Lost on the Lady Elgin
(Henry Clay Work)
Up from the poor man's cottage, forth from the mansion door;
Sweeping across the waters and echoing 'long the shore,
Caught by the morning breezes, Borne on the evening gale;
Cometh a voice of mourning, a sad and solemn wail.
cho: Lost on the Lady Elgin! Sleeping to wake no more!
Number'd in that three hundred, who failed to reach the shore.
Oh! 'Tis the cry of children
Weeping for parents gone;
Children who slept at evening
But orphans awoke at dawn.
Sisters for brother weeping,
Husbands for missing wives ---
Such are the ties dissever'd
With those three hundred lives.
Staunch was the noble steamer,
Precious the freight she bore;
Gaily she loosed her cables,
A few short hours before.
Grandly she swept our harbor,
Joyfully rang her bell;
Little thought we e'er morning
'Twould toll so sad a knell.
The Lady Elgin, a side-wheel excursion boat that cruised Lake Michigan,
collided with a lumber steamer on a trip from Milwaukee to Chicago in 1860.