Patrick Miller’s first iron vessel, the world’s
First steamship is swanning across Dalswinton Loch.
A landscape painter, Alexander Naysmith
Perches on deck beside his good friend, Robert Bums.

It’s a calm, clear morning. The painter will later invent
The compression rivet, and work out the axial arrangement
Between propeller and engine. The poet will write about the light
Of science dawning over Europe, remembering how

Cold sun struck Pat’s boat that October day at Dalswinton
When the churning paddles articulated the loch
In triumphant metre, and the locals made some cracks
Almost as if they were watching a ship of fools.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences