An Excursion Steamer Sunk In The Tay
'Twas in the year of 1888, and on July the 14th day,
That an alarming accident occurred in the River Tay.
Which resulted in the sinking of the Tay Ferries' Steamer "Dundee,"
Which was a most painful and sickening sight to see.
The Steamer was engaged by the Independent Order of Rechabites,
And all were resolved to see some rural sights;
And the place they selected was the village of Newburgh;
While each heart was happy and free from sorrow.
And the weather was sunny, and really very fine,
And 900 souls had agreed to while away the time;
And they left the Craig Pier at half-past two o'clock,
Never thinking they would meet with an accidental shock.
And after passing underneath the Bridge of Tay,
Then they took the Channel on the south side without dismay;
And Captain Methven stood on the Steamer's bridge, I do declare,
And for the passengers he seemed to have very great care.
And all went well on board for some time,
And the silvery Tay shone beautiful in the sunshine;
And the passengers' hearts felt light and gay,
While they gazed on the bonnie banks of the silvery Tay.
To do justice to the passengers, they were a goodly band,
For their behaviour, 'tis said, was truly grand;
But to the eastward of Newburgh, the Steamer was too close inshore,
And on passing a boatman, he warningly to them did roar,-
Warning them not to come inshore so near,
But his warning voice the helmsman didn't hear;
Neither the Captain or passengers his warning dreads,
Until the Steamer struck a number of boulders, known as The Heads.
And close to the point where the Pow falls into the Tay,
Which the people that escaped drowning will remember for many a day,
Because many of the passengers were thrown off their balance;
But, most fortunately, they were all saved merely by chance.
And owing to the suddenness of the shock, many women fainted away,
Which filled the rest of the passengers' hearts with dismay;
But they soon regained their composure when close to the land,
Especially when they saw that succour was near at hand.
The engines were kept going at full speed,
And God helped His people in time of need;
And in a short time Newburgh was reached,
While many women wept bitterly, and loudly screeched.
Because by this time the forehold was nearly filled with water,
Which caused the passengers' teeth with fear to chatter;
Because the Steamer was settling down forward,
While to land the passengers safe Captain Methven struggled hard.
But before one-half of them had got ashore,
The women and children were in a state of uproar,
Because the forepart of the Steamer was submerged in the Tay,
Which filled the passengers' hearts with dismay.
But, thanks be to God! all the passengers were sent to Dundee
By the Steamers Renown, Forfarshire, Protector, and the Lass o' Gowrie,
Which certainly was a most beautiful sight to see,
When they landed 900 passengers safe on the pier at Dundee.
Then, good people, away to the mountains, glens, and lakes,
And drink of milk and pure water, and eat oaten cakes;
And sit down on the margin of a little burn in the sunshine,
And enjoy yourselves heartily during the holiday time.
The Miraculous Escape Of Robert Allan, The Fireman
'Twas in the year of 1858, and on October the fourteenth day,
That a fire broke out in a warehouse, and for hours blazed away;
And the warehouse, now destroyed, was occupied by the Messrs R. Wylie, Hill & Co.,
Situated in Buchanan Street, in the City of Glasgow.
The flames burst forth about three o'clock in the afternoon,
And intimation of the outbreak spread very soon;
And in the spectators' faces were depicted fear and consternation;
While the news flew like lightning to the Fire Brigade Station.
And when the Brigade reached the scene of the fire,
The merciless flames were ascending higher and higher,
Raging furiously in all the floors above the street,
And within twenty minutes the structure was destroyed by the burning heat.
Then the roof fell in, pushing out the front wall,
And the loud crash thereof frightened the spectators one and all,
Because it shook the neighbouring buildings to their foundation,
And caused throughout the City a great sensation.
And several men were injured by the falling wall ,
And as the bystanders gazed thereon, it did their hearts appal;
But the poor fellows bore up bravely, without uttering a moan,
And with all possible speed they were conveyed home.
The firemen tried to play upon the building where the fire originated,
But, alas! their efforts were unfortunately frustrated,
Because they were working the hose pipes in a building occupied by Messrs Smith & Brown,
But the roof was fired, and amongst them it came crashing down.
