Punch,  49 (1865), 159.

'From Plague, Pestilence and Famine'





Disease, Supernaturalism, Religion, Metaphysics, Natural Law, Miracle, Pollution, Government, Human Development, Industry, Sanitation

    Referring to recent calls for prayers that will abate the cattle-plague, the poet begins by pondering the identity of those who 'Ordered prayer' and those who question the use of prayer. Describes some of the objects of prayer, including 'Our relieving and our training, / Sewering, scavenging, and draining' and the cessation of other human vices. Proceeds to explain that 'He who links effects and causes, He who works by law, nor pauses [...] knows that prayer is sorely needed', and lists some of the ways in which prayer can thwart the plague: these include the hope that 'ill ways may be looked to [...] Till no more our towns' pollution / Call down plague's grim retribution' and the end of 'centralisation / And self-rule in altercation' which has caused the deaths in 'youth and age'. Concludes by lamenting the children who are 'stunted, / Dwarfed of mind, with senses blunted' and who labour 'on from dawn to dark'ning'. Criticizes the pollution of streams caused by 'our hot quest for riches', and the disgusting accommodation suffered by 'human workers'.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

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