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Poem by John Godfrey Saxe

How Cyrus Laid the Cable

              A Ballad

COME, listen all unto my song;
  It is no silly fable;
'T is all about the mighty cord
  They call the Atlantic Cable.

Bold Cyrus Field he said, says he,
  I have a pretty notion
That I can run a telegraph
  Across the Atlantic Ocean.

Then all the people laughed, and said,
  They'd like to see him do it;
He might get half-seas-over, but
  He never could go through it.

To carry out his foolish plan
  He never would be able;
He might as well go hang himself
  With his Atlantic Cable.

But Cyrus was a valiant man,
  A fellow of decision;
And heeded not their mocking words,
  Their laughter and derision.

Twice did his bravest efforts fail,
  And yet his mind was stable;
He wa'n't the man to break his heart
  Because he broke his cable.

"Once more, my gallant boys!" he cried:
  "Three times!--you know the fable,--
(I'll make it thirty," muttered he,
  "But I will lay the cable!")

Once more they tried,--hurrah! hurrah!
  What means this great commotion?
The Lord be praised! the cable's laid
  Across the Atlantic Ocean!

Loud ring the bells,--for, flashing through
  Six hundred leagues of water,
Old Mother England's benison
  Salutes her eldest daughter!

O'er all the land the tidings speed,
  And soon, in every nation,
They'll hear about the cable with
  Profoundest admiration!

Now, long live President and Queen;
  And long live gallant Cyrus;
And may his courage, faith, and zeal
  With emulation fire us;

And may we honor evermore
  The manly, bold, and stable;
And tell our sons, to make them brave,
  How Cyrus laid the cable!

John Godfrey Saxe

John Godfrey Saxe's other poems:
  1. To My Love
  2. Rhyme of the Rail
  3. My Familiar
  4. A Persian Tale
  5. Sonnet to a Clam

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