Books Notated Music The Lawrence disaster. By Jason E. Cowden. Lowell, Jan. 20th 1860
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THE LAWRENCE DISASTER.
THE LAWRENCE DISASTER.
BY JASON E. COWDEN.
Heard ye that wail of fearful woe,
Loud bursting on the air!
Listen! Oh listen, to those groans
And shrieks of wild despair!
Why throbs the nation's giant heart,
With anguish wild and deep!
Oh deep must be the fearful woe,
Which makes a nation weep!
The morning sun, with cheering beams,
Leaped from his briny bed,
And swiftly toward the western hills
His onward course he sped.
Scarce had his last bright golden rays
Flashed from each dome and spire,
When through the streets of Lawrence rung
The fearful cry of fire.
Forth from their anvil, bench and loom,
Her citizens they came,
Whilst louder, higher, rang the cry,
The Pemberton's in flames!
No fire was there, yet, Pemberton
A mass of ruins laid,
Crushing beneath its cruel weight
The matron and the maid.
The hoary hairs of three score years,
Mingled with youth's fresh bloom.
Whilst groans and wails, and frantic prayer,
Burst from that living tomb.
A father sees his only child
Writhe 'neath a cruel beam;
Save me, Oh father! father save!
The maiden wildly screamed.
I come! I come! the father cried,
Thy suff'rings soon shall cease—
Heavens! the father now recoils,
Whilst flames burst in his face.
He turned on her his frantic eye
With fear and horror glazed—
Great God! that loved, that only child
Has perished while he gazed.
The radiant beam of trusting hope,
Which lighted ev'ry eye,
Goes out amid that smoky pall
That shrouds the starry sky;
The crowd had caught the frantic cry,
Which thrilled through every frame,
The night winds echoed back the shriek,
The ruins are in flames!
Shriek upon shriek, groan upon groan,
Rang on the midnight air—
Curses and supplications wild,
Mingled with frantic prayer—
The flames are gathering giant strength,
Each moment flickering higher,
Whilst horrid paeans of despair
Rose from the fun'ral pyre.
The morn in grand sublimity
Pours down its golden light,
Eclipsing ev'ry diamond star
That decks the brow of night.
Hushed now is each shrill horrid shriek,
Which lately rung so wild,
In death's embrace, a shapeless mass,
Lay husband, wife and child.
Oh! who can tell the hopes and fears
Which yester morn were theirs;
Hope gilded all the future bright,
Despite its toils and cares;
Fear did but make the ground work dark,
That hope might brighter gleam,
As frowning rocks a grandeur cast
Upon the cascades sheen.
The lover's heart leaped wild with joy,
As fancies silent trace
Upon the tablet of his heart,
Some dear remembered face.
The maiden stands beside her loom,
With pure and lofty brow,
Whilst tell tale blushes deck her cheek
As she recalls loves vows.
The old man with his hoary hairs,
Looks back on bygone years,
As mem'ry paints his childhood scenes,
His eye is dimmed with tears.
Alas! the lover's throbbing heart,
Old age's hoary head,
The maiden's pure and lofty brow
Have all forever fled.
Sleep on! sleep on, ye weary ones,
Thy toils and pains are o'er;
We know that thou art happy now
On Heaven's blissful shore.
Soon we shall leave this earthly sphere,
And join with thee above,
To claim our immortality
Purchased by Jesus' love.
Lowell, Jan. 20th, 1860.