Your City Cousins

John Gambril Nicholson

John Gambril Nicholson published this poem in his collection, Love in Earnest: Sonnets, Ballades, and Lyrics. He wrote it to describe and admire all of the different types of boys that he encounters when walking through London.

White, Chris. Nineteenth-Century Writings on Homosexuality: A Sourcebook. Routledge, 2012.

Google Books,


As I go down the street

A hundred boys a day I meet,

And gazing from my window high

I like to watch them passing by.


I like the boy that earns his bread;

The boy that holds my horse’s head,

The boy that tidies up the bar,

The boy that hawks the Globe and Star.


Smart-looking lads are in my line;

The lad that gives my boots a shine,

The lad that works the lift below,

The lad that’s lettered G.P.O.


I like the boy of business air

That guards the loaded van with care,

Or cycles through the city crowd,

Or adds the ledger up aloud.


I like the boy that’s fond of play:

The office-boy cracks jokes all day,

The barber’s ‘prentice makes me laugh,

The bookstall-boy gives back my chaff


When travelling home by tram or train

I meet a hundred boys again,

Behind them on the ‘bus I ride

Or pace the platform by their side.


And though I never see you there

All boys your name and nature share,

And almost every day I make

Some new acquaintance for your sake.


Title of volume of first printing
Love in Earnest: Songs, Ballades, and Lyrics
Elliot Stock