‘Twas in the town of Sunderland, and in the year of 1883,
That about 200 children were launch’d into eternity
While witnessing an entertainment in Victoria Hall,
While they, poor little innocents, to God for help did call.
The entertainment consisted of conjuring, and the ghost illusion play,
Also talking waxworks, and living marionettes, and given by Mr. Fay;
And on this occasion, presents were to be given away,
But in their anxiety of getting presents they wouldn’t brook delay,
And that is the reason why so many lives have been taken away;
But I hope their precious souls are in heaven to-day.
As soon as the children began to suspect
That they would lose their presents by neglect,
They rush’d from the gallery, and ran down the stairs pell-mell,
And trampled one another to death, according as they fell.
As soon as the catastrophe became known throughout the boro’
The people’s hearts were brim-full of sorrow,
And parents rush’d to the Hall terror-stricken and wild,
And each one was anxious to find their own child.
Oh! it must have been a most horrible sight
To see the dear little children struggling with all their might
To get out at the door at the foot of the stair,
While one brave little boy did repeat the Lord’s Prayer.
The innocent children were buried seven or eight layers deep,
The sight was heart-rending and enough to make one weep;
It was a most affecting spectacle and frightful to behold
The corpse of a little boy not above four years old,
Who had on a top-coat much too big for him,
And his little innocent face was white and grim,
And appearing to be simply in a calm sleep-
The sight was enough to make one’s flesh to creep.
The scene in the Hall was heart-sickening to behold,
And enough to make one’s blood run cold.
To see the children’s faces, blackened, that were trampled to death,
And their parents lamenting o’er them with bated breath.
Oh! it was most lamentable for to hear
The cries of the mothers for their children dear;
And many mothers swooned in grief away
At the sight of their dead children in grim array.
There was a parent took home a boy by mistake,
And after arriving there his heart was like to break
When it was found to be the body of a neighbour’s child;
The parent stood aghast and was like to go wild.
A man and his wife rush’d madly in the Hall,
And loudly in grief on their children they did call,
And the man searched for his children among the dead
Seemingly without the least fear or dread.
And with his finger pointing he cried. “That’s one! two!
Oh! heaven above, what shall I do;”
And still he kept walking on and murmuring very low.
Until he came to the last child in the row;
Then he cried, “Good God! all my family gone
And now I am left to mourn alone;”
And staggering back he cried, “Give me water, give me water!”
While his heart was like to break and his teeth seem’d to chatter.
Oh, heaven! it must have been most pitiful to see
Fathers with their dead children upon their knee
While the blood ran copiously from their mouths and ears
And their parents shedding o’er them hot burning tears.
I hope the Lord will comfort their parents by night and by day,
For He gives us life and He takes it away,
Therefore I hope their parents will put their trust in Him,
Because to weep for the dead it is a sin.
Her Majesty’s grief for the bereaved parents has been profound,
And I’m glad to see that she has sent them £50;
And I hope from all parts of the world will flow relief
To aid and comfort the bereaved parents in their grief.
© William McGonagall 🔒
Some other random works of this poet:
- The Hero Of Kalapore
- Lost In The Prairie
- A Tale Of The Sea
- The Wreck Of The Steamer London
- An Address To The New Tay Bridge
- The Rattling Boy From Dublin
- Jottings Of New York
- The Ashantee War
- The Wreck Of The Steamer Stella
- A Tale Of Christmas Eve
- Bonnie Dundee In 1878
- Lines In Praise Of Professor Blackie
- The Wreck Of The Barque Wm. Paterson Of Liverpool
- An Autumn Reverie
- The Demon Drink
- The Funeral Of The Late Ex-Provost Rough, Dundee
- A New Year’s Resolution To Leave Dundee
- The Death Of Prince Leopold
- The Death Of Captain Ward
- The Blind Girl
- The Funeral Of The Late Prince Henry Of Battenberg
- The Burial Of Mr. Gladstone
- Richard Pigott, The Forger
- The Hero Of Rorke’s Drift
- The Inauguration Of The University College
- The Heatherblend Club Banquet
- Beautiful Torquay
- An All-Night Sea Fight
- Beautiful Monikie
- Beautiful Comrie
- Burning Of The Exeter Theatre
- The Crucifixion Of Christ
- A Tribute To Mr Murphy And The Blue Ribbon Army
- The Horrors Of Majuba
- Broughty Ferry
- A Tribute To Mr J. Graham Henderson, The World’s Fair Judge
- Little Pierre’s Song
- The Battle Of The Nile
- Death And Burial Of Lord Tennyson
- The Burial Of The Reverend Gilfillan
- The Christmas Goose
- The Death Of The Old Mendicant
- The Battle Of Corunna
- Grif, Of The Bloody Hand
- A Christmas Carol
- A Descriptive Poem On The Silvery Tay
- The Newport Railway
- Lines In Praise Of The Lyric Club Banquet
- The Bonnie Lass O’ Ruily
- A Requisition To The Queen