"The Waggoner's Curse," circa 1850.
Come all ye bold wagoners turn out man by man
That's opposed to the railroad or any such a plan;
'Tis once I made money by driving my team
But the goods are now hauled on the railroad by steam.
May the devil get the fellow that invented the plan.
It'll ruin us poor wag'ners and every other man.
IL spoils our plantations wherever it may cross,
And it ruins our markets, so we can't sell a hoss.
If we go to Philadelphia, inquiring for a load,
They'll tell us quite directly it's gone out on the railroad.
The rich folks, the plan they may justly admire,
But it ruins us poor wag'ners and it makes our taxes higher:
Our states they are indebted to keep them in repair,
Which causes us poor wag'ners to curse and to swear.
It ruins our landlords, it makes business worse,
And to every other nation it has only been a curse.
It ruins wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and every other trade,
So damned be all the railroads that ever was made.
It ruins our mechanics, what think you of it, then?
And it fills our country full of just a lot of great rich men.
The ships they will be coming with Irishmen by loads,
All with their picks and shovels, to work on the railroads;
When they get on the railtoad, it is then that they are fixed
They'll fight just like the devil with their cudgels and their sticks.
The American with safety can scarcely ever pass,
For they will blacken both his eyes for one word of his sass
If it wasn't for the torment I as lief would be in hell,
As upon the cursed railroad, or upon the canal.
Come all ye bold wag'ners that have got good wives;
Go home to your farms and there spend your lives,
When your corn is all cribbed up and your small grain is sowed
You'll have nothing else to do but just to curse the damned railroad.
Credit: George Korson, ed., Pennylvania Songs and Legends, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,1949), 255-57.