Punch,  29 (1855), 225.

Florence Nightingale





Medical Practitioners, Heroism, War, Disease, Gender, Hospitals, Medical Treatment

Institutions mentioned:


    Noting the public's over-zealous taste for worshipping heroes, advises against scorning 'a truly glorious name' simply because 'so many wreaths before unworthiest shrines are hung'. Insists that although people 'Oft find false gods', 'Deep and true England's heart has glow'd in this great woman's [Florence Nightingale]' holy cause. Champions her cause, which is described as stepping 'calm and humble to the front' despite disease, despair, carnage, and an English army taking 'its path, slowly, to an inglorious grave'. Comparing her to a Christian martyr, the author notes how she 'face to face with pain and death, bore bravely a worse battle's brunt / Than any soldier of all there'. Regards her 'little lamp' as 'hope's beacon light' and praises the 'young—gentle—ladies of the land' who assisted her and who fell 'like balm on passion wrung from festering wound', and who calmed the 'fierce thought in the brain'. Concludes by noting the 'Order out of Chaos' and the 'Hope [...] kindled from Despair' wrought by Nightingale and 'her sisters', and likens this transformation to 'Some holy influence bringing guards of Heaven, where, till they came, was Hell'. Doubts that the public can 'raise' a 'trophy' to meet the 'need' of this act.

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