And miraculously they escaped except one fireman,
The hero of the fire, named Robert Allan,
Who was carried with the debris down to the street floor,
And what he suffered must have been hard to endure.
He travelled to the fire in Buchanan Street,
On the first machine that was ordered, very fleet,
Along with Charles Smith and Dan. Ritchie,
And proceeded to Brown & Smith's buildings that were burning furiously.
And 'in the third floor of the building he took his stand
Most manfully, without fear, with the hose in his hand,
And played on the fire through a window in the gable
With all his might, the hero, as long as he was able.
And he remained there for about a quarter of an hour,
While from his hose upon the building the water did pour,
When, without the least warning, the floor gave way,
And down he went with it: oh, horror! and dismay!
And with the debris and flooring he got jammed,
But Charlie Smith and Dan. Ritchie quickly planned
To lower down a rope to him, without any doubt,
So, with a long pull and a strong pull, he was dragged out.
He thought he was jammed in for a very long time,
For, instead of being only two hours jammed, he thought ‘twas months nine,
But the brave hero kept up his spirits without any dread
Then he was taken home in a cab, and put to bed.
Oh, kind Christians! think of Robert Allan, the hero man
For he certainly is a hero, deny it who can?
Because, although he was jammed, and in the midst of the flame,
He tells the world fearlessly he felt no pain.
The reason why, good people, he felt no pain
Is because he put his trust in God, to me it seems plain,
And in conclusion, I most earnestly pray,
That we will all put our trust in God, night and day.
And I hope that Robert Allan will do the same,
Because He saved him from being burnt while in the flame;
And all that trust in God will do well,
And be sure to escape the pains of hell.
The Pennsylvania Disaster
'Twas in the year of 1889, and in the month of June,
Ten thousand people met with a fearful doom,
By the bursting of a dam in Pennsylvania State,
And were burned, and drowned by the flood-- oh! pity their fate!
The embankment of the dam was considered rather weak,
And by the swelled body of water the embankment did break,
And burst o'er the valley like a leaping river,
Which caused the spectators with fear to shiver.
And on rushed the mighty flood, like a roaring big wave,
Whilst the drowning people tried hard their lives to save;
But eight thousand were drowned, and their houses swept away,
While the spectators looked on, stricken with dismay.
And when the torrent dashed against the houses they instantly toppled o'er,
Then many of the houses caught fire, which made a terrific roar;
And two thousand people, by the fire, lost their lives,
Consisting of darling girls and boys, also men and their wives.
And when the merciless flood reached Johnstown it was fifty feet high,
While, in pitiful accents, the drowning people for help did cry;
But hundreds of corpses, by the flood, were swept away,
And Johnstown was blotted out like a child's toy house of clay.
Alas! there were many pitiful scenes enacted,
And many parents, for the loss of their children, have gone distracted,
Especially those that were burned in the merciless flame,
Their dear little ones they will never see again.
And among the sad scenes to be witnessed there,
Was a man and his wife in great despair,
Who had drawn from the burning mass a cradle of their child,
But, oh, heaven! their little one was gone, which almost drove them wild.
Oh, heaven! it was a pitiful and a most agonising sight,
To see parents struggling hard with all their might,
To save their little ones from being drowned,
But 'twas vain, the mighty flood engulfed them, with a roaring sound.
There was also a beautiful girl, the belle of Johnstown,
Standing in bare feet, on the river bank, sad and forlorn,
And clad in a loose petticoat, with a shawl over her head,
Which was all that was left her, because her parents were dead.
Her parents were drowned, and their property swept away with the flood,
And she was watching for them on the bank where she stood,
To see if they would rise to the surface of the water again,
But the dear girl's watching was all in vain.
And as for Conemaugh river, there's nothing could it surpass;
It was dammed up by a wall of corpses in a confused mass;
And the charred bodies could be seen dotting the burning debris,
While the flames and sparks ascended with a terrific hiss.
The pillaging of the houses in Johnstown is fearful to describe,
By the Hungarians and ghouls, and woe betide
Any person or party that interfered with them,
Because they were mad with drink, and yelling like tigers in a den.
And many were to be seen engaged in a hand-to-hand fight,
And drinking whisky, and singing wild songs, oh! what a shameful sight!
