene;
By witnessing a play wherein murder is enacted,
They were proven to be murderers, they felt so distracted,
And left the theatre, they felt so much fear,
Such has been the case, so says Shakespeare.
And such is my opinion, I will venture to say,
That murderers will quake with fear on seeing murder in a play.
Hamlet discovered his father's murderer by a play
That he composed for the purpose, without dismay,
And the king, his uncle, couldn't endure to see that play,
And he withdrew from the scene without delay.
And by that play the murder was found out,
And clearly proven, without any doubt;
Therefore, stage representation has a greater effect
On the minds of the people than religious precept.
We see in Shakespeare's tragedy of Othello, which is sublime,
Cassio losing his lieutenancy through drinking wine;
And, in delirium and grief, he exclaims -
"Oh, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!"
A young man in London went to the theatre one night
To see the play of George Barnwell, and he got a great fright;
He saw George Barnwell murder his uncle in the play,
And he had resolved to murder his uncle, but was stricken with dismay.
But when he saw George Barnwell was to be hung
The dread of murdering his uncle tenaciously to him clung,
That he couldn't murder and rob his uncle dear,
Because the play he saw enacted filled his heart with fear.
And, in conclusion, I will say without dismay,
Visit the theatre without delay,
Because the theatre is a school of morality,
And hasn't the least tendency to lead to prodigality.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Fellow men! why should the lords try to despise
And prohibit women from having the benefit of the parliamentary Franchise?
When they pay the same taxes as you and me,
I consider they ought to have the same liberty.
And I consider if they are not allowed the same liberty,
From taxation every one of them should be set free;
And if they are not, it is really very unfair,
And an act of injustice I most solemnly declare.
Women, farmers, have no protection as the law now stands;
And many of them have lost their property and lands,
And have been turned out of their beautiful farms
By the unjust laws of the land and the sheriffs' alarms.
And in my opinion, such treatment is very cruel;
And fair play, 'tis said, is a precious jewel;
But such treatment causes women to fret and to dote,
Because they are deprived of the parliamentary Franchise vote.
In my opinion, what a man pays for he certainly should get;
And if he does not, he will certainly fret;
And why wouldn't women do the very same?
Therefore, to demand the parliamentary Franchise they are not to blame.
Therefore let them gather, and demand the parliamentary Franchise;
And I'm sure no reasonable man will their actions despise,
For trying to obtain the privileges most unjustly withheld from them;
Gladstone will certainly encourage and never condemn.
And as for the working women, many are driven to the point of starvation,
All through the tendency of the legislation;
Besides, upon members of parliament they have no claim
As a deputation, which is a very great shame.
Yes, the Home Secretary of the present day,
Against working women's deputations, has always said- nay;
Because they haven't got the parliamentary Franchise-,
That is the reason why he does them despise.
And that, in my opinion, is really very unjust;
But the time is not far distant, I most earnestly trust,
When women will have a parliamentary vote,
And many of them, I hope, will wear a better petticoat.
And I hope that God will aid them in this enterprise,
And enable them to obtain the parliamentary Franchise;
And rally together, and make a bold stand,
And demand the parliamentary Franchise throughout Scotland.
And do not rest day nor night-
Because your demands are only right
In the eyes of reasonable men, and God's eyesight;
And Heaven, I'm sure, will defend the right.
Therefore go on brave women! and never fear,
Although your case may seem dark and drear,
And put your trust in God, for He is strong;
And ye will gain the parliamentary Franchise before very long.
William Topaz McGonagall |
'Twas in the year of 1887, which many people will long remember,
The burning of the Theatre at Exeter on the 5th of September,
Alas! that ever-to-be-remembered and unlucky night,
When one hundred and fifty lost their lives, a most agonising sight.
The play on this night was called "Romany Rye,"
And at act four, scene third, Fire! Fire! was the cry;
And all in a moment flames were seen issuing from the stage,
Then the women screamed frantically, like wild beasts in a cage.
Then a panic ensued, and each one felt dismayed,
And from the burning building a rush was made;
And soon the theatre was filled with a blinding smoke,
So that the people their way out had to grope.
The shrieks of those trying to escape were fearful to hear,
Especially the cries of those who had lost their friends most dear;
Oh, the scene was most painful in the London Inn Square,
To see them wringing their hands and tearing their hair!
And as the flames spread, great havoc they did make,
And the poor souls fought heroically in trying to make their escape;
Oh, it was horrible to see men and women trying to reach the door!
But in many cases death claimed the victory, and their struggles were o'er.
Alas! 'twas pitiful the shrieks of the audience to hear,
Especially as the flames to them drew near;
Because on every face were depicted despair and woe,
And many of them jumped from the windows into the street below.
The crushed and charred bodies were carried into London Hotel yard,
And to alleviate their sufferings the doctors tried hard;
But, alas! their attendance on many was thrown away,
But those that survived were conveyed to Exeter Hospital without delay.
And all those that had their wounds dressed proceeded home,
Accompanied by their friends, and making a loud moan;
While the faces and necks of others were sickening to behold,
Enough to chill one's blood, and make the heart turn cold.
Alas! words fail to describe the desolation,
And in many homes it will cause great lamentation;
Because human remains are beyond all identification,
Which will cause the relatives of the sufferers to be in great tribulation.
Oh, Heaven! it must have been an awful sight,
To see the poor souls struggling hard with all their might,
Fighting hard their lives to save,
While many in the smoke and burning flame did madly rave!
It was the most sickening sight that ever anybody saw,
Human remains, beyond recognition, covered with a heap of straw;
And here and there a body might be seen, and a maimed hand,
Oh, such a sight, that the most hard-hearted person could hardly withstand!
The number of people in the theatre was between seven and eight thousand,
But alas! one hundred and fifty by the fire have been found dead;
And the most lives were lost on the stairs leading from the gallery,
And these were roasted to death, which was sickening to see.
The funerals were conducted at the expense of the local authority,
And two hours and more elapsed at the mournful ceremony;
And at one grave there were two thousand people, a very great crowd,
And most of the men were bareheaded ad weeping aloud.
Alas! many poor children have been bereft of their fathers and mothers,
Who will be sorely missed by little sisters and brothers;
But, alas! unto them they can ne'er return again,
Therefore the poor little innocents must weep for them in vain.
I hope all kind Christian souls will help the friends of the dead,
Especially those that have lost the winners of their bread;
And if they do, God surely will them bless,
Because pure Christianity is to help the widows and orphans in distress.
I am very glad to see Henry Irving has sent a hundred pounds,
And I hope his brother actors will subscribe their mite all round;
And if they do it will add honour to their name,
Because whatever is given towards a good cause they will it regain.