“Call for Help for Chicago,” by N.S. Emerson

"Call for Help for Chicago" was one of several poems by N. S. Emerson included in Frank Luzerne's fire history, The Lost City!

 For years our beautiful city 
Has grown in her strength and pride, 
     Strong as an Indian warrior, 
Fair as a hunter's bride; 
     But up from her hearts quick throbbing, 
List to our pitiful cry. 
     "A Demon has been among us, 
Help! or we surely die. 

     "A Demon whose power was stronger 
Than the strength of our puny hands, 
     Who paused not to ask for favors, 
But took the wealth from our lands: 
     We fought him with desperate courage, 
He laughed at our fruitless pain, 
     We begged him to spare our treasures 
Alas! that we begged in vain. 

     "Spare us McVicker's temple, 
Home of dramatic art." 
     The demon shrieked and McVicker's 
Was booked for its closing part. 
     "Spare us our Tribune building, 
Stately and high and strong, 
     "Whence the Messenger birds fly daily 
To battle against the wrong." 

     The demon crept over the pavement 
And clutched at the pillars fair, 
     And only a heap of embers 
And a wreath of smoke were there. 
     "Spare us then Col[l]yer's pulpit, 
He has fought in the Lords good fight," 
     "And every word he utters 
Is an anvil stroke for the right." 

     "I am no respecter of person," 
Quoth the demon grim and dread, 
     "And Collyer can preach next Sunday 
With God's blue sky o'er head." 
Thus hath the red browed Fire Fiend 
     Stolen our treasures dear, 
Sucked out our hearts best life blood, 
     And left us to famish here. 

Gone are our shrines and altars, 
     Gone are the hopes we cherished, 
All in one hot breath wasted, 
     All in a moment perished, 
Lost is the grain we garnered, 
     Harvest of years gone by. 
Help us, for we are starving, 
     Help! or we surely die.