What's The Railroad To Me?

What's the railroad to me?
I never go to see
Where it ends.
It fills a few hollows,
And makes banks for the swallows,
It sets the sand a-blowing,
And the blackberries a-growing.

by Henry David Thoreau.

Opening Of The Railway Line

The opening of the railway line...
The Governor and all,
With flags and banners down the street,
A banquet and a ball,
Hark to them at the station now !
They're raising cheer on cheer,
The man who brought the railway through,
Our friend the engineer.

by Banjo Paterson.

A train went through a burial gate

A train went through a burial gate,
A bird broke forth and sang,
And trilled, and quivered, and shook his throat
Till all the churchyard rang;

And then adjusted his little notes,
And bowed and sang again.
Doubtless, he thought it meet of him
To say good-by to men.

by Emily Dickinson.

Fields beneath a quilt of snow
From which the rocks and stubble sleep,
And in the west a shy white star
That shivers as it wakes from deep.

The restless rumble of the train,
The drowsy people in the car,
Steel blue twilight in the world,
And in my heart a timid star.

by Sara Teasdale.

In A Railroad Station

We stood in the shrill electric light,
Dumb and sick in the whirling din
We who had all of love to say
And a single second to say it in.

"Good-by!" "Good-by!"--you turned to go,
I felt the train's slow heavy start,
You thought to see me cry, but oh
My tears were hidden in my heart.

by Sara Teasdale.

I thought the Train would never come

I thought the Train would never come -
How slow the whistle sang -
I don't believe a peevish Bird
So whimpered for the Spring -
I taught my Heart a hundred times
Precisely what to say -
Provoking Lover, when you came
Its Treatise flew away
To hide my strategy too late
To wiser be too soon -
For miseries so halcyon
The happiness atone -

by Emily Dickinson.

The Railroad Station

JUST a very common thing -
Shouts and whistles, bells that ring,
Just a platform in the rain
And a slowly moving train;
Just a woman dressed in black
Standing by a station-hack,
Gazing with her eyes profound
As the train goes outward bound;
And her bearing does not say
Who it is that goes away,
One who made her pulses stir,
Or a guest who wearied her.

by Alice Duer Miller.

Faintheart In A Railway Train

At nine in the morning there passed a church,
At ten there passed me by the sea,
At twelve a town of smoke and smirch,
At two a forest of oak and birch,
And then, on a platform, she:

A radiant stranger, who saw not me.
I queried, 'Get out to her do I dare?'
But I kept my seat in my search for a plea,
And the wheels moved on. O could it but be
That I had alighted there!

by Thomas Hardy.

The Railway Train

I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step

Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare

To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down the hill

And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop - docile and omnipotent -
At its own stable door.

by Emily Dickinson.

I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step

Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare

To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down the hill

And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop - docile and omnipotent -
At its own stable door.

by Emily Dickinson.

The Ledbury Train

From Wind's Point hill at eventide,
I see the train go by ;
The train that goes to Ledbury,
Along the vale of Wye.

It wanders through the clustered hops,
And through the green hedgerows,
It minds me of a fairy thing,
So gliding-like it goes.

And standing there on Wind's Point hill.
Within the sunset glow,
The purple shadows over Wales,
The Httle train below.

With all the pine trees whispering.
And turning softly blue ;
I feel as though I were a child.
With fairy tales come true !

by Radclyffe Hall.

A green eye-and a red-in the dark.
Thunder-smoke-and a spark.

It is there-it is here-flashed by.
Whither will the wild thing fly?

It is rushing, tearing thro’ the night,
Rending her gloom in its flight/

It shatters her silence with shrieks,
Where is it the wild thing seeks?

Alas! For it hurries away
Them that are fain to stay.

Hurrah! For it carries home
Lovers and friends that roam.

Where are you, Time and Space?
The world is a little place.

Your reign is over and done,
You are one.

by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge.

AS we rush, as we rush in the Train,
   The trees and the houses go wheeling back,
But the starry heavens above the plain
   Come flying on our track.

All the beautiful stars of the sky,
   The silver doves of the forest of Night,
Over the dull earth swarm and fly,
   Companions of our flight.

We will rush ever on without fear;
   Let the goal be far, the flight be fleet!
For we carry the Heavens with us, dear,
   While the Earth slips from our feet!

by James Thomson.

