Punch,  50 (1866), 111.

William Whewell





Scientific Practitioners, Education, Universities, Education, Industry, Religious Authority

    This threnody on Whewell begins by describing the authority and stern features of the recently deceased Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and notes the passing of a man who divided 'the great Court' and from whom 'idlers' shrunk from 'chiding'. Proceeds to trace Whewell's humble early life, noting that he was the 'Son of a hammer-man' and appropriately turned into a 'Sledge-hammer smiter, in body and brain'. Continuing to praise Whewell's 'rude' but ceaseless strength, likens his intellectual progress at the University of Cambridge to a 'fair combat' in which he triumphed over 'Rivals', and notes how he surpassed 'the crowd of / Heads and Professors' at Trinity College. Notes that those 'who envied his power' believed 'Science [to be] his strength, and Omniscience his weakness', while those 'whom he silenced with more might than meekness / Carped at his back'. Admits that he may have lacked 'Milder men's graces' but asserts that he was 'honest, kind hearted and brave'. Urges that 'England should cherish all lives', however lowly their beginnings, and especially those of people like Whewell who have achieved so much. Points out that even those boys who 'chafed at his chiding' and other disciplinary measures 'Rev'rently think of "the Master" to-day'. Believes the totality of his achievements makes us mourn 'his seat empty in chapel and hall'. Notes that he rests in the 'dim' ante-chapel in Trinity 'Where Newton's statue looms ghostly and white', and where Whewell's 'Broad brow' will be 'set rigid in thought-mast'ring grapple' and his eyes looking up for 'more light'. Concludes by noting Whewell's final resting place in the chapel he loved so much.

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