Halifax Guardian (14/Feb/1852) - The Holmfirth Catastrophe

This page is part of the Holmfirth Flood Project and its content is believed to be in the Public Domain.
The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Now o'er the downward slope, the torrent pours
With thund'ring crash, and desolating rush;
The fields, whose grassy face beneath the shower
Were kindling into verdure, — seamed and torn
Are ribbed with stony furrows. Downward along
The desolation spreads; with vulture ken
Scenting its prey afar. Vain are all checks
Of pliant hedge-row, tree, or firm-built wall,
To stem one moment;— overcome, at once
It bends, it bursts, and, captive, sweeps along
To aid the work of ruin. Hark! the roar
Is master'd by a cry, more fearful still
Than rush of mighty waters. 'Tis the scream
Maternal anguish utters, as with one
Felt swoop, her husband, little ones, herself,
All, all, are whirl'd into eternity.
No time to breathe one single prayer, or soothe
Each other's passage. Crash! a scream; a groan —
Bubbling from out the headlong watercourse;
And their fair forms, this moment in the prime
Of life, and health, and vigour, — batter'd float
Amid the general wreck; or buried lie
Beneath the ruins of that happy home
Where love, peace, joy, and bliss domestic reigned
But yesternight supreme. O solemn thought,
The life we live is in the midst of death!
All's well at eve, when, as in Egypt's land,
The angel of destruction darkling came,
And morning dawn'd upon their ruin'd homes,
And not a house but mourned for its dead.
Go view the desolated scene, and while
Your heart with anguish sympathetic bleeds
For others' woe, let not your pitying looks
Or melting words of kindness satisfy;
But your abounding stores, godlike dispense,
And bless yourself, by soothing others' woe.

Heyworth Street, Manchester. — Manchester Guardian.