American Old Time Song Lyrics: 24 The Johnstown Flood

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 24

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Copyright, 1889, by Chas. D. Blake & Co.
Words and Music by Joseph Flynn.

On a balmy day in May, when nature held full sway,
And the birds sang sweetly in the sky above;
A lovely city lay serene in a valley deep in green,
Where thousands dwelt in happiness and love.
Ah, but soon the scene was changed, for just like a thing deranged,
A storm came crashing through the quiet town;
The wind it raved and shrieked, thunder rolled and lightning streaked,
And the rain it poured in awful torrents down.

Then the cry of distress rings from East to West,
And our whole dear country now is plunged in woe;
For the thousands burned and drowned in the city of Johnstown,
All were lost in that great overflow.

Like the Paul Revere of old, comes a rider brave and bold,
On a big bay horse he's flying like a deer;
And he is shouting warnings shrill, "quickly fly off to the hills,"
But the people smile and show no signs of fear.
Ah, but ere they turned away, the brave rider and his bay.
And the many thousand souls he tried to save;
For they had no time to spare, or to offer up a prayer.
They were hurled at once into a watery grave.-Refrain.

'Twas a scene no tongue can tell, homes strewn about pell-mell.
Infants torn away from loving mothers' arms;
And strong men battling for their lives, husbands struggling for their wives,
And no one left protecting them from harm.
Fathers, mothers, children, all, both the young old, great and small,
Were thrown about like chaff before the wind;
When that fearful raging flood, rushing where the city stood.
Leaving thousands dead and dying there behind.-Refrain.

Soon the houses piled on high, reaching far up to the sky,
And containing dead aim living human freight;
Loud shrieks and groans soon wrent the air. from the wounded lying there.
With no chance to help avert their dreadful fate.
But a fearful cry arose, like the screams of battling foes,
For that dreadful sick'ning pile was now on fire;
While they injured out prayers to heaven, they were burned as in an oven.
And that burning heap had formed their funeral pyre.-Refrain.
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