At The Station Of The Versailles Railway

I WAITED for the train unto Versailles.
I hung with bonnes and gamins on the bridge
Watching the gravelled road where, ridge with ridge,
Under black arches gleam the iron rails
Clear in the darkness, till the darkness fails
And they press on to light again—again
To reach the dark. I waited for the train
Unto Versailles; I leaned over the bridge,
And wondered, cold and drowsy, why the knave
Claude is in worship; and why (sense apart)
Rubens preferred a mustard vehicle.
The wind veered short. I turned upon my heel
Saying, “Correggio was a toad”; then gave
Three dizzy yawns, and knew not of the Art.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

In The Train, And At Versailles

In a dull swiftness we are carried by
With bodies left at sway and shaking knees.
The wind has ceased, or is a feeble breeze
Warm in the sun. The leaves are not yet dry
From yesterday's dense rain. All, low and high,
A strong green country; but, among its trees,
Ruddy and thin with Autumn. After these
There is the city still before the sky.
Versailles is reached. Pass we the galleries
And seek the gardens. A great silence here,
Through the long planted alleys, to the long
Distance of water. More than tune or song,
Silence shall grow to awe within thine eyes,
Till thy thought swim with the blue turning sphere.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

From A Railway Carriage

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart runaway in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!

by Robert Louis Stevenson.

At The Railway Station, Upways

'There is not much that I can do,
For I've no money that's quite my own!'
Spoke up the pitying child--
A little boy with a violin
At the station before the train came in,--
'But I can play my fiddle to you,
And a nice one 'tis, and good in tone!'

The man in the handcuffs smiled;
The constable looked, and he smiled too,
As the fiddle began to twang;
And the man in the handcuffs suddenly sang
With grimful glee:
'This life so free
Is the thing for me!'
And the constable smiled, and said no word,
As if unconscious of what he heard;
And so they went on till the train came in--
The convict, and boy with the violin.

by Thomas Hardy.

The Missed Train

How I was caught
Hieing home, after days of allure,
And driven to an inn—small, obscure—
At the junction, fret-fraught!

How civil my face
To get them to chamber me there—
A roof I had passed scarce aware
That it stood at the place.

And how all the night
I had dreams of the unwitting cause
Of my lodgment. How lonely I was;
How consoled by her sprite!

Thus onetime to me
Dim wastes of dead years bar away
Then from now! But the like haps to-day
To young lovers, may be.

Years, years as gray seas,
Truly, stretch now between! Less and less
Shrink the visions then great in me.—Yes,
Then in me. Now in these.

by Thomas Hardy.

The Railway Station

The darkness brings no quiet here, the light
No waking: ever on my blinded brain
The flare of lights, the rush, and cry, and strain,
The engines' scream, the hiss and thunder smite:
I see the hurrying crowds, the clasp, the flight,
Faces that touch, eyes that are dim with pain:
I see the hoarse wheels turn, and the great train
Move labouring out into the bourneless night.
So many souls within its dim recesses,
So many bright, so many mournful eyes:
Mine eyes that watch grow fixed with dreams and guesses;
What threads of life, what hidden histories,
What sweet or passionate dreams and dark distresses,
What unknown thoughts, what various agonies!

by Archibald Lampman.

A Promised Fast Train

I turned my eyes upon the Future's scroll
And saw its pictured prophecies unroll.

I saw that magical life-laden train
Flash its long glories o'er Nebraska's plain.

I saw it smoothly up the mountain glide.
'O happy, happy passengers!' I cried.

For Pleasure, singing, drowned the engine's roar,
And Hope on joyous pinions flew before.

Then dived the train adown the sunset slope-
Pleasure was silent and unseen was Hope.

Crashes and shrieks attested the decay
That greed had wrought upon that iron way.

The rusted rails broke down the rotting ties,
And clouds of flying spikes obscured the skies.

My coward eyes I drew away, distressed,
And fixed them on the terminus to-West,

Where soon, its melancholy tale to tell,
One bloody car-wheel wabbled in and fell!

by Ambrose Bierce.

To An Old Lady In A Train

HER hair was beautifully white
Beneath her bonnet, black as night,
Which, plainly of New England kin,
Was tied with strings beneath her chin.
And when she spoke I had no choice
But listened to that soft crisp voice;
And when she smiled, I saw the truth,
She had been lovely in her youth,
And with those quick, observing eyes,
Was charming still to all the wise.
And still, in spite of bonnet strings,
She thought keen, quaint, amusing things,
With gaiety that many hold
Remarkable in one so old.

