Railway Whistle or the Blessings of Hot Water Travelling

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Of all the wonders of the age, there's nothing now so much the rage;
Both rich and poor seem all engaged about the Eastern Railway.
There's hissing here and whizzing there, and boiling water everywhere;
'Midst fire and smoke you crack your joke and what may happen no one cares,
For some blow down and some blow up, into a carriage haste and pop;
At the sound of the whistle off you start on the Eastern Counties Railway.

There's a train full half a mile in length, drawn by a fiery monster's strength;
Good luck to your soul, keep clear of the banks, for fear that you go over.
But if by chance, such a ting occurs and you should roll among the furzeĀ¹,
How pleasant to be capsized thus, with pigs and passengers in one mess.
And while you're down in the valley below, how pleasant to hear the engine blow,
You mount up again and off you go on the Eastern Counties Railway.

But some poor simple souls may say 'tis a dangerous thing to travel this way;
If the rail gives way or the boilers burst, there's nothing on earth that can save us.
The money we paid from our poor pockets may send us in the air like rockets,
Our heads as empty as water buckets, our precious eyes knocked out the sockets,
But sure such people have no sense, 'twill all be the same a hundred years hence,
What odds will it make, we can die but once; might as well be smashed by the railway.

For my own part I can see no harm in a boiler of water if 'tis but warm,
And any old woman with me will agree that without hot water you can't have Tea
And if by chance it should be your lot, to be sluic'd right well with it boiling hot,
Or blown up into the air like a shot and your body and sleeves should go to pot
Why 'twill be an easy death no doubt and the truth of this you may soon find out,
If you jump in the carriage and join the rout in the Eastern Counties Railway

Farewell ye coaches, vans and wagons, farewell ye keepers of roadside inns,
You'll have plenty of time to repent your sins in charging poor travellers double.
Farewell you blustering coachmen and guards that never know how to use civil words,
You'll no more use your horns, you know, except to place upon your brows;
Take your lumbering vehicles off the road, neither you nor they were ever much good,
For how could you carry such fine big loads as the wonderful railways.

Lets not forget the Railway directors, and from all harm they will protect us,
They'll never study to neglect us, so dearly they love locomotion.
It's for our good they take such pains, and never do they think of gains,
And if few hundred should be slain, our wives and children they'll maintain.
Then happy thankful may we be, such blessed inventions we've lived to see;
To all other travel bid forever good-bye, but the wonderful Eastern Railways.

 

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Origin Broadside
Source Title Railway Whistle or the Blessings of Hot Water Travelling
Bargery Number 349
Roud Not in the Roud Index
Earliest Date 1839
Evidence for Earliest Date The Eastern Counties Railway Company was incorporated in 1836 to build a line from Shoreditch to Yarmouth via Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich. The first public trains did not run until 20 June 1839 and then only between Mile End and Romford. The Shoreditch to Brentwood section opened in1840, and Colchester was finally reached in 1843. http://www.esscrp.org.uk/gainsborough/history/history.php
Source of Text A broadside printed by Broadhurst of Norwich held at the Norfolk Heritage Centre
Music (Given or Suggested) No tune given
Printer or Publisher Broadhurst
Where Printed Norwich
First Line Of all the wonders of the age, there's nothing now so much the rage;

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