Punch,  55 (1868), 264.

Mrs. Durden on Science (Inspiration Derived from Zadkiel's Almanack)



Poetry, Drollery


Scientific Practitioners, Methodology, Theory, Error, Astrology, Astronomy, Geology, Palaeontology, Comparative Philology, Electricity, Steam-power, Progress, Periodicals

    Written by a semi-literate woman who addresses her readers as the upholders of science, but who shares the sceptical attitude of Zadkiel's Almanack towards the sciences. She begins by condemning 'all your science' and anticipating the day when readers, who 'places sitch entire reliance' on science, will find themselves 'mistaken'. Agrees that they can 'foretell eclipses and the weather', but 'disregards' their 'vain therios [theories]', notably the heliocentric theory of the solar system. Contrasts the poor fruit grown on their 'tree of science' with Zadkiel's Alamnack, which is a 'show up of Newton' and is written by a man who has the courage 'the truth to utter'. Suggests that the 'monsters' described by 'Lyall' and 'Joe Miller' might be the slain dragons of folklore, and that the geocentric system may be true. Urges that it is best to 'smother' facts that contradict others or 'what they didn't ought', and that 'scientific wonders' are the invention of the Devil. Suggests that if 'feelosifers' were proved wrong and endorsed her views about 'the world's creation', then 'there would be joy in Convocation'. She relishes the day when 'Gash, electricity, and steam' will be vanquished in favour of 'ile and candles'.

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