We talked ten minutes in a train,
And when we came to part again,
Good-bye, enjoy yourself,' said she,
I told her that ahead of me
No pleasure beckoned, no, I said,
Stern duty only lay ahead!
Oh, well,' her parting answer ran,
Enjoy yourself the best you can.'
And so unconquerably gay,
She went upon her darkening way.

by Alice Duer Miller.

On The Night Train

Have you seen the bush by moonlight, from the train, go running by?
Blackened log and stump and sapling, ghostly trees all dead and dry;
Here a patch of glassy water; there a glimpse of mystic sky?
Have you heard the still voice calling – yet so warm, and yet so cold:
"I'm the Mother-Bush that bore you! Come to me when you are old"?

Did you see the Bush below you sweeping darkly to the Range,
All unchanged and all unchanging, yet so very old and strange!
While you thought in softened anger of the things that did estrange?
(Did you hear the Bush a-calling, when your heart was young and bold:
"I'm the Mother-bush that nursed you; Come to me when you are old"?)

In the cutting or the tunnel, out of sight of stock or shed,
Did you hear the grey Bush calling from the pine-ridge overhead:
"You have seen the seas and cities – all is cold to you, or dead –
All seems done and all seems told, but the grey-light turns to gold!
I'm the Mother-Bush that loves you – come to me now you are old"?

by Henry Lawson.

On Seeing A Train Start For The Seaside

O might I leave this grassy place
For spreading foam about my feet!
The splendid spray upon my face,
The flying brine itself were sweet
If I might hear on Cromer beach
The freedom of Old Neptune's speech!

Ah, never language like to this
For those whose ears can understand!
Sometimes the coming of a kiss
To mate the ocean with the strand;
Sometimes the nameless oath is heard
The sea-god thunders through his beard!

I have a sea of blue on high,
I have a sea of green beneath;
For me sweet inland birds do cry
Until with joy I hold my breath;
But Ocean's harp of wave and stone
Is bird and leaf and stream in one!

Upon my dancing apple-sprays
The blackbird whistles melodies;
Half through a mellow run he stays
And flashes to a neighbour's trees:
He's rare, but rarer now would be
The strident pebbles of the sea.

And is it strange that round the shore
The lyric water should rejoice?
Ah no! for ever more and more
The happy dead are in its voice.
Majestic poet! might I be
As full of song, as finely free!

by Norman Rowland Gale.

The Train Misser

At Union Station

'Ll where in the world my eyes has bin--
Ef I hain't missed that train ag'in!
Chuff! And whistle! And toot! And ring!
But blast and blister the dasted train--!
How it does it I can't explain!
Git here thirty-five minutes before
The durn things due--! And, drat the thing
It'll manage to git past-shore!

The more I travel around, the more
I got no sense--! To stand right here
And let it beat me! 'Ll ding my melts!
I got no gumption, ner nothin' else!
Ticket Agent's a dad-burned bore--!
Sell you a tickets all they keer--!
Ticket Agents ort to all be

Prosecuted-- and that's jes what--!
How'd I know which train's fer me?
And how'd I know which train was not--?
Goern and comin' and gone astray,
And backin' and switchin' ever'-which-way!

Ef I could jes sneak round behind
Myse'f, where I could git full swing,
I'd lift my coat, and kick, by jing!
Till I jes got jerked up and fined--!
Fer here I stood, as a durn fool's apt
To, and let that train jes chuff and choo
Right apast me-- and mouth jes gapped
Like a blamed old sandwitch warped in two!

by James Whitcomb Riley.

The Jaffa And Jerusalem Railway

A tortuous double iron track; a station here, a station there;
A locomotive, tender, tanks; a coach with stiff reclining chair;
Some postal cars, and baggage, too; a vestibule of patent make;
With buffers, duffers, switches, and the soughing automatic brake--
This is the Orient's novel pride, and Syria's gaudiest modern gem:
The railway scheme that is to ply 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.

Beware, O sacred Mooley cow, the engine when you hear its bell;
Beware, O camel, when resounds the whistle's shrill, unholy swell;
And, native of that guileless land, unused to modern travel's snare,
Beware the fiend that peddles books--the awful peanut-boy beware.
Else, trusting in their specious arts, you may have reason to condemn
The traffic which the knavish ply 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.

