Poetry Corner: Steamboats, Viaducts and Railways

On this day 14th of October in 1788 the first steamboat experiment was held on Dalswinton Loch, Dumfries and Galloway.

William Symington's and Patrick Miller's steam boat Dalswinton

image credit:By Rosser1954 from Wikimedia Commons

Robert Burns was farming at Ellisland, just outside Dumfries, when he was invited by his landlord, Patrick Miller, to go out in a small experimental steamboat.

The boat, which was fitted with an engine designed by William Symington, was the first paddle-propelled steamboat in the world, and Robert Burns was one of its first passengers. Scotclans

Steamboats, Viaducts and Railways

By William Wordsworth, 1833

Motions and Means, on land and sea at war

With old poetic feeling, not for this,

Shall ye, by Poets even, be judged amiss!

Nor shall your presence, howsoe’er it mar

The loveliness of Nature, prove a bar

To the Mind’s gaining that prophetic sense

Of future change, that point of vision, whence

May be discovered what in soul ye are.

In spite of all that beauty may disown

In your harsh features, Nature doth embrace

Her lawful offspring in Man’s art; and Time,

Pleased with your triumphs o’er his brother Space,

Accepts from your bold hands the proffered crown

Of hope, and smiles on you with cheer sublime.

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