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You come back from sea, And not know my John ? I might as well have asked some landsman Yonder down in the town. There's not an ass in all the parish But he knows my John.

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How's my boy-my boy?
And unless you let me know
I'll swear you are no sailor,
Blue jacket or no,
Brass buttons or no, sailor,
Anchor and crown or no !
Sure his ship was the “ Jolly Briton"
'Speak low, woman, speak low!'
"And why should I speak low, sailor,
About my own boy John ?
If I was loud as I am proud
I'd sing him over the town!
Why should I speak low, sailor ?'
• That good ship went down.'

6

“How's my boy—my boy?
What care I for the ship, sailor,
I was never aboard her.
Be she afloat or be she aground,
Sinking or swimming, I'll be bound,
Her owners can afford her!
I
say,
how's

my

John ?'
• Every man on board went down,
Every man aboard her.'
“How's my boy-my boy?
What care I for the men, sailor?
I'm not their mother
How's my boy--my boy?
Tell me of him and no other!
How's my boy-my boy?'

ALEXANDER SMITH: 1830

Alexander Smith, a designer of patterns in a Glasgow warehouse, in 1853

issued a volume of Poems, the principal piece being a series of thirteen dramatic scenes, entitled A Life Drama. He soon after received the appointment of Secretary to the University of Edinburgh. He has since issued City Poems and Edwin of Deira.

THE RIVER CLYDE.

From A Boy's Poem in CITY POEMS.1

a

At length the stream
Broadened 'tween banks of daisies, and afar
The shadows flew upon the sunny hills;
And down the river, 'gainst the pale-blue sky,
A town sat in its smoke. Look backward now !
Distance has stilled three hundred thousand hearts,
Drowned the loud roar of commerce, changed the proud
Metropolis which turns all things to gold,
To a thick vapour o'er which stands a staff
With smoky pennon streaming on the air.
Blotting the azure too, we floated on,
Leaving a long and weltering wake behind.
And now the grand and solitary hills
That never knew the toil and stress of man,
Dappled with sun and cloud, rose far away.
My heart stood up to greet the distant land
Within the hollows of whose mountains lochs
Moan in their restless sleep; around whose peaks,
· And

craggy islands ever dim with rain,
The lonely eagle flies. The ample stream
Widened into a sea. The boundless day
Was full of sunshine and divinest light,

1 This and the following extract are made by permission of Messrs Macmillan & Co.

a

And far above the region of the wind
The barred and rippled cirrus slept serene,
With combed and winnowed streaks of faintest cloud
Melting into the blue. A sudden veil
*Of rain dimmed all ; and when the shade drew off,
Before us, out toward the mighty sun,
The firth was throbbing with glad flakes of light.
The mountains from their solitary pines
Ran down in bleating pastures to the sea ;
And round and round the yellow coasts I saw
Each curve and bend of the delightful shore
Hemmed with a line of villas white as foam.
Far off, the village smiled amid the light;
And on the level sands, the merriest troops
Of children sported with the laughing waves,
The sunshine glancing on their naked limbs.
White cottages, half smothered in rose blooms,
Peeped at us as we passed. We reached the pier,
Whence girls in fluttering dresses, shady hats,
Smiled rosy welcome. An impatient roar
Of hasty steam ; from the broad paddles rushed
A flood of pale-green foam, that hissed and freathed
Ere it subsided in the quiet sea.
With a glad foot I leapt upon the shore,
And, as I went, the frank and lavish winds
Told me about the lilac's mass of bloom,
The slim laburnum showering golden tears,
The roses of the gardens where they played.

FROM A LIFE DRAMA.

The lark is singing in the blinding sky,
Hedges are white with May. The bridegroom sea
Is toying with the shore, his wedded bride,
And, in the fulness of his marriage joy,
He decorates her tawny brow with shells,
Retires a space to see how fair she looks,
Then proud, runs up to kiss her. All is fair-
All glad, from grass to sun! Yet more I love
Than this, the shrinking day, that sometimes comes

In Winter's front, so fair ’mong its dark peers,
It seems a straggler from the files of June,
Which in its wanderings had lost its wits,
And half its beauty; and, when it returned,
Finding its old companions gone away,
It joined November's troop, then marching past ;
And so the frail thing comes, and greets the world
With a thin crazy smile, then bursts in tears,
And all the while it holds within its hand
A few half-withered flowers.

THE END.

Edinburgb:
Printed by W. and R. Chambers.

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