Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"The Old Bridge 1804-1909" by Lucy H. Batt (1929)



(On the 20th anniversary of the burning of the old Troy-Waterford bridge)


Written for The Troy Time.

Many will recollect, I think

Standing one day on fair Hudson's brink,

Watching tongues of remorseless flame

Destroy our bridge of early fame,

Which had stood for a century and more

In fact since eighteen hundred four

As public servant true and sincere

Linking Saratoga to Rensselaer

While o'er the portals at either end

In terms of most explicit trend

Appeared a crudely-lettered sign

Stating price of fare and cause for fine

Throughout the years it spanned the tide,

The counties' boast, our village pride,

Beneath a governance divine

Had been preserved both bridge and sign.

While some among the many may

Remember twenty years today:

A cry rang over plain and ridge,

A frantic cry—"The Bridge! The Bridge!"

Time from memory can ne'er erase

That picture of heroic grace,

No power of art can portray clear

The imprint deepening year by year;

The fiery flame, the bridge so strong

Seemed adamant in its dying song,

And from its height and breadth and length

Vainly it sought to gather strength

An ancient warrior never stood

More stoic than this bridge of wood,

Refusing to dissolve one link,

A seething mass from brink to brink

Of solid embers all aglow,

Hissing at the opposing foe,

The roll of smoke, the scarlet gleam,

Reflected on the gliding stream;

The welcoming river with all its charms

Beckoned assurance with motherly arms,

Each conquered link though loath to yield,

A blaze of splendor here revealed,

Till urged by confidence and love

The weakened unit began to move

Whole as the sun when it sinks to rest,

It sank beneath the river's crest

There where the silvery current sweeps

Our famous bridge forever sleeps.

        Waterford, July 10, 1929.

Troy Times. July 10, 1929: 6 col 1.

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