Punch,  53 (1867), 101.

Michael Faraday





Scientific Practitioners, Heroism, Physics, Faith, Religion, Religious Authority, Methodology, Natural Law, Natural Theology, Force, Energy, Electricity, Magnetism

    This threnody begins by likening the death of the nation's most eminent figures to the 'top-most leaves' having fallen off 'our English oak'. Announces that 'Another leaf has dropped on that sere heap', but claims that Farady was of 'loftier fame' than a soldier, statesman, poet, and painter: he was 'A Priest of Truth, who lived within her shrine'. Expatiates on Faraday's status as a 'Priest'. Explains that it was his 'office to expound / Earth's mysteries' to all who revered but not feared what they found in the 'book of Science'. Emphasises that he was a priest who 'prayed as well as ministered' (a reference to Faraday's Sandemanian faith) and who 'grasped' and 'held fast' to 'the faith he preached', and distinguished himself as one who serves science rather than one who pursues 'private profit'. Explains that his 'life was fashioned to fulfil' the goal that 'he who tends the hest of Science' best serves 'The God of Truth and Knowledge', and praises the way he rose from 'humbleness', through a 'slow march of induction', to 'peaks' that few can attain. Adds that from this height he commanded a 'bird's eye glance o'er Nature' and could understand 'What seems confusion' when 'looked at from below'. The outcome of this process was order growing in 'ever-widening orbs of Law' out of 'seeming Chaos', the 'harmony' of 'Creation's mighty music', and the sense of 'larger unity' behind 'varieties of force and power'—all known forces being 'grasped in a central Will', 'Thunder and light revealed as [...] Modes of the force that works at Nature's heart'. Points out how Faraday traced the 'mysterious pulses' of the cosmos to the 'fountain-head, where they subsist / In form as yet not given e'en him to know'. In the closing stanzas, the author shifts to Faraday's personality, including a 'temper' that was 'child-like, simple, free from flaws', an untiring 'charity', a keeness to win 'Childhood's or manhood's ear', and an enthusiasm to teach and learn.

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