A Glimpse of Beautiful Dayton
I. H. Ries
Come friends, gather round me, and listen,
Of my vision I’m going to tell,
The city we love so well.
The city so gay and fancy
With its cafes and gambling dives,
With its dance halls and its wine rooms,
Filled with men with other men’s wives.
There I see them drinking and dancing,
Committing all manner of sin,
With no thought of a God or a Savior,
With no thought of a heaven to win.
And then on the cross I saw Jesus,
As in pity He looked on this band;
While the curses, the drinks and the falsehoods,
Each drove one more nail in His hand.
And he who by falsehood and flattery
Had stolen his fellowman, a bride,
I saw by his deed and action
Thrust a spear in the dear Savior’s side.
All the angels of heaven were watching,
And saw this same sight as did I;
Their hearts were filled with great sorrow,
And each one bitterly did cry.
Their tears fell fast, so great their sorrow,
That dark grew the earth and the skies;
The winds that wailed through our city
Were only the arch angel’s sighs.
The lightning, the flash-lights of heaven;
The low rumbling thunder, Jehovah’s sad groan,
For He knew the fate of our city,
And it caused Him to sadly bemoan.
The rain still pouring in torronts,
And our city still ringing with glee;
With no fear of what might happen,
And the wine was still flowing free.
The river was rapidly rising,
Though its rising seemed none to alarm;
The levees have all been strengthened,
We’re sure it can do us no harm.
But hark! There comes rushing in autos,
Men shouting this warning around:
“High waters are coming, good people,
Flee as fast as you can to high ground.”
Oh, what an awful disaster!
What will be their sad fate?
See, the waters are rushing upon them,
The warning has reached them too late.
See the water as madly it rushes,
Hear the women and children’s wild screams,
Mid the sound of the mad rushing waters,
The crashing of walls and of beams.
Look there! See that mother and baby!
Make haste with your boat or they’ll drown!
Ah, the current’s too swift, they can’t reach them!
My God! there I see them go down.
And yonder, see those three little children,
On that frail pile of rubbish there,
Just waiting, hopelessly waiting;
Now the eldest is kneeling in prayer.
“Oh God, hear us little children,
We never have done any sin;
Won’t you open the gates of heaven,
And please take us all three in?”
There now, I can see them no more,
Though heaven’s gate I see open wide;
Ah, there go the three little darlings,
I see them pass safely inside.
Oh God, may those scores of others,
Whom these mad waters took in—
May they have been like these dear children
Who never committed a sin.
Hush friends, cease crying and listen!
Just stop for a moment and think;
Are not the joys of those children
More than all sinful pleasure and drink?