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Thomas Cowherd

(March 20, 1817 – April 4, 1907 / England)

The Fire Alarm


Fire-fire-fire! Nigher still and nigher
Seem the tones of the 'Alarum bell' borne on the air!
Awaking with a start, what a sinking of the heart
Even the strong are apt to feel, ere they are well aware!

Fire-fire-fire! Higher now and higher
Leaps the madly raging flames as the cry goes round!
In the darkness of the night what a truly awful sight
Is the burning up of homes, while we listen to the sound.

Fire-fire-fire! Behold the havoc dire!
When the black, wreathing smoke a moment clears away-
The flames both hiss and roar as the brave firemen pour
Constantly the crystal streams from Engines in full play.

Fire-fire-fire! Fresh force it does acquire!
The rising wind has sent the blaze unto the other side!
Yet men are standing round in torpor most profound;
Rouse ye up! now fall to work, and let your strength be tried!

Fire-fire-fire! Two blocks seem one vast pyre.
Oh, pity the poor houseless ones-fleeing now away!
Screen them from Winter's blast, for they are on you cast-
That sympathy in measure their losses may repay.

Fire-fire-fire! Thank God, the flames expire!
For a cold, but drenching rain most opportunely comes.
Now honor that Brigade which has such efforts made,
And don't forget your neighbors who have just lost their homes.

Submitted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

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