Harken, my friends, while a story I tell,
A tale of our century (some know it well)
A story of motion, of travel and speed,
A tale of the truth versus Science and Greed.
In the year of our Lord eighteen ninety and six,
The men making carriages thought up some tricks.
Said they "Never more shall the horse do his stuff.
Well have self-propelled buggies—'twill then be enuff !’
They pawed and they snorted, they built this and that,
'Til a pair of old men brought out of their hat
A common steam engine, built into a surrey.
It was light, it was fast, it got there in a hurry.
It didn't blow up, and it didn't break down,
So the makers of gas cars put on a big frown.
Said they "If the gas car, our pet, can exist,
The Steamer must surely be scratched from the list."
So they dreamed up devices, ignition, transmission,
They screamed to High Heaven without intermission,
That steam was as false as Aunt Maggie's back hair
That gasoline only was sure to get there.
They drove them with fluids, with pinions and gears,
And shifting devices 'way up to their ears,
To pull out a choke was 'way too much trouble
It now chokes itself, with machinery that's double,
Retarding a spark made a driver quite frantic
They added some gimmicks—it's now 'automatic.'
The gizmos and gadgets they added and added,
And prices of course, have in some way got padded,
In ye goode olde days, say nineteen ten,
You could get from a thousand iron men
A Viber 8, but today I'm betting
Their salesmen will say "But look what you're getting,
" To Hell he'd condemn my soul to rot
If I were to coldly answer "What?"
So the faithful old Steamer, too honest to chisel,
Was left standing out in the cold, cold drizzel.
Now he rots in the junkyard; to his fate they are cold,
While they gad in gas buggies, with gadgets untold.
But his soul is not dead; he is due for re-birth
For hosts of admirers encircle the earth
The things that he gave us, away back then
Are finding importance with thinking men
His freedom from starting, from shifting of gears,
Are balm to the nerves, and salve to the ears.
Fear not, dear old Steamer, your sun has not set,
Your throne, as our King, is awaiting you yet.