First line "You people of Scotland I pray give attention" lists 23 victims by name and identifies a further 8 by their relationship to a named victim. It was almost certainly based on newspaper reports.
This popular song can always be had at the Poet's Box
You people of Scotland I pray give attention,
For sad is the news that I have to relate
The Tay bridge has fallen, a disaster appalling
And nearly one hindered met their untimely fate
The 28th of December will long be remembered
The mail train left Edinburgh for the town of Dundee
With nearly one hundred not thinking of danger
Now alas, they are gone and no more we'll them see.
Many parted from home and relations that evening
And some were proceeding their friends for to see
And swiftly along on the line they were carried
Until they arrived within sight of Dundee
The bridge they were nearing, and no danger fearing,
While the wind on that evening a hurricane, e did blow
The Tay bridge gave way without one moment's warning
And the train and its passengers were hurled below
The falling of the Tay bridge, to life so appalling
O'er Edinburgh and Dundee has cast such a gloom
Of the passengers who left by that train in that evening
In health and in strength they now lie in the tomb,
Their friends and relations they ran to the station
The fate of some loved one all eager to know
Who can describe, now their sad grief and sorrow
When told eighty-three in their graves were laid low.
James Gordon, corn merchant, belonging to Newport,
With his wife and two daughters how sad to relate
Robert Watson, a moulder, and his two little children,
By the falling of the Tay bridge met their untimely fate,
Arch. Bain and his sister, Mrs Mann and grand-daughter
David Neish and James Leslie, whose fate we deplore,
D. Johnstone, Jas. Brimnar, Robt. Watson and Baxter
Now lie in their graves and we'll see them no more.
David Anderson and Scott, with Robert Sym and Milne
Joseph Morrison, Ja. Duncan, belonging to Dundee
Wm. Morrison, David Mitchell, likewise Jas. Murdoch,
They are gone from the earth and no more we'll them see.
Donald Murray and Jas. Marshall, likewise D. Johnson,
Mrs Cheap and her servant, their fate we deplore,
By the falling of Tay bridge on that fatal evening
Their lives are lost and we'll see them no more.
There is no one on earth knows the fate that's before us,
For we know not the moment or the death we're to die
By the dreadful disaster at the Tay bridge that evening,
There is nearly one hundred in their grave they do lie,
They are gone from the world but a short time before us,
But we hope to rejoin them on that happy shore,
Where no railway disasters there will separate us,
But in happiness reign where there is parting no more.
Notes on the Song and Its Historical Context:
[Note 660.1] First line suggests that the air is Flowers of the Forest. See bar130~Foundering of the Steamer Hibernia (Roud V8781) and bar048~Burning of the Montreal (Roud V39328) which also begin with the line "You people of Scotland I pray give attention" and are set to Flowers of the Forest as is Roud V39329 ~ Wreck of the Ship Tayleur; which was not steam powered so is not included in this website but has the same first line.
The headblock looks to have been copied from a newspaper illustration,
See narrative set NS008 ~ The Tay Bridge disaster 1879 for further discussion of songs about the event.