Gleanings From The Past #16


Taxing Air

Voltaire related to Mr. Sherlock an anecdote of Swift. Lady Carteret, wife of the lord lieutenant, said to Swift, “The air of Ireland is very excellent and healthy.” “Madam,” said Swift, “don’t say so in England; for if you do, they will certainly tax it.”

Vademecum Für Junge Freunde Des Englischen, 1840

The Star

That lingering star! that single star!
Th’ attentive eye alone can see;
As darkness shrouds the firmament,
Its beams alone shine down on me.
Oh, dearer for its loneliness —
Hope’s emblem ov’r the wilderness!

— Angelo Canoll, The Ladies’ Repository, Vol. 14, March 1854

Poetry of the Sea

[Thomas] Campbell was a great lover of submarine prospects. “Often in my boyhood,” says the poet, “when the day has been bright and the sea transparent, I have sat by the hour on a Highland rock admiring the golden sands, the emerald weeds, and the silver shells at the bottom of the bay beneath, till, dreaming about the grottoes of the Nereids, I would not have exchanged my pleasure for that of a connoisseur poring over a landscape by Claude or Poussin. Enchanting nature! thy beauty is not only in heaven and earth, but in the waters under our feet. How magnificent a medium of vision is the pellucid sea! Is it not like poetry, that embellishes every object that we contemplate?”

Reynolds’s Miscellany of Romance, General Literature, Science and Art, Vol. 1, August 12, 1848

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

10 thoughts on “Gleanings From The Past #16

  1. I’m amazed at all of these interesting things you find. I imagine you in an old library, climbing a spiral staircase and when finding a book that is on the top shelf, pushing your glasses up on your nose, while you blow the dust off the book and find a good lounge chair by a fireplace to read your book. Then you share with us your “good finds.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If only it was that cool lol :) While the libraries here are pretty old, they have been renovated for several times. Instead of spiral staircase, I use either escalator or lift (the large libraries have lifts). But you’re right about the dust :). Those old books and periodicals are only gathering dust there.

      Anyway, thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m always a bit wary when people post poetry. Some think that cutting the lines up into segments and saying neat things about love and the clouds is all that it takes. But those six lines of ‘The Star” have resonance, feel, rhythm and a lot more. Great stuff.


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