Myles Standish thought about it first,
Then General Washington,
But trying it with crummy tools
Was sure to be no fun.
Two hundred fifty years went by,
A good canal expected,
Commerce elsewhere quite improved;
A plan was soon accepted.
In eighty-five we bent our backs
To start the mighty ditch;
Those mounds of gravel, rocks and stuff
Turned out to be a . . . switch
From what we’d done before,
From swampy mud and goo
And then they wouldn’t pay us
So we told the boss, “Go sue
Those financiers who set us up,
While workers took the hit.”
If we could ever corner them,
I’d make them eat my writ.
That’s legalese to try redress,
Yet see our efforts fail.
They sent us home without a cent;
We struck to no avail.
Then four and twenty years went by,
With wrecks still getting worse;
The Vanderbilt’s have lost a yacht,
That ocean route’s a curse!
Along comes Mr. Belmont’s bank
With lots and lots of money
With dredges, cranes and dynamite;
Though you might think it funny –
He gave the workers paying jobs;
We liked that little guy;
Three bridges rose, the ditch was done;
It opened in July.
Then to bunting, bands and rockets
Steamers paddled through
With intercity passengers,
And cargo schooners, too.
The Chatham bars no longer threaten
The route that skippers take.
The trip from Boston to New York
Is now a piece of cake.
Anglers love the new canal,
And cyclists, too, give thanks.
We owe it to the engineers
And August Belmont’s bank.