[One of the notable features of Baltimore is the big bell that hangs in the city hall tower, to strike the hour and sound the fire alarm. It is called "Big Sam," and weighs 5,000 pounds]
A million feet above the ground
(For so it seemed in winding round),
A million, and two more,
The latter stiff and sore,
While perspiration formed a part
Of every reeking pore,
I viewed the city like a chart
Spread out upon the floor.
And said: "Great guide Jehoiakin,
To me is meagre pleasure in
The height of spires and domes,
Of walls like ancient Rome's;
Nor care I for the marts of trade,
Or shelves of musty tomes,
Nor yet for yonder colonnade
Before your palace homes;
"But curiosity is keen
To know the city's reigning queen,
Who suiteth well the score
Of suitors at her door;
Oh, which of your divinities
Is she whom all adore?
Embodiment of truth, who is
The belle of Baltimore?"
Veracity's revolving eyes
Looked up as if to read the skies:
"Why, Lor'-a-miss, see dar -
De bell is in de air!
Lan' sakes! of all de missteries
Yo' nebber learn before!
Why, don' yo' know 'Big Sam'? He is
De bell of Baltimore!"