Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 2 (1829), 405–07.

An Essay on Lamps

William Henry


Essay, Homily


Technology, Class

    Likens types of human intellect to types of lamp, from those of the hostler ('the little lamp in the dark corner') and the mechanic (the 'small bright lamp in the shop-window'), through those of the small tradesmen ('long rows of street lamps') and the 'active and intelligent merchant' (the 'patent lamp'), to those of the 'highly gifted statesman' ('the lamp which adorned the public room') and 'the wit, or the poet' (the 'lucid gas-light, the flame of which might seem to be fed on nothing'). Observes that as the 'flame of the Argand lamp, when raised too high, is apt to crack the glass which surrounds it', so some merchants 'wishing to shine too far, have met with a similar misfortune'. Suggests an 'analogy between the noxious vapours emitted by impure gas and the effusions of a corrupt imagination' and wishes 'that some means might be discovered of subjecting the flames of our poets and fine writers to the action of lime water that, having deposited all their grosser particles, they might burn with purity and sweetness'. (406–07)

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