Tay Bridge Disaster (659)

First line "Ye'll all have ye heard about the brig that spanned the river Tay" is a version of 175 ~ In Memory of the Tay Bridge Disaster recorded from a traditional singer in 1973.

You'll all have heard about the bridge
that spans the river 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,
A glory to Dundee ;
An iron roadway firmly built,
Across the raging sea.

But what's the strength of bolt and bar ?
And what's the strength of man,
Compared with the wild blast that blows,
From nature's mighty fan ?

Though large and strong the mighty beams,
That Tay's wide valley spanned,
Let but the tempest breath and low,
The iron yields like wand.

'Twas Sabbath eve, the train had left
Old Scotia's chiefest town,
Where stands the ancient Holyrood,
A palace of renown.

From stage to stage the train speeds on,
And swiftly winds its way
Through hill and dale and country town,
Bound for the Banks of Tay.

Its living freight of young and old,
Are gathered on the way ;
And some were fearful, some were bold,
And some were glad and gay.

Some the errand of mercy go,
The sick to tend and cheer ;
While others with their friends expect
To spend a glad New-Year.

Notes on the Song and Its Historical Context:

This is a truncated version of the broadside bar175 ~ In Memory of the Tay Bridge Disaster (First line "The Bridge, the Bridge, the wondrous Bridge"). The verses have some minor differences to the broadside. The recording (School of Scottish Studies 27193) was made in 1973.

See narrative set NS008 ~ The Tay Bridge disaster 1879 for further discussion of songs about the event.