The Poetry of the Rail

South Australian Register Saturday 13 December 1845 p.4

Now that the Railways have absorbed every other interest, it is quite impossible that the poetry of the country can any longer hold it- self aloof from its all-pervading influence. " The Soldier's Tear," or the " Sailor's Snivel," will become obsolete and rococo. Instead of holding aloft snow-white scarfs to flutter in the breeze, we shall have railway signals hois- ted by impassioned stokers or ardent engine drivers, as they pass the cottage-doors of their mistresses at eighty miles an hour, by a special train.
We beg leave to call the attention of our poets, and particularly that of the poet Bunn, to the new field for imagination which the Railways open to them. Fair girls "met in a crowd," or standing amid glittering throngs, are completely used up, and nothing now re- mains but the sentiment of the rail ; the great trunk-lines being exactly the sort of line that such minds as the poet Bunn are calculated to adorn and illustrate.
We give a specimen of what we think might be done with such a subject as—

There was a fair and beauteous girl.
She lov'd a stoker brave,
And of her hair a glory curl,
That girl that stoker gave.
He pressed one hand upon his heart,
The other to his eye;
And knowing they were doom'd to part.
That stoker heav'd a sigh.

Before the lattice open wide,
Behold thar stoker stand,
He cries, " Wilt be a stoker's bride,
Wilt take a stoker's hand ?"
The words had scarcely left his tongue,
Ere, pealing loudly by,
The Railway starting-bell is rung,
The stoker heaves a sigh.

" Ah, dearest, once I used to dream—"
His voice was heard no more.
The whistle gives its frantic scream,
The engine gives a roar,
The stoker hurries to the train,
They're off ! away they fly !
He heaves the coals, for 'twould be vain
Just now to heave a sigh.— Punch.

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