Portrait Gallery

Harper's Weekly, April 11, 1868


A Lay “Of Ladies' Love and DRU-ERIE”

By C. H. Webb.

Cornelius, the Great Cornerer,
  A Solemn oath he swore,
That in trowsers pockets he
  Would put one railroad more:
And when he swears, he means it—
  The stout old Commodore.

Words have a certain weightiness
  That strikes one of heap
When dropped by men whose early home
  Has been upon the deep—
With so much saltness in their speech,
  Their oaths are sure to keep.

It serves him well, the Commodore,
  His battling with the breeze;
Knowing the ropes, he takes and swings
  The biggest Line with ease&mdash
As one should do who all his life
  Has been upon the Seize.

Not following now the seas, instead
  You see him behind Bays;
'Tis said he always holds a pair;
  And no on him gainsays—
Being on stocks, 'tis plain that he
  Must have his way and Ways.

Each, every inch a railroad man,
  In not a line awry,
His arms are railway branches,
  His feet are termini—
If you doubt me, there are his tracks
  To witness if I lie!

He was the Hudson River's bed—
  The Harlem's bed and Board;
The Central's too—whose cattle-pen
  Is mightier than a sword:
His pockets were the tunnels
  Through which these railroads roared.

Such share a shares were quite enough
  To serve a common mind,
But not the stout old Commodore's—
  He for an Eyrie pined;
As though he were the Eagle bird—
  By chance — or had the Blind.

But brooding o'er the Erie sat—
  In fact on the same lay—
A bird that, feathering his nest,
  Affirmed by yea and nay,
Before he'd budge he'd seem them all,
  Much further that I'll say.

He said unto the Commodore:
  Are plainly railroad ties;
So little wonder that he spoke
  In anger and surprise—
Tears would not flow; the Commodore,
  It seems had dammed his eyes.

“When Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug—”
  Which is all wrong you know;
Unfriendly fires burn fast enough
  Without the help of tow,
Especially when Coke is on,
  And several lawyers blow.

Such “Erie” sights such “Erie” sounds
  Came from this Erie crew,
It seems, indeed, a den of Lines
  Prepared for Daniel&emdash;Drew!
Not strange that he at last resolved
  To make his own ado.

Fleeing from jars—Perhaps the jug—
  He looked to foreign lands,
And to his brethren said “Arise,
  These Bonds put off our hands;
We will into New Jersey, where
  My Seminary stands.

“There, in that benefice of Bogs,
  Of stocks and Stubs and fen,
Directors—if not rectors—we’ll
  Be all Tyngs to all men—
They strain their canon some, I think,
  If they would reach us then,”

'Twas thus that Daniel's bark—and bite—
  Came to the Jersey shore;
He can not cross, since in his face
  Is slammed the Commodore;
There he must bide his time and tide—
  Tied till the row is o'er.

The gage of war has been thrown down,
  A broad-gauge—broad and free—
And taken up—the Commodore,
  A gauger is, per sea;
Cries Drew “He only wants to get
  The Weather-gage of me!”

'Tis plain that if, in this tournay—
  A Poutrance is the tilt—
The Commodore should keep his seat
  And Daniel be the spilt,
The latter must make tracks, but roads
  Will all be Vander bilt.

While if upon the other hand
  The Commodore should fail,
He'll see that little backward time
  Asked for by Mr. Ball—
In other words, he'd lose his age,
  And Drew would have the can.

Just how the joust may terminate,
  Nobody knows nor cares;
No need to ask how fares the fight—
  They'll ask us for our fares,
And whiche'er side may win will plow
  The public with its shares.

So we will sing Long live the Ring,
  And Daniel long live he,
May his High school confer on him
  Exceeding high degree,
Doubling his D's until, indeed,
  He's D.D.,D.D!

AS for the stout old Commodore
  May he still rule the wave,
Yet never waive the Golden Rule,
  E'en the odd trick to save;
If called to play the railway King,
  May he ne'er play the knave.

This ends my lay, if either wins;
  But if they both should fail—
I mean that if, by any chance,
  This struggle o'er the rail
Should end like the Kilkenny Cats'
  You'll see another tail.

Voracious, by Charles Henry Webb, Harper's Weekly, April 11, 1868 Page 238. (PDF)

Voratious, by Charles Henry Webb, John Paul's Book: Moral and Instructive: Consisting of Travels, Tales, Poetry, and Like Fabrications, 1874, Pages 206-209. (PDF)