Digital Tradition Mirror

The Brooklyn Theater Fire

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The Brooklyn Theater Fire

In the evening bright stars they were shining,
And the moon it shone clear on the land.
Our city in peace and in quiet;
The hour of midnight at hand.

Hark, do you hear the cry, "Fire"?
How dismal the bells they do sound.
The Brooklyn Theater is burning,
It's fast burning down to the ground.

We never can forget those two orphans.
Bad luck seemed to stand in their way.
It seems they were brought to our city,
The lives of our dear friends to take.

The doors they were open at seven.
The curtains were rolled up at eight.
And those that had seats, they were happy.
Outsiders were mad they were late.

The play it went on very smoothly
'Til sparks from the curtain did fly
It was then the women and chlldren,
"Oh God, save our lives," they did cry.

Next morning among the black ruins,
Oh God, what a sight met our eyes!
The dead they were lying in heaps
And some could not be recognized.

Mothers were weeping and crying
For sons who were out on that night.
Oh God, may their souls rest in heaven,
All those who were innocent and bright.

What means this large gathering of people
Upon such a cold winter day?
What means this long line of hearses
That gather in their mournful array?

It's away to the cemetery of Greenwood
Where the winds of the cold winter blow
It's there where the funeral is going
The dead and unknown for to lie.

From Folk Songs Out of Wisconson, Peters
Collected from Lester Coffee, Harvard, IL, 1946.

Note: Commemorates a fire in a New York theater in 1876 in
   which 295 theatergoers died.
DT #640
Laws G27

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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