Julia A. Moore

The Sweet Singer of Michigan


THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE


The great Chicago Fire, friends,
     Will never be forgot;
In the history of Chicago
     It will remain a darken spot.
It was a dreadful horrid sight
     To see that City in flames;
But no human aid could save it,
     For all skill was tried in vain.

In the year of 1871,
     In October on the 8th,
The people in that City, then
     Was full of life, and great.
Less than four days it lay in ruins,
     That garden City, so great
Lay smouldering in ashes,
     In a sad and pitiful state.

It was a sad, sad scene indeed,
     To see the fire arise,
And hear the crackling of the flames
     As it almost reached the skies,
And sadder still, to hear the moans,
     Of people in the flames
Cry for help, and none could get,
     Ah, die where they remained.

To see the people run for life;
     Up and down the blazing streets,
To find then, their escape cut off
     By the fiery flaming sheets,
And others hunting for some friend
     That perhaps they never found,
Such weeping, wailing, never was known,
     For a thousands miles around.

Some people were very wealthy
     On the morning of the 10th.
But at the close of the evening,
     Was poor, but felt content,
Glad to escape from harm with life
     With friends they loved so well,
Some will try to gain more wisdom,
     By the sad sight they beheld.

Five thousand people were homeless,
     Sad wanderers in the streets,
With no shelter to cover them,
     And no food had they to eat.
They wandered down by the lake side,
     Lay down on the cold damp ground,
So tired and weary and homeless,
     So the rich, the poor, was found.

Mothers with dear little infants,
     Some clinging to the breast.
People of every description
     All laid down there to rest,
With the sky as their covering,
     Ah, pillows they had none.
Sad, oh sad, it must have been,
     For those poor homeless ones.

Neighboring Cities sent comfort,
     To the poor lone helpless ones,
And God will not forget them
     In all the years to come.
Now the City of Chicago
     Is built up anew once more,
And may it never be visited
     With such a great fire no more.



Reprinted from The Sweet Singer of Michigan: Poems by Mrs. Julia A. Moore,
ed. Walter Blair (Chicago: Pascal Covici, 1928).
Note: I have corrected the last line of stanza four from Blair's "For a thousands miles around."
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