Lowell: n. p., Jan. 20, 1860. First edition. Single sheet printed recto only, 9.5 x 5.75 inches, printed in two columns on cheap wove paper. Somewhat browned; a little edge worn; in very good condition. Item #19194
"Heard ye that wail of fearful woe, / Loud bursting on the air! / Listen! Oh listen, to those groans / And shrieks of wild despair!" An ephemeral topical slip ballad or song sheet in 12 stanzas, evidently published ten days after the collapse on the evening of January 10 of the Pemberton Mill in Lawrence, which had been crammed beyond safety with machinery by its new owners in an effort to maximize profit; sources put the dead at perhaps as high as 145, with as many more injured. (A fire accidentally set in the ruins during the rescue efforts the night of the collapse killed a number of trapped workers who hadn't already been crushed to death.) Cowden's ballad captures the chaos of the rescue scene, as well as some of the grotesque sights and sounds of watching children and family members die under the wreckage. Not found in Wolf, American Song Sheets, Slips Ballads, and Poetical Broadsides 1850-1870.