Works in the Bulletin 1914
God bless me!  When I contemplate
   The crowds and crowds of Smiths I’ve known
‘Tis with dismay I note that they
   Such lack of enterprise have shown.

Of all the multitude of Smiths Who’ve mooned about this busy earth, ‘Tis but a few have filled the view Of continents, as men of worth.
And is the name a handicap Upon the members of that race? On land and sea some Smith should be In ev’ry seventh honored place.
Wher’er my weary feet have trod About this continent immense, In or around each place I’ve found Some Smiths or Smythes in evidence.
But ever are their lines obscure, It is a mystery to me, I’ve racked my brain, but can’t explain Why this phenomenon should be.
The thing is inexplicable, And such a theme to struggle with Were no avail. But here’s the tale Of Everard Uriah Smith.
‘Tis quite a dozen years, or more, Since Everard Uriah Smith, Still quite a boy, sought the employ Of Mister Thomas Istletwith.
They say the chance of fortune rests With ev’ry honest working man; And Everard, by working hard, Became a skilful artisan.
His chief ambition was to be (He was a very modest Smith) A foreman in the factory Of Mister Thomas Istletwith.
To all his hands a mighty man Was Thomas Istletwith, Esquire. His subtle brain, his schemes for gain, They deemed it worthy t admire.
And chief amongst his supporters Was Everard Uriah Smith. His god, his joss, he made his boss, The towering Thomas Istletwith.
By day he toiled, at night he prayed To earn this wondrous master’s praise, Contented he a "hand" to be, And work for wages all his days.
Now, had not Fate decreed that he Should hitch his modest wagonette On to a star, the chances are Smith would have been a workman yet.
But, as some dire catastrophe, There came a blessing, well-disguised; And Smith, alack, he got the sack. No Smith was ever more surprised.
In vain he pleaded with the boss (O anguished, flabbergasted Smith!) That god’s decree was plain, and he Must leave the House of Istletwith.
Upon high Heav’n he called to gaze On what he called his "ruined life" Then home he went, and sorrow bent, And wept in chorus with his wife.
Smith’s uncle on his mother’s side, A man of probity and worth, When made aware of Smith’s despair Was moved to most unseemly mirth.
There’s virtue in a name, I ween. This uncle he was keen and slick. Does not his name denote the same? ‘Twas Ebenezer Pennyquick.
Said Uncle Eb.: 'Buck up, me boy! You have some money put away." (For, while he’d slaved, Smith pinched and saved Against a dreaded rainy day.)
"Call up your cash," quoth Uncle Eb., "And I’ll advance a little loan. You’ll have the stuff - more than enough - To start a business of your own."
Aghast at such a sacrilege Stood Everard Uriah Smith. What! He compete in trade to beat The mighty Thomas Isletwith!
But Uncle Eb. at last prevailed. Smith made a start and plugged along. When Isletwith the sign of Smith Beheld, his laugh was loud and long.
I wot you like a story short - ‘Tis meeter so, I’ve not a doubt. Just let me say that, day by day, Smith’s latent talent blossomed out.
And, though the years that followed were Years of prosperity for Smith, A gloomy term ‘twas for the firm Of Mister Thomas Istletwith.
I vow a tale is better brief, No matter be it spoke or sung; But, by the way, just let me say That, later, Istletwith went bung.
‘Tis now far-famed throughout the land, The well-known firm of E. U. Smith. His manager ' who calls him "Sir" - Is humble Thomas Isletwith.
Gird up your loins, ye Smiths! Are you Content to linger on the shelf? If you’d be great, why, emulate Tis simple Smith, who found himself.

The Bulletin, 1 January 1914, p14

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-05