And when, ah, when the bonds fall due, how passing wroth will wax the
state
From Nebo's mount to Nazareth will spread the cry "Repudiate"!
From Hebron to Tiberius, from Jordan's banks unto the sea,
Will rise profuse anathemas against "that ---- monopoly!"
And F.M.B.A. shepherd-folk, with Sockless Jerry leading them,
Will swamp that corporation line 'twixt Jaffa and Jerusalem.

by Eugene Field.

Song Of A Train

A monster taught
To come to hand
Amain,
As swift as thought
Across the land
The train.

The song it sings
Has an iron sound;
Its iron wings
Like wheels go round.

Crash under bridges,
Flash over ridges,
And vault the downs;
The road is straight --
Nor stile, nor gate;
For milestones -- towns!

Voluminous, vanishing, white,
The steam plume trails;
Parallel streaks of light,
THe polished rails.

Oh, who can follow?
The little swallow,
The trout of the sky:
But the sun
Is outrun,
And Time passed by.

O'er bosky dens,
By marsh and mead,
Forest and fens
Embodied speed
Is clanked and hurled;
O'er rivers and runnels;
And into the earth
And out again
In death and birth
That know no pain,
For the whole round world
Is a warren of railway tunnels.

Hark! hark! hark!
It screams and cleaves the dark;
And the subterranean night
Is gilt with smoky light.
Then out again apace
It runs its thundering race,
The monster taught
To come to hand
Amain,
That swift as thought
Speeds through the land
The train.

by John Davidson.

I

THE lady in front of me in the car,
With little red coils close over her ears,
Is talking with her friend;
And the circle of ostrich foam around her hat,
Curving over like a wave,
Trembles with her little windy words.
What she is saying, I wonder,
That her feathers should tremble
And the soft fur of her coat should slip down over her shoulders?
Has her string of pearls been stolen,
Or maybe her husband?

II

He is drunk, that man -
Drunk as a lord, a lord of the bibulous past. [sic]
He shouts wittily from his end of the car to the man in the corner;
He bows to me with chivalrous apologies.
He philosophizes, plays with the wisdom of the ages,
Flings off his rags,
Displays his naked soul -
Athletic, beautiful, grotesque.
In the good time coming,
When men drink no more,
Shall we ever see a nude soul dancing
Stript and free
In the temple of his god?

III

She comes smiling into the car
With irridescent bubbles of children.
She blooms in the close plush seats
Like a narcissus in a bowl of stones.
She croons to a baby in her lap -
The trees come swinging by to listen,
And the electric lights in the ceiling are stars.

by Harriet Monroe.

The Newport Railway

Success to the Newport Railway,
Along the braes of the Silvery Tay,
And to Dundee straghtway,
Across the Railway Bridge o' the Silvery Tay,
Which was opened on the 12th of May,
In the year of our Lord 1879,
Which will clear all expenses in a very short time
Because the thrifty housewives of Newport
To Dundee will often resort,
Which will be to them profit and sport,
By bringing cheap tea, bread, and jam,
And also some of Lipton's ham,
Which will make their hearts feel light and gay,
And cause them to bless the opening day
Of the Newport Railway.

The train is most beautiful to be seen,
With its long, white curling cloud of steam,
As the Train passes on her way
Along the bonnie braes o' the Silvery Tay.

And if the people of Dundee
Should feel inclined to have a spree,
I am sure 'twill fill their hearts with glee
By crossing o'er to Newport,
And there they can have excellent sport,
By viewing the scenery beautiful and gay,
During the livelong summer day,

And then they can return at night
With spirits light and gay,
By the Newport Railway,
By night or by day,
Across the Railway Gridge o' the Silvery Tay.

Success to the undertakers of the Newport Railway,
Hoping the Lord will their labours repay,
And prove a blessing to the people
For many a long day
Who live near by Newport
On the bonnie braes o' the Silvery Tay.

by William Topaz McGonagall.

The Lost Leichardt

Another search for Leichhardt's tomb,
Though fifty years have fled
Since Leichhardt vanished in the gloom,
Our one Illustrious Dead!
But daring men from Britain's shore,
The fearless bulldog breed,
Renew the fearful task once more,
Determined to succeed.

Rash men, that know not what they seek,
Will find their courage tried.
For things have changed on Cooper's Creek
Since Ludwig Leichhardt died.

Along where Leichhardt journeyed slow
And toiled and starved in vain;
These rash excursionists must go
Per Queensland railway train.