But a number of the thieves were lynched and shot
For robbing the dead of their valuables, which will not be forgot.
Mrs Ogle, like a heroine, in the telegraph office stood at her post,
And wired words of warning, else more lives would have been lost;
Besides she was warned to flee, but from her work she wouldn't stir,
Until at last the merciless flood engulfed her.
And as for the robbery and outrage at the hands of the ghouls,
I must mention Clara Barton and her band of merciful souls,
Who made their way fearlessly to the wounded in every street,
And the wounded and half-crazed survivors they kindly did treat.
Oh, heaven! it was a horrible sight, which will not be forgot,
So many people drowned and burned--oh! hard has been their lot!
But heaven's will must be done, I'll venture to say,
And accidents will happen until doomsday!
The Clepington Catastrophe
'Twas on a Monday morning, and in the year of 1884,
That a fire broke out in Bailie Bradford's store,
Which contained bales of jute and large quantities of waste,
Which the brave firemen ran to extinguish in great haste.
They left their wives that morning without any dread,
Never thinking, at the burning pile, they would be killed dead
By the falling of the rickety and insecure walls;
When I think of it, kind Christians, my heart it appals!
Because it has caused widows and their families to shed briny tears,
For there hasn't been such a destructive fire for many years;
Whereby four brave firemen have perished in the fire,
And for better fathers or husbands no family could desire.
'Twas about five o'clock in the morning the fire did break out,
While one of the workmen was inspecting the premises round about--
Luckily before any one had begun their work for the day--
So he instantly gave the alarm without delay.
At that time only a few persons were gathered on the spot,
But in a few minutes some hundreds were got,
Who came flying in all directions, and in great dismay;
So they help'd to put out the fire without delay.
But the spreading flames, within the second flats, soon began to appear,
Which filled the spectators' hearts with sympathy and fear,
Lest any one should lose their life in the merciless fire,
When they saw it bursting out and ascending higher and higher.
Captain Ramsay, of the Dundee Fire Brigade, was the first to arrive,
And under his directions the men seemed all alive,
For they did their work heroically, with all their might and main,
In the midst of blinding smoke and the burning flame.
As soon as the catastrophe came to be known,
The words, Fire! Fire! from every mouth were blown;
And a cry of despair rang out on the morning air,
When they saw the burning pile with its red fiery glare.
While a dense cloud of smoke seemed to darken the sky,
And the red glaring flame ascended up on high,
Which made the scene appear weird-like around;
While from the spectators was heard a murmuring sound.
But the brave firemen did their duty manfully to the last,
And plied the water on the burning pile, copiously and fast;
But in a moment, without warning, the front wall gave way,
Which filled the people's hearts with horror and dismay:
Because four brave firemen were killed instantaneously on the spot,
Which by the spectators will never be forgot;
While the Fire Fiend laughingly did hiss and roar,
As he viewed their mangled bodies. with the debris covered o'er.
But in the midst of dust and fire they did their duty well,
Aye! in the midst of a shower of bricks falling on them pell-mell,
Until they were compelled to let the water-hose go;
While the blood from their bruised heads and arms did flow.
But brave James Fyffe held on to the hose until the last,
And when found in the debris, the people stood aghast.
When they saw him lying dead, with the hose in his hand,
Their tears for him they couldn't check nor yet command.
Oh, heaven! I must confess it was no joke
To see them struggling in the midst of suffocating smoke,
Each man struggling hard, no doubt, to save his life,
When he thought of his dear children and his wife.
But still the merciless flame shot up higher and higher;
Oh, God! it is terrible and cruel to perish by fire;
Alas! it was saddening and fearful to behold,
When I think of it, kind Christians, it makes my blood run cold.
What makes the death of Fyffe the more distressing,
He was going to be the groomsman at his sister's bridal dressing,
Who was going to be married the next day;
But, alas! the brave hero's life was taken away.
But accidents will happen by land and by sea,
Therefore, to save ourselves from accidents, we needn't try to flee,
For whatsoever God has ordained will come to pass;
For instance, ye may be killed by a stone or a piece of glass.
I hope the Lord will provide for the widows in their distress,
For they are to be pitied, I really must confess;
And I hope the public of Dundee will lend them a helping hand;
To help the widows and the fatherless is God's command.