Yes, I've been runnin' steam engines f'r more than
An' th' more I studies their habits, the certainer it appears
That human bein's came closest to God an' the angeles when
They first created steam engines an' set 'em to workin' f'r men:
F'r of all of men's inventions, from now, way back to the flood,
Steam engines comes the nearest to bein' like flesh an' blood.
Gas engines has their merits -- they pack more power to the
But that's no great advantage, so long as you stay on the ground,
An' when it comes to flyin' I'll wait till they make a machine
That ain't so darnd dependent on havin' its gasoline.
Steam engines now, are human, just like a man or a mule,
They ain't at all particular about what they have for fuel,
If there ain't no cole pile handy there's other tricks you can turn,
F'r there's no place on creation where you can't find somethin' to burn
Blubber, hay or cactus -- I've got up steam with 'em all --
An' I even fired a B'iler without no fuel at all.
That was up in the Andes Mountains, atop o' the timber
On a pumpin' job -- unwaterin' the Cerro de Pasco mine.
Seventy miles from a railroad, three miles up in the sky --
They bile at 180 when you get up that high,
We fired fer a while on cord wood, packed up on Llamas, which
Is a stinkin', half baked camel, till our cholo choppers got rich
An' quit in a bunch, one payday, we might have been shut down yet
If me an' th' head geologer hadn't ah' made a bet.
He said right where we was workin' was an old volcano's
An' there must be a fire in the mountain yet if we could only get it out.
I told him if he'd locate it I'd hook it some way.
He said I couldn't do it, so I bet him a whole months pay.
I thought the youngster was bluffin', but he was there with the dope,
F'r he showed me a hot spring b'illin' a short ways down th' slope.
Well, I screwed up a coil o' steam pipe an' shoved it down in that hole,
An' it turned that engine over just like we was burnin' coal,
I couldn't get up much pressure, but I rigged up a condensin' gear,
An' we pumped them Spanish workin's dry on half of an atmosphere.
I never seen a gas engine that hadn't a yellow streak,
But steam engines act like people, they'll do everything but speak.
A diesel comes in handy -- if speakin' o' submarines:
But the whole internal combustion tribe -- they are nothin' at all but machines.
They'll deliver their rated horsepower, but when they've done that they stop,
Just give 'em a pound of overload, an' theres junk all over th' shop.
Now, a good steam engine is different, its got what you might call guts
To tackle a job that's twice its size without any ifs or buts.
Like a man thats gone to his limit but still makes good on his nerve,
It's the same with your old steam engine -- there's always power in reserve.
Throw all your drafts wide open, fasten your pop valve
Give her the steam an' watch her pull you over the peak all right.
At Rangoon, on a floatin' derrick, I was loadin' teak
An' I made good friends with an elephant who was workin' th' timber slips.
We used to chin in the evenin's, when he came down f'r his bath,
An' I'd toot good night on my whistle, an' he's answer back up the path.
One day we shifted our moorin's, an' when this big boy came along
He started to wade up twords us, when I seen there was somethin' wrong.
He stopped short off in his splashin' and hollered to me f'r help,
An' I never heard nothin' more pitiful -- like than to hear that elephant yelp.
He'd stepped right into a quicksand, a dozen feet from the scow,
An' t'was up to me to save him, an' the only question was how.
I grabbed the end of a log chain an' went right over the
An' yelled to my Burmah fireman to open his dampers wide
An' throw some pitch in the firebox, to get all the head he could,
While I got a hitch round the elephant, a-sinkin' there where he stood.
I dived right under his belly an' I hauled that log-chain
Right back o' the big boy's shoulder, before he sank out of sight,
Only Ms trunk was showin' a-tootin' a farewell blast?
Before I could swing the derrick round an' make the hist gear fast.
Then I pulled my throttle over, an' I recon I prayed a bit
That my old steam engine'd tackle the load -- and she stood right up to it.
I don't suppose no steam engine has ever took no such
Since steam was first invented, an' none won't ever again.
It streached that wire cable, it buckled the derrick mast,
It sprung the boom like a fish pole -- but all the tackle held fast.
F'r mebe a couple o' minutes I didn't know what to think,
F'r instead o' the elephant risin', the scow was beginnin' to sink.
But just as the strain got tightest an' the engine almost stopped
The sand let go in a hurry, an' up the elephant popped
Like a mud-cat caught on a fish-hook an' squealin' to beat the band,
He looked more scared than happy as I swung him over to land.
He pretty near wrecked the derrick before I could save my chain,
Then he ran down the road a-tootin' an' I never seen him again.