Big Ben—An Ode
Engineering, Time, Instruments, Accidents, Controversy
Describes the attempt to raise the bell in the Palace of Westminster, 'Big Ben', which is a hugely expensive instrument and which later cracked. Notes how, 'by wond'rous engineering, / And checks, and counter-checks, and side-way steering, / Up in the tower he swung'. Relates the dispute between Charles Barry and Edmund Denison over the failure to endow the clock with hands. Goes on to describe how, despite 'Tolling the hours, for miles and miles around', the bell cracked for a reason that 'we know not'. (154) The illustration shows the cracked bell with arms, legs, a face, and straw around the hinge above its 'head'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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