Punch,  12 (1847), 186.

"Sweets to the Sweet"



News-Commentary, Drollery; Song; Drollery


Pollution, Public Health, Sanitation, Disease, Government, Engineering

    Presents two songs sung by the City of London Commissioners of Sewers to celebrate their conclusion that London's '"paving, drainage, sewerage, lighting, health and cleanliness" is inferior to that of no city in the Empire', and that the Metropolis will be included in the 'operation' of the Health of Towns Bill of George Howard (Viscount Morpeth). The songs ironically defend the importance of filth and disease. The first song describes the sewers that 'give up their tribute steaming / Through traps that lend / Their aid to send these sweets through London streaming'. Imagines 'Taste', 'Sight', and 'Smell' arguing over which of the senses the sewers were meant to satisfy, and ends by praising 'the perfect London drainage'. The second song calls on Londoners to oppose sanitary legislation in various ways including rallying 'round your cesspools, and your sewers, and your sinks', showing teeth to frighten off the sanitary reformer Thomas S Smith, and refusing to be 'sweet and clean by the compulsion of a bill'. Upholds the need to liberate diseases such as the 'Typhus', which, 'like the wind, shall revel free'.

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