James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

July 29

How Cyrus Laid the Cable

By John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)

Completion of Atlantic Cable, July 29, 1866.

COME, listen all unto my song;

It is no silly fable;

’Tis all about the mighty cord

They call the Atlantic Cable.

Bold Cyrus Field he said, says he,

I have a pretty notion

That I can run a telegraph

Across the Atlantic Ocean.

Then all the people laughed and said,

They’d like to see him do it;

He might get half-seas over, but

He never could go through it;

To carry out his foolish plan

He never would be able;

He might as well go hang himself

With his Atlantic Cable.

But Cyrus was a valiant man,

A fellow of decision;

And heeded not their mocking words,

Their laughter and derision.

Twice did his bravest efforts fail,

And yet his mind was stable;

He wa’n’t the man to break his heart

Because he broke his cable.

“Once more, my gallant boys!” he cried;

“Three times!—you know the fable,—

(I’ll make it thirty,” muttered he,

“But I will lay the cable.”)

Once more they tried,—hurrah! hurrah!

What means this great commotion?

The Lord be praised! the cable’s laid

Across the Atlantic Ocean!

Loud ring the bells,—for, flashing through

Six hundred leagues of water,

Old Mother England’s benison

Salutes her eldest daughter!

O’er all the land the tidings speed,

And soon, in every nation,

They’ll hear about the cable with

Profoundest admiration!

Now long live President and Queen;

And long live gallant Cyrus;

And may his courage, faith, and zeal

With emulation fire us;

And may we honor evermore

The manly, bold, and stable;

And tell our sons, to make them brave,

How Cyrus laid the cable!