Out on those deserts lone and drear
The fierce Australian black
Will say -- "You show it pint o' beer,
It show you Leichhardt track!"

And loud from every squatter's door
Each pioneering swell
Will hear the wild pianos roar
The strains of "Daisy Bell".

The watchers in those forests vast
Will see, at fall of night,
Commercial travellers bounding past
And darting out of sight.

About their path a fearful fate
Will hover always near.
A dreadful scourge that lies in wait --
The Longreach Horehound Beer!

And then, to crown this tale of guilt,
They'll find some scurvy knave,
Regardless of their quest, has built
A pub on Leichhardt's grave!

Ah, yes! Those British pioneers
Had best at home abide,
For things have changed in fifty years
Since Ludwig Leichhardt died.

by Banjo Paterson.

Conductor Bradley

A railway conductor who lost his life in an accident on a Connecticut
railway, May 9, 1873.


CONDUCTOR BRADLEY, (always may his name
Be said with reverence!) as the swift doom came,
Smitten to death, a crushed and mangled frame,

Sank, with the brake he grasped just where he stood
To do the utmost that a brave man could,
And die, if needful, as a true man should.

Men stooped above him; women dropped their tears
On that poor wreck beyond all hopes or fears,
Lost in the strength and glory of his years.

What heard they? Lo! the ghastly lips of pain,
Dead to all thought save duty's, moved again
'Put out the signals for the other train!'

No nobler utterance since the world began
From lips of saint or martyr ever ran,
Electric, through the sympathies of man.

Ah me! how poor and noteless seem to this
The sick-bed dramas of self-consciousness,
Our sensual fears of pain and hopes of bliss!

Oh, grand, supreme endeavor! Not in vain
That last brave act of failing tongue and brain
Freighted with life the downward rushing train,

Following the wrecked one, as wave follows wave,
Obeyed the warning which the dead lips gave.
Others he saved, himself he could not save.

Nay, the lost life was saved. He is not dead
Who in his record still the earth shall tread
With God's clear aureole shining round his head.

We bow as in the dust, with all our pride
Of virtue dwarfed the noble deed beside.
God give us grace to live as Bradley died!

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Our Town Awakes

Six o'clock. From the railway yard
The engine toots; careering hard,
A milk-cart rattles by and stops;
A magpie calls from the gum-tree tops;
The pub 'boots', sweeping out the bar,
Waves to the early service-car,
While the town's chief toper waits outside,
Woe-begone and bleary-eyed;
Two cows go lowing down the way;
A rooster crows. It's another day.

Eight o'clock. The tradesmen come
Shop-boys whistling, masters glum,
To stand at doors and stretch and yawn;
Fronts are swept and blinds are drawn;
The washerwoman, Mrs Dubbs,
Slip-slops off to her taps and tubs,
Washing clothes for other folk;
The cheery barber cracks a joke,
But the day's first client fails to laugh -
Fresh from a tiff from his better half.

Nine o'clock. Precise and neat,
Miss Miggs comes mincing down the street,
The town's dressmaker, pert and prim,
Sly eyes, from under her hat's brim,
Gathering gossip by the way:
The same old goings-on today -
That grocer off for his morning nip;
The chemist, too, that married rip,
Flirting again with the girl next door.
Miss Miggs gleans twenty tales to store.

Ten o'clock. The town grows brisk;
Down the main street motors whisk;
Jinkers, carts and farmers' drays
Stop at shops and go their ways;
In soleman talk with the town surveyor
Comes Mr Mullinger, our mayor,
Pausing at doors for a friendly chat;
He bows, he smiles, he lifts his hat…
Now a brisker rush and a sudden din:
'That's her!' And the city train comes in.

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

The Shut-Eye Train

Come, my little one, with me!
There are wondrous sights to see
As the evening shadows fall;
In your pretty cap and gown,
Don't detain
The Shut-Eye train -
"Ting-a-ling!" the bell it goeth,
"Toot-toot!" the whistle bloweth,
And we hear the warning call:
"All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!"

Over hill and over plain
Soon will speed the Shut-Eye train!
Through the blue where bloom the stars
And the Mother Moon looks down
We'll away
To land of Fay -
Oh, the sights that we shall see there!
Come, my little one, with me there -
'T is a goodly train of cars -
All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!

Swifter than a wild bird's flight,
Through the realms of fleecy light
We shall speed and speed away!
Let the Night in envy frown -
What care we
How wroth she be!
To the Balow-land above us,
To the Balow-folk who love us,
Let us hasten while we may -
All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!

Shut-Eye Town is passing fair -
Golden dreams await us there;
We shall dream those dreams, my dear,
Till the Mother Moon goes down -
See unfold
Delights untold!
And in those mysterious places
We shall see beloved faces
And beloved voices hear
In the grace of Shut-Eye Town.

Heavy are your eyes, my sweet,
Weary are your little feet -
Nestle closer up to me
In your pretty cap and gown;
Don't detain
The Shut-Eye train!
"Ting-a-ling!" the bell it goeth,
"Toot-toot!" the whistle bloweth
Oh, the sights that we shall see!
All aboard for Shut-Eye Town!

by Eugene Field.

A Ballad Of Burial

If down here I chance to die,
Solemnly I beg you take
All that is left of "I"
To the Hills for old sake's sake,
Pack me very thoroughly
In the ice that used to slake
Pegs I drank when I was dry --
This observe for old sake's sake.

To the railway station hie,
There a single ticket take
For Umballa -- goods-train -- I
Shall not mind delay or shake.
I shall rest contentedly
Spite of clamor coolies make;
Thus in state and dignity
Send me up for old sake's sake.

Next the sleepy Babu wake,
Book a Kalka van "for four."
Few, I think, will care to make
Journeys with me any more
As they used to do of yore.
I shall need a "special" break --
Thing I never took before --
Get me one for old sake's sake.

After that -- arrangements make.
No hotel will take me in,
And a bullock's back would break
'Neath the teak and leaden skin
Tonga ropes are frail and thin,
Or, did I a back-seat take,
In a tonga I might spin, --
Do your best for old sake's sake.

After that -- your work is done.
Recollect a Padre must
Mourn the dear departed one --
Throw the ashes and the dust.
Don't go down at once. I trust
You will find excuse to "snake
Three days' casual on the bust."
Get your fun for old sake's sake.

I could never stand the Plains.
Think of blazing June and May
Think of those September rains
Yearly till the Judgment Day!
I should never rest in peace,
I should sweat and lie awake.
Rail me then, on my decease,
To the Hills for old sake's sake.

by Rudyard Kipling.

The Railway Bridge Of The Silvery Tay

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array
And your central girders, which seem to the eye
To be almost towering to the sky.
The greatest wonder of the day,
And a great beautification to the River Tay,
Most beautiful to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
That has caused the Emperor of Brazil to leave
His home far away, incognito in his dress,
And view thee ere he passed along en route to Inverness.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
The longest of the present day
That has ever crossed o'er a tidal river stream,
Most gigantic to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
Which will cause great rejoicing on the opening day
And hundreds of people will come from far away,
Also the Queen, most gorgeous to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
And prosperity to Provost Cox, who has given
Thirty thousand pounds and upwards away
In helping to erect the Bridge of the Tay,
Most handsome to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
I hope that God will protect all passengers
By night and by day,
And that no accident will befall them while crossing
The Bridge of the Silvery Tay,
For that would be most awful to be seen
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
And prosperity to Messrs Bouche and Grothe,
The famous engineers of the present day,
Who have succeeded in erecting the Railway
Bridge of the Silvery Tay,
Which stands unequalled to be seen
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

by William Topaz McGonagall.

Verses On The Railroad Accident Near Copetown

March, with his usual terrors armed,
Resolved again to mark his flight
O'er the 'Great Western,' which has swarmed
With human freight by day and night.

Leagued closely, with a mischievous crew,
Held by stern winter in reserve,
He up and down the doomed track flew,
But did not from his purpose swerve.

His eye he fixed upon a part-
A deep embankment on a slope,
And joy o'erflowed his chilly heart
While lingering near the town of Cope.

Musing, he to himself thus spoke:
'Here shall my darling scheme be tried;
I and my gang at one bold stroke
Can easily produce a slide.

'Better to serve my purpose foul
I'll fix it for the eighteenth night,
And raise such storm as may appal
The bravest soul that lacks daylight!'

Then, as by some mysterious spell
He called for elemental strife.
Forth came dread clouds as black as hell
That seemed with every mischief rife.

Impelled by many a howling blast,
Uniting in terrific roar,
They down their fearful contents cast,
And quickly a deep chasm tore.

The midnight train came rushing on,
Nor dreamt the passengers of death.
Nor thought perhaps that ere day's dawn
God would call some to yield their breath.

