When the Noonday Sun was Shining

When the noonday sun was shining,
Little groups of threes or fours
Of the cheery dames of Shottstown,
Gossiped round the cottage doors.
When a cry rang out that filled them,
Horror stricken where they stood;
"Mother, sisters, fire is raging,
Down the mine at Mauricewood".

But a moment they stood rooted,
Then with impulse, wild and strong,
Fearful for their loves and dear ones,
To the pit they dash'd along;
Yet a hope beat in their bosoms,
Hope that ere long died away,
For their nearest, for their dearest,
Came not with the dark'ning day.

Many hours they stood and waited,
Hours that seemed not days but years
Hearts wild throbbing, strong men sobbing,
Anguished faces bathed with tears.
But 'tis not for me to tell of
Grief that cannot well be told;
Grief like theirs is only known when
One is taken from the fold.

Rescuers came, and quick descended,
Fearless, brave, and strong and good
Twenty-seven they brought to day-light,
From the depths of Mauricewood.
Overpowered at last and beaten,
From the flames they backwards fell -
How could mortals e'er contend with
Fire that seemed the breath of Hell.

Oh! what hearts of woe and weeping,
Hearths and homes are dull today;
Hearts as sore, as when at Flodden,
All the flowers were "wede away".
Wives, and mothers, sisters, sweethearts,
Weep for loved ones strong and good,
Who, deep down the awful hollow,
Lie entombed in Mauricewood.

"Feed my lambs", He, loving, told us,
Scenes like these the lesson learns
Feed them, ye in princely mansions,
Ye who reap what labour earns.
All the world is filled with sorrow,
Sympathising as it should;
Mortals crying, angels weeping,
O'er the dead at Mauricewood.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin