Haverhill's Calamity

This poem, composed by Haverhill resident William TDwyer around 1885, puts Haverhill's 1882 confla­gration into perspective through rhyme.

            We never can forget the sight, so distressing to behold, 

When Washington street was bound in flames of fire that o'er it rolled. 

It was a cold and windy night, and the hour of twelve was near,

When the shrill sound of the fire alarm, our citizens did hear. 

Though some lay quiet in slumber, they soon arose and found, 

That the business portion of the town, was burning to the ground. 

The firemen soon rushed to the spot and struggled hard to save 

Our city from destruction, and the grasp of Satan’s wave.   

But the fire fiend then was raging, and its course they could not stay, 

Til 'neath its hand, fine structures in a heap of ruins lay.  

t really meant destruction, as it leaped up to the sky, 

And those buildings fell beneath it, like the grass before the scythe. 

It was a sad and thrilling scene to witness, I am sure,  

And it sent a feeling to the hearts of both the rich and poor. 

For the poor man from employment, was thrown upon the world, And the rich man with his thousands, into poverty it hurled. 

But still there's men undaunted, who will build again with speed,  

While charity lends a helping hand to those who are in need. And the day is not far distant when, our city you will see,  

A thriving business center, as once it used to be. 

And now to end my ditty, kind friends to you I say, 

Bear this blow with a smile of hope, for soon it will decay.    

And prosperity again will shine, on that you may rely; 

Here is to old Haverhill, may its name never die.