Punch,  59 (1870), 20.

Tempus Fugit





Telegraphy, Imperialism, Class, Instruments, Internationalism

    Begins with an extract from the Court Journal describing a gathering at John Pender's Piccadilly mansion of '300 of the notabilities of rank, science, art and fashion'—a gathering to celebrate the completion of the telegraphic connection between London and Bombay. The poem describes the 'swelldom', the 'glare and the glitter and gossip' of the occasion, and explains that what has brought together 'these leaders of fashion and science' is 'the small syphon that, waving, / Scatters its fine jet ink in accord with the pulses electric, / So making plain to the eye what the spark through the wires is conveying'—a reference to William Thomson's syphon telegraphic recorder. Explains that the message inscribed by the syphon recorder is 'Britannia stretching invisible hands under ocean', which brings together east and west, and which allows exchanges between London and distant parts of the globe. Adds that one message was sent to the Viceroy of India, Richard S Bourke (6th Earl of Mayo), who, despite the fact that he was roused out of bed, showed what 'Miracle-workers are we [...] Saying to space "Be no more", and to baffled Time, "Get thou behind me"'. Concludes with the warning the 'one achievement remains': 'to use it for wise talk'—'Talk that shall lessen earth's evil, and make its good larger and larger' and 'gather' the world into 'brotherhood's bondage'.

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

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