THE RAILWAY ENGINEER
By Clara Augusta
Petersen's Magazine, February, 1883, p. 141.
The warrior's fame is often sung,
And his brave deeds reckoned high;
But the man who stands in the engine-box,
And sweeps with his watchful eye
The iron track, as it stretches out
Over hill and foaming stream,
Has a lion heart and powerful hand,
For he is the king of steam;
And it needs a master will to drive
And guide his flying team.
Steam, the demon which rules the world,
And crushes under its tread
The beetling cliffs, the deep ravines,
The mountain's hoary head--
Steam, which wakes, with fiendish shrieks,
The dreamer out of his sleep,
And tosses back to the echoing sky
Its mutterings, hoarse and deep--
But the engineer this mad wild force
Obedient shall keep.
Through the busy day and silent night,
He stands the lever beside;
His eye ne'er tires, his limbs ne'er fail,
In all the breathless ride;
His pride is his engine: he loves it well,
And it yields to his command,
And bears the train to its destined port,
With a speed which is simply grand;
And the engineer holds all our lives
In the hollow of his hand.
One error of his—we shudder to think
Of what might happen to-day,
If he slept at his post, or his watchful eye
For a moment were turned away.
Does he think of this? Does his heart beat quick,
As he sees the "danger" light?
Does he calmly choose to die with his charge,
Because he deems it right?
Down with his engine, crashing through space,
Crashing down through the night.
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Tales of Chetzemoka