With furious speed the Iron Horse
Plunged headlong in the new-formed deep,
While raging elements their force
Spend as if laughing at the leap.

Dragged swiftly down is every car
Save one, the last of all the train,
And still the storm prolongs the war
With drifting snow or pelting rain.

Imagination scarce conceives
The shrieks, the groans, the heart-wrung wails,
Which rent the air! One yet believes
They did exceed what's told in tales.

And still the wind its keenest darts
Hurls at the living and the dead.
Blest then were those whose fearful hearts
Could cling to Christ who for them bled.

by Thomas Cowherd.

Second Class Wait Here

At suburban railway stations--you may see them as you pass--
there are signboards on the platform saying 'Wait here second class,'
And to me the whirr and thunder and the cluck of running-gear
Seem to be forever saying 'Second class wait here--
Wait here second class
Second class wait here.'

Seem to be forever saying, 'Second class wait here.'
Yes, the second class were waiting in the days of serf and prince,
And the second class are waiting--they've been waiting ever since,
There are gardens in the background, and the line is bare and drear,
Yet they wait beneath a signboard, sneering 'Second class wait here.'


I have waited oft in winter, in the mornings dark and damp,
When the asphalt platform glistened underneath the lonely lamp,
Glistened on the brick-faced cutting 'Sellum's Soap' and 'Blower's Beer,'
Glistened on enamelled signboards with their 'Second class wait here.'

And the others seemed like burglars, slouched and muffled to the throats,
Standing round apart and silent in their shoddy overcoats;
And the wind among the poplars, and the wires that thread the air,
Seemed to be forever snarling, snarling 'Second class wait there.'

Out beyond a further suburb, 'neath a chimney-stack alone
Lay the works of Grinder Brothers, with a platform of their own;
And I waited there and suffered, waited there for many a day,
Slaved beneath a phantom signboard, telling all my hopes to stay.

Ah! a man must feel revengeful for a boyhood such as mine.
God! I hate the very houses near the workshop by the line;
And the smell of railway stations, and the roar of running gear,
And the scornful-seeming signboards, saying 'Second class wait here.'

There's a train, with Death for driver, that is ever going past;
There will be no class compartments when it's 'all aboard' at last
For the long white jasper platform with an Eden in the rear;
And there won't be any signboards, saying 'Second class wait here'

by Henry Lawson.

The Illinois Village

O you who lose the art of hope,
Whose temples seem to shrine a lie,
Whose sidewalks are but stones of fear,
Who weep that Liberty must die,
Turn to the little prairie towns,
Your higher hope shall yet begin.
On every side awaits you there
Some gate where glory enters in.

Yet when I see the flocks of girls,
Watching the Sunday train go thro'
(As tho' the whole wide world went by)
With eyes that long to travel too,
I sigh, despite my soul made glad
By cloudy dresses and brown hair,
Sigh for the sweet life wrenched and torn
By thundering commerce, fierce and bare.
Nymphs of the wheat these girls should be:
Kings of the grove, their lovers strong.
Why are they not inspired, aflame?
This beauty calls for valiant song —

For men to carve these fairy-forms
And faces in a fountain-frieze;
Dancers that own immortal hours;
Painters that work upon their knees;
Maids, lovers, friends, so deep in life,
So deep in love and poet's deeds,
The railroad is a thing disowned,
The city but a field of weeds.

Who can pass a village church
By night in these clean prairie lands
Without a touch of Spirit-power?
So white and fixed and cool it stands —
A thing from some strange fairy-town,
A pious amaranthine flower,
Unsullied by the winds, as pure
As jade or marble, wrought this hour: —
Rural in form, foursquare and plain,
And yet our sister, the new moon,
Makes it a praying wizard's dream.
The trees that watch at dusty noon
Breaking its sharpest lines, veil not
The whiteness it reflects from God,
Flashing like Spring on many an eye,
Making clean flesh, that once was clod.

Who can pass a district school
Without the hope that there may wait
Some baby-heart the books shall flame
With zeal to make his playmates great,
To make the whole wide village gleam
A strangely carved celestial gem,
Eternal in its beauty-light,
The Artist's town of Bethlehem!

by Vachel Lindsay.

A Railroad Lackey

Ben Truman, you're a genius and can write,
Though one would not suspect it from your looks.
You lack that certain spareness which is quite
Distinctive of the persons who make books.
You show the workmanship of Stanford's cooks
About the region of the appetite,
Where geniuses are singularly slight.
Your friends the Chinamen are understood,
Indeed, to speak of you as 'belly good.'

