Category: 19th Century

Death of Napoleon | Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo’s poem about Napoleon’s death was originally published in G.W.M. Reynolds Monthly Magazine in 1838.

Afar from Home: A Poem of the Gold Rush | W. D.

This poem was written by a person known only as “W.D.” and published in the London Journal in 1860, which was then edited by Pierce Egan the Younger (1814–80). The poem might refer to the Gold Rushes of the mid-1800s, when explorers seeking to get rich quickly moved to the USA and Canada hoping to strike gold.

“The Sunbeam” (1857) | F.W. Alexander

The following poem was written in 1857 by F.W. Alexander and printed in Reynolds’s Miscellany. Little is known about the poet; they were in all likelihood not a professional poet but had a day job and simply contributed a few lines to Reynolds’s Miscellany, which often published contributions from readers.

Brave Canadians! (1839) | S.R.G.

There is no country on the face of the earth where despotisms prevails with more horrible atrocity than in Canada. We can well conceive the sort of sympathies entertained by the Melbourne and Russell government, when they permitted that splendid colony to be devastated by inhuman fiends, whose names shall be consigned to eternal infamy, as samples of the cannibal spirit of aristocratic domination. May our beneficent CREATOR grant that the British People may yet prove the liberators of the brave, bleeding, and prostrate Canadians!

The Rise of Democracy: The Passage of the Reform Act (1867) | Stephen Basdeo

The Reform League organised several rallies. At one of the Reform League’s major rallies, held in Trafalgar Square and attended by old-school militant radicals, the speakers began calling on working men to organise a general strike. Another ‘monster meeting’ held in May 1867 was so large that, despite being banned by the government, the police did not dare to intervene. The prospect of violence and armed conflict was rearing its head and it was all beginning to feel like 1848 again.

A Glasgow Doctor Battles a Cholera Outbreak | W. Dale

I concluded this was a case of genuine malignant cholera, and in consequence felt somewhat alarmed and anxious for the safety of the family. I examined the house, and found the walls dark-looking and damp. The whole place had an air of discomfort; the woman had been washing for two days previous, and had been drying her clothes in the house; damp stockings were hung around the bed place, and undried clothes on lines. I examined the close or yard, and found one wretched dirty old petty or closet for the whole pile of houses, and near to it some small houses where animals were kept, with much filth about them, and human excrement in the channel of the yard and near to the closet.

Mary Shelley’s “The Last Man” (1826): An Abridged Version | Stephen Basdeo

Presented here is an abridged version of Mary Shelley’s post-apocalyptic pandemic novel “The Last Man” (1826). The plague makes its way across the world killing all in its path and eventually arrives in England. Many of the motifs we find in modern-day apocalypse movies can be found in Shelley’s novel: lawlessness and rioting, the rise of religious madmen, the hoarding of food, and scenes of desolate towns and cities. The extract presented here is a highly abridged one which provides an overview of how Shelley imagined the end of the world as ushered in by a pandemic.

The Sorrowful | S. S.

This poem was originally written in 1850 and published in the Home Circle, a magazine edited by Pierce Egan the Younger (1814-80): Ye by whom once the clear blue sky / And zephyrs of returning spring / Were hailed with joy, but now no more / Responses from the spirit bring.