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Ten thousand men on the pay-roll, and forty

freighters at sea! Fifty years between 'em, and every year of it

fight, And now I'm Sir Anthony Gloster, dying, a

baronite: For I lunched with His Royal ’Ighness-what was

it the papers a-had ? “Not least of our merchant-princes.” Dickie,

that's me, your dad! I didn't begin with askings. I took my job and

I stuck; And I took the chances they wouldn't, an' now

they're calling it luck. Lord, what boats I've handled-rotten and leaky

and old! Ran 'em, or-opened the bilge-cock, precisely as I

was told. Grub that 'ud bind you crazy, and crews that 'ud

turn you gray, And a big fat lump of insurance to cover the risk

on the way. The others they duresn't do it; they said they

valued their life (They've served me since as skippers). I went,

and I took my wife.

Over the world I drove 'em, married at twenty

three, And your mother saving the money and making a

man of me. I was content to be master, but she said there was

better behind; She took the chances I wouldn't, and I followed

your mother blind. She egged me to borrow the money, an' she

helped me clear the loan, When we bought half shares in a cheap 'un and

hoisted a flag of our own. Patching and coaling on credit, and living the Lord

knew how, We started the Red Ox freighters—we've eight

and-thirty now. And those were the days of clippers, and the

freights were clipper-freights, And we knew we were making our fortune, but

she died in Macassar StraitsBy the Little Paternosters, as you come to the

Union BankAnd we dropped her in fourteen fathom; 1 pricked

it off where she sank. Owners we were, full owners, and the boat was

christened for her,

And she died out there in childbed. My heart,

how young we were! So I went on a spree round Java and well-nigh ran

her ashore, But your mother came and warned me and I

wouldn't liquor no more. Strict I stuck to my business, afraid to stop or I'd

think, Saving the money (she warned me), and letting

the other men drink. And I met McCullough in London (I'd saved five

'undred then), And 'tween us we started the Foundry—three

forges and twenty men: Cheap repairs for the cheap 'uns. It paid, and the

business grew, For I bought me a steam-lathe patent, and that

was a gold mine too. “Cheaper to build 'em than buy 'em,” I said, but

McCullough he shied, And we wasted a year in talking before we moved

to the Clyde. And the Lines were all beginning, and we all of

us started fair, Building our engines like houses and staying the

boilers square.

But McCullough 'e wanted cabins with marble

and maple and all, And Brussels and Utrecht velvet, and baths and a

Social Hall, And pipes for closets all over, and cutting the

frames too light. But McCullough he died in the Sixties, and

Well, I'm dying to-night. ... I knew I knew what was coming, when we bid

on the Byfleet's keel. They piddled and piffled with iron: I'd given my

orders for steel. Steel and the first expansions. It paid, I tell you,

it paid, When we came with our nine-knot freighters and

collared the long-run trade. And they asked me how I did it, and I gave 'em

the Scripture text, “You keep your light so shining a little in front o'

the next!” They copied all they could follow, but they couldn't

copy my mind, And I left 'em sweating and stealing a year and a

half behind. Then came the armour-contracts, but that was

McCullough's side;

He was always best in the Foundry, but better,

perhaps, he died. I went through his private papers; the notes was

plainer than print; And I'm no fool to finish if a man'll give me a

hint. (I remember his widow was angry.) So I saw

what the drawings meant, And I started the six-inch rollers, and it paid me

sixty per cent. Sixty per cent with failures, and more than twice

we could do, And a quarter-million to credit, and I saved it all

for you. I thought-it doesn't matter—you seemed to fa

vour your ma, But you're nearer forty than thirty, and I know the

kind you are. Harrer an’ Trinity College! I ought to ha' sent

you to seam But I stood you an education, an' what have you

done for me? The things I knew was proper you wouldn't thank

me to give, And the things I knew was rotten you said was

the way to live;

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