American Old Time Song Lyrics: 32 The Alms House Fire

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 32

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Tune-"Ten Years in Cherry Hill."
Written by Harry Barron.

Ye citizens of Philadelphia, who don't forget the poor.
Come listen to a poor man's song, who stands outside your door­'Tis all about the Alms-house fire, that occurred the other night,
A tale of horrid, ghastly dread to blanch your faces white.
Fire! Fire! at the Alms-house, where the crazy poor they keep.
Seven hundred poor demented souls awakened from their sleep.
They madly rushed from place to place, the flames creep higher, higher!
Oh!" who'll describe the horrors of that dreadful Alms-house fire.

The firemen came like heroes, worked reckless of life and limb.
They plunged into the seething flame, where danger was most rife;
They fought the fire, they fought the smoke, they dragged the crazy out,
And one by one they lowered down-oh, how the people shout!
till, firemen of Philadelphia, before I've sang thy praise.
Although I sing with feeble note, an honest voice I raise;
Ah, surely in the hereafter to a crown you may aspire.
Not millions would repay your work at the dreadful Alms-house fire.

And now the fire is over, its fruit a score of dead.
Ye rich of Philadelphia well may ye hold your head,
"The Almshouse is a tinder-box," ye often have boon told.
"'Tis good enough for paupers, you must not touch our gold,"
Has ever been your answer unto each loud appeal.
Ye held your bonds, ye hugged your store, ye turned your hearts to steel;
I would not have your conscience, think of that funeral pyre,
Twenty accusing souls rise up from out that Alms-house fire.

Twenty accusing souls will stand upon the judgment day,
Twenty voices rise on high and fingers point your way;
They will charge you with foul murder and very justly, too;
Ye hate the poor, their time will come, ye devilish cutting crew;
No wonder men do mutter low and gather in the night.
Small blame if they grow desperate and whisper with lips white;
Though suffering long and bearing still, beware their rising ire,
And guard hereafter well against another Alms-house fire.
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