First line "The Bridge, the Bridge, the wondrous Bridge" seems to be the text on which bar659 is based. It starts by admiring the engineering of the bridge but says that nature is more powerful than human ingenuity. It puts the event in the wider context of the journey and sets the season as New Year rather than Christmas.
The preamble to the verses states "that over sixty lives were lost, and none were left to tell the tale. There are now Forty-six bodies recovered, two of which are women, and one a girl, and all identified" a level of detail hinting that the verses were written some days after the event.
The bridge was blown down, with the last train from the south, on Sunday evening, the 28th day of December, 1879, when it was supposed that over sixty lives were lost, and none were left to tell the tale. There are now Forty-six bodies recovered, two of which are women, and one a girl, and all identified. 15th May 1880 [Note 175.1]
The Bridge, the Bridge, the wondrous Bridge
That spans the Firth of Tay,
The greatest work of human skill,
The wonder of the day.
Its lofty pillars stood erect,
And bore its girders high,
A noble sight, when underneath
Great ships were sailing by.
A wonder to the world it stood,
The glory of Dundee ;
An iron bridge, so firmly built,
Across the raging sea.
But what's the strength of bolt and bar ?
And what's the skill of man,
Compared with nature's blast that blow,
Produced by nature's fan ?
Though large and strong the beams may be,
That stretch across the spans,
Let but the tempest breathe its breath,
And iron yields like wands. [Note 175.2]
'Twas Sabbath eve, the train had left
Old Scotland's chiefest town,
Where stands the ancient Holyrood,
A palace of renown.
From stage to stage the train speeds on,
And quickly wends its way
Through hill and dale and country town,
Bound for the Banks of Tay.
Its living freight of young and old,
It gathered by the way ;
And some were fearful, some were bold,
And some were glad and gay.
Some sad at heart their way direct,
The sick to tend and cheer ;
While others with their friends expect
To spend a glad New-Year.
A father with his children sits,
The youngest in his arm,
The smile of joy upon his lips,
He never thinks of harm.
A youth, in manhood's prime, is seen :
A maid sits by his side-
The object of his love so keen-
About to be his bride.
The train speeds on its fatal course
And nears the spot of doom
The bridge is seen, while passing clouds
Unvail the pale-faced moon.
Amidst the tempest loud and shrill,
The train it did proceed;
When, ah ! no human hand or skill,
Could stay the fatal deed.
The train into the girders came
And loud the wind did roar;
A flash is seen-the Bridge is broke-
The train is heard no more.
"The Bridge is down, "the Bridge is down,"
in words of terror spread ;
The train is gone, its living freight
Are numbered with the dead
'Tis sad to see the open gap
At morrow's light of day ;
But sadder, still, to think of those
That perished in the Tay.
Ah ! what's our life-a thread-a breath-
That's easy snatch'd away ;
In midst of life we are in death,
Is taught us day by day
Dry up your tears, ye friends the
And lean upon the Lord ;
The widow's stay, the orphan's friend,
Are promised in His word.
By C. HORNE, Author of the "Aberdeen Ferry Boat Calamity," "Childhood's Days," "To an Aged Mother," "Fishing Boats' Disaster," &c.
Sold at 124 Gallowgate, and 26 Craigie Street, Aberdeen. 15th May, 1880