Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Steampunk Songs - His Dark Heart

Less of a Steampunk song than a historical tale based on Erik Larson's book The Devil in the White City, about the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 - the White City - and "Dr. H. H. Holmes," the alias of a serial killer who lured young women to his World's Fair Hotel to kill them. Holmes was evidently handsome and charming, and convinced a number of young women to lend or give him money and to part with their virtue. In modern times, we are so inundated with descriptions of the most horrific violence that it is difficult to conceive of a time when girls could reach adulthood still innocent of the evil that lurks.

His Dark Heart

I came from a small town
No one knows its name
Arrived in Chicago all alone
Looking for work, to get in the game.
I can type and I can file,
Work suitable for a young lady.
Though I'm an old-fashioned girl
For the right man I'm ready.

Hired by a charming man
A gentle smile, in the pharmacy trade,
Dr. Holmes found me some rooms
Hello, Mom, I've got it made.
Strange happenings these days,
Girls disappearing at night.
I have no fear for my safety -
Dr. Holmes makes sure I'm all right.

White City, World's Fair
To show what Chicago can do
White City, Dark Town
Which one reveals more about who we are?
Soaring art or man's dark heart?

He takes me to the White City
To see the wonders of our age:
Olmstead's gardens and a Ferris wheel,
Buffalo Bill on the stage.
We held hands, he drew me close
And with a tender kiss he said
I'll always hold you in my heart,
Then he lay me on my bed.


All my life
Searching for God
Imagine my surprise
At finding the Devil instead.

My money gone, I've sealed my fate,
Locked in an airtight room.
He fires the furnace and then I'm
Cremated, my ashes strewn.
In my final moments I sigh,
Adventure's done, I close my eyes.
Holmes has won, my parents never to know
The depth of the Devil's lies.

How many more before me?
How many more will there be?


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