"Under a Cloud"
Astronomy, Observation, Commerce, Politics, Government, Hospitals, Medical Treatment, Utilitarianism
Begins with an extract from the Pall Mall Gazette describing the clouds that obscured Londoners' view of a recent meteor shower. The poem develops a metaphorical interpretation of the newspaper's observation that London was 'under a cloud' during the meteor shower, and considers some of the aspects of social and political life that could also be said to be 'under a cloud'. For example, describes the 'meteors of flash financiering' whose stock has gone 'under a cloud' since the smash of 'Black Friday', the 'chaos and clash' of the last parliamentary session which left Benjamin Disraeli 'the man in possession / And public men "under a cloud"', and the 'Poor-Law-Board laches, misfeasance, / And Union-Infirmary hells' that show 'Red-tapeism' to be 'under a cloud"'. Concludes by observing the wonder that 'star-showers should follow / The example [...] And, like other things gassy and hollow, / Fail with last year's éclat to come out'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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