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Poem by Phoebe Cary

Ballad of the Canal

WE were crowded in the cabin,
  Not a soul had room to sleep;
It was midnight on the waters,
  And the banks were very steep.

'Tis a fearful thing when sleeping
  To be startled by the shock,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
  Thunder, "Coming to a lock!"

So we shuddered there in silence,
  For the stoutest berth was shook,
While the wooden gates were opened
  And the mate talked with the cook.

And as thus we lay in darkness,
  Each one wishing we were there,
"We are through!" the captain shouted,
  And he sat upon a chair.

And his little daughter whispered,
  Thinking that he ought to know,
"Isn't travelling by canal-boats
  Just as safe as it is slow?"

Then he kissed the little maiden,
  And with better cheer we spoke,
And we trotted into Pittsburg,
  When the morn looked through the smoke. 

Phoebe Cary

Phoebe Cary's other poems:
  1. The Leak in the Dike
  2. The Prairie on Fire
  3. When Lovely Woman
  4. Jacob
  5. Shakesperian Readings

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