Punch, 31 (1856), 69.
The Euphrates Line
Technology, Progress, Telegraphy, Railways, Steam-power, Imperialism, Archaeology, Ancient Authorities, Commerce
Ponders the 'daring' progress made by 'screw and the sail', 'our [telegraph] wires overbearing', and 'our levelling rail'. Notes the cable 'That's to bind North America fast to our shore' and that, 'thanks to O'Shaughnessy [the director-general of telegraphs in India] India is able / To change thought in an hour from Madras to Lahore'. Describes how the 'steam-giant' has bound Europe and is 'forsaking' the New World. Anticipates some of the exotic cargo that will be transported down the proposed line to the Euphrates: instead of 'trucks with the freight of horn'd cattle', envisions 'Weekly cargoes of huge wingèd bulls', and foresees that the Sphinx will no longer be able to keep her 'secrets' in 'her bosom'. Concludes by warning that technological progress and plundering the earth's precious metals will be in 'vain [...] Unless reverence and love join to wipe off the soiling / Of toil from our hearts, and of gain from our hands'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
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