Punch,  13 (1847), 237.

King Death's Discomfiture





Disease, Government, Public Health, Sanitation, Commerce

    Describes the journey of 'Cruel Death', dressed as a 'Sewer Commissioner' and armed with a 'lancet'. He sees 'Cholera at work, on Russian and Turk', and orders the sending of influenza to England, where he saw his agents 'Typhus and Co.' conducting a 'roaring trade'. Death blesses 'his friends, the wiseacres, / Who at centralisation grumble', and chuckles to himself knowing that the disease has 'the wholesome scent of "self-government"'. Offers a 'fig for your Smiths and Chadwicks, / With their Health of Town petitioners', noting that he still has 'Seven hundred good Sewer Commissioners' to the fore. Typhus expresses his enjoyment of living in a sewer 'Where knock me-down-gases each the other surpasses'. Describes how Typhus informed Death that 'our roaring trade has been knocked on the head / By these sanitary fellows', who will 'wash out [...] Any hard-working Fever' that 'haunts' each 'sewer and drain'. Typhus suggests that the only solution is for Death to compel the Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, to make 'sewers Banks [...] Of Plague-issue and Poison-deposit', and warns Death that he won't receive from the 'Whig administration' his 'claim to compensation'. King Death and Lord Typhus leave Britain disgusted with its administrative 'innovations' and 'sanitary ravages'.

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