A Duck Dished
Politics, Anaesthesia, Military Technology, Medical Treatment, Disease, Politics, Internationalism
This poem describes the state of 'La France', a country whose deep wounds have been causing more pain because her various opiates (which refer to those aspects of French culture which gave it strength) no longer bring relief. For example, she waves away 'La Gloire's morphine' (a reference to the powerful French ironclad La Gloire) 'for which she used / To crave'. Proceeds to describe her grave financial problems as if they were a severe case of blood loss. She 'doubts whether these douches / Of debt and tax and loan, / Prescribed by her kind doctor, / Were not best let alone', while the doctor warns her of the dangers of having her 'food' dressed 'à la Liberté', and of bursting out of her 'safety-bands'. Notes how 'Europe's M.D.'s' cannot treat her condition (a reference to the unsuccessful attempt by Emperor Napoleon III of France to organize a European congress) and her own doctor is forced to try alternative remedies including 'De Morny's tonic bitters' (a reference to Napoleon III's counsellor, Charles A K J, Duc de Morny).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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