The great Galveston disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times including vivid descriptions of the hurricane Page: 83
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CRY OF DISTRESS IN GALVESTON. 83
been commemorated in verse by Jean Ingelow in the poem entitled
" High Tide Off the Coast of Lincolnshire." The Linconshire
coast is almost uniformly low and marshy-so low, in fact, at some
places that the shore requires the defence of an embankment to
save it from the encroachments of the sea.
A sea wall had been built when the great tidal wave of I57I
came, but it appears to have been absolutely useless as a defence of
the country and the people of that time.
At the present day the fens of Lincolnshire are defended from
the North Sea by some of the finest engineering works in the
world, and yet it is much to be doubted whether they would prove
effective against such invasions as that which has just overwhelmed
GREAT INUNDATION OF 1571.
There are ancient town records in nearly all the seacoast towns
of Lincolnshire which tell of the inundation of I57I. There was
then as there is now, a chime of bells in the tower of St. Botolph,
Boston, and when the tide was seen to be sweeping away the barriers
the Mayor of Boston himself mounted the belfry stairs and
had played the old love song called "The Brides of Enderby" as
an alarm to the country side.
But the tide came so unheralded, there having been no premonition
of it in storm or tempest, that the meaning of the chimes
was not understood. Savants have never had an explanation of
the Lincolnshire tide, coming as it did so unheralded by anything
threatening a cataclysm. The flood found the people unprepared
and thousands fell victims to its fury.
There is nothing in literature, and nothing of course in the
musty archives of the Lincolnshire towns, conveying as vivid an
impression of the horror of the day and night as the Ingelow
verses. They are written in the old, and what now seems to us the
quaint, English of that day.
The story is told by an old woman whose daughter, out with
her two children looking and calling for the cows at eventide, is
overwhelmed and drowned.
Here’s what’s next.
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Lester, Paul. The great Galveston disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times including vivid descriptions of the hurricane, book, 1900~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/m1/102/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .