Tay Bridge Disaster (661)

First line "The wintry wind blew loud and chill", was printed in the Dundee Courier of 6th January 1880 [Ref: British Newspaper Archive]. The poem was written by a local man and has no distinguishing features.

The wintry wind blew loud and chill,
The trees were trembling on the hill,
The waves were dashing on the shore ;
No storm was heard like this before.
The flood against the shores of Tay
Yawned like lion in search of prey,
Against the Bridge it madly frowned,
And sent the spray all whirling round.

Proudly our noble Bridge, awhile
Resisted storm, and seemed to smile,
Till steaming o'er with might and main
Glided the Sunday evening Train.
Nigh fourscore hearts were beating fast
As o'er the Bridge they quickly passed,
And the train sped swiftly on
A radiance in their faces shone.

The lover with a heaving sigh
Gazed o'er the flood with anxious eye ;
Soon would he meet his lover dear,
And words of love breathe in her ear.
father longed to reach his home
As he rushed o'er that surging foam
The mother to her throbbing breast
Her tender suckling fondly pressed.

Swiftly, surely, the train sped well
 Over that gaping, yawning hell,
Till when half o'er she seemed to real,
Making the trav'lers anxious feel.
On, on she sped ; no stop, no stay;
She reached the middle of the Tay ;
Then hark ! a wild, terrific crash,
Accomp'nied by horrid splash.

All now silent, not a breath ;
There reigns a silence deep as death ;
No sound is heard, no single wail,
Save the wild shrieking of the gale.
Oh, God ! is there not one to save
These loved ones from that wat'ry grave ?
Be merciful to those,
Who're plunged beneath the frowning Tay.

 'Tis all vain, their fate is sealed
Great God alone can prove their shield ;
Not one survives that deadly gale;
Not one is left to tell the tale.
The hearts that beat so fast and loud
Are wrapped within a foamy shroud ;
 And we will watch, but watch in vain,
To see them coming home again.

Dundee. James Slimming.