Ohio History Journal






(Read at the dedication of the Malta-McConnelsville steel bridge,

July 8th, 1902. The flew steel bridge superseded the old wooden toll

bridge built in 1867.)


The old river-bridge, grown decrepit and gray

In the warfare of years, has, alas, passed away;

For Time the remorseless has triumphed at last-

And the faithful old bridge is a part of the past.

Like a warrior it stood, with its feet in the tide

And its lean arms outstretched to the bridegroom and bride

Saying: "Lovers unwitting, God's will has been done!

I've blessed ye and bound ye; ye twain are made one!"


When the elements battled, and thunderbolts fell-

Like arrows God-flung at the ramparts of hell;

When a crash of the storm sent a chill to the blood,

And the highway of man was the gateway of flood;

Then the sturdy old bridge strained its sinews of wood,

And stiffened, and quivered, and tottered-but stood!

And the message it sent o'er the turbulent tide

Was: "I've bound ye and blessed ye; no storm shall divide!


96 Ohio Arch

96       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.

At night-in midwinter, when snowdrifts lay deep,

And the wind was awake and the world was asleep;

Or in summer, when hilltop and housetop and stream

Were aglint with the touch of the moon's paly beam;

Then the old wooden bridge, that no ill might betide,

Kept guard o'er the slumbering bridegroom and bride.

And the words that it murmured at daybreak's release

Were: "I've guarded and kept ye; sleep on - sleep in peace!"


Ah, the old river-bridge felt the terrors and tears

Of the twain it had joined - all their sorrows and fears !

And it, also, partook of their pastimes and joys-

Knew their frolicsome girls and their rollicksome boys!

And its rigid, impassive, old features of oak

Went aquiver with smiles, at the crack of a joke

Or the trill of a laugh and it whispered: "Ah, me!

May their lives full of pleasure and happiness be!"


But there came in the year of the century's birth -

Sent by Time the remorseless, the ruler of earth -

A panoplied knight in a harness of steel;

And the old wooden bridge felt the conqueror's heel!

Knowing well that its battles and triumphs were o'er-

That the friends it had loved would now need it no more,

It sank down to its rest, with the tremulous sigh:

"I've blessed ye and served ye; God keep ye-good bye!"