Still, you can write-spell, too, I understand
Though how two such accomplishments can go,
Like sentimental schoolgirls, hand in hand
Is more than ever I can hope to know.
To have one talent good enough to show
Has always been sufficient to command
The veneration of the brilliant band
Of railroad scholars, who themselves, indeed,
Although they cannot write, can mostly read.

There's Towne and Fillmore, Goodman and Steve Gage,
Ned Curtis of Napoleonic face,
Who used to dash his name on glory's page
'A.M.' appended to denote his place
Among the learned. Now the last faint trace
Of Nap. is all obliterate with age,
And Ned's degree less precious than his wage.
He says: 'I done it,' with his every breath.
'Thou canst not say I did it,' says Macbeth.

Good land! how I run on! I quite forgot
Whom this was meant to be about; for when
I think upon that odd, unearthly lot
Not quite Creedhaymonds, yet not wholly men
I'm dominated by my rebel pen
That, like the stubborn bird from which 'twas got,
Goes waddling forward if I will or not.
To leave your comrades, Ben, I'm now content:
I'll meet them later if I don't repent.

You've writ a letter, I observe-nay, more,
You've published it-to say how good you think
The coolies, and invite them to come o'er
In thicker quantity. Perhaps you drink
No corporation's wine, but love its ink;
Or when you signed away your soul and swore
On railrogue battle-fields to shed your gore
You mentally reserved the right to shed
The raiment of your character instead.

You're naked, anyhow: unragged you stand
In frank and stark simplicity of shame.
And here upon your flank, in letters grand,
The iron has marked you with your owner's name.
Needless, for none would steal and none reclaim.
But 'Leland $tanford' is a pretty brand,
Wrought by an artist with a cunning hand
But come-this naked unreserve is flat:
Don your habiliment-you're fat, you're fat!

by Ambrose Bierce.

The Spirit Of The Age

A wondrous light is filling the air,
And rimming the clouds of the old despair;
And hopeful eyes look up to see
Truth's mighty electricity,-
Auroral shimmerings swift and bright,
That wave and flash in the silent night,-
Magnetic billows travelling fast,
And flooding all the spaces vast
From dim horizon to farthest cope
Of heaven, in streams of gathering hope.
Silent they mount and spread apace,
And the watchers see old Europe's face
Lit with expression new and strange,-
The prophecy of coming change.
Meantime, while thousands, wrapt in dreams,
Sleep heedless of the electric gleams,
Or ply their wonted work and strife,
Or plot their pitiful games of life;
While the emperor bows in his formal halls,
And the clerk whirls on at the masking balls;
While the lawyer sits at his dreary files,
And the banker fingers his glittering piles,
And the priest kneels down at his lighted shrine,
And the fop flits by with his mistress fine,-
The diplomat works at his telegraph wires:
His back is turned to the heavenly fires.
Over him flows the magnetic tide,
And the candles are dimmed by the glow outside.
Mysterious forces overawe,
Absorb, suspend the natural law.
The needle stood northward an hour ago;
Now it veers like a weathercock to and fro.
The message he sends flies not as once;
The unwilling wires yield no response.
Those iron veins that pulsed but late
From a tyrant's will to a people's fate,
Flowing and ebbing with feverish strength,
Are seized by a Power whose breadth and length,
Whose height and depth, defy all gauge
Save the great spirit of the age.
The mute machine is moved by a law
That knows no accident or flaw,
And the iron thrills to a different chime
Than that which rang in the dead old time.
For Heaven is taking the matter in hand,
And baffling the tricks of the tyrant band.
The sky above and the earth beneath
Heave with a supermundane breath.
Half-truths, for centuries kept and prized,
By higher truths are polarized.
Like gamesters on a railroad train,
Careless of stoppage, sun or rain,
We juggle, plot, combine, arrange,
And are swept along by the rapid change.
And some who from their windows mark
The unwonted lights that flood the dark,
Little by little, in slow surprise
Lift into space their sleepy eyes;
Little by little are made aware
That a spirit of power is passing there,-
That a spirit is passing, strong and free,-
The soul of the nineteenth century.

by Christopher Pearse Cranch.

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seemed to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say --
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say --
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the people's hearts with sorrow,
And made them all for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay.
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

by William Topaz McGonagall.

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