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Thomas Oldham 1816 (Dublin,) – 1878 (Rugby, )

Why must Poets, when they sing,
Drink of the Castalian spring?
Sure 'tis chilling to the brain;
Witness many a modern strain:
Poets! would ye sing with fire,
Wine, not water, must inspire.
Come, then, pour thy purple stream,
Lovely Bottle! thou'rt my theme.
How within thy crystal frame
Does the rosy nectar flame!
Not so beauteous on the vine
Did the clustering rubies shine,
When the potent God of day
Fill'd them with his ripening ray;
When with proudness and delight
Bacchus view'd the charming sight.
Still it keeps Apollo's fires;
Still the vintage-God admires.
Hail sweet antidote of wo!
Chiefest blessing mortals know!
Nay, the mighty powers divine
Own the magic force of wine.
Wearied with the world's affairs,
Jove himself, to drown his cares,
Bids the nectar'd goblet bear:
Lo! the youthful Hebe fair
Pours the living draught around;
Hark! with mirth the skies resound.
'Tis to wine, for aught I know,
Deities their godship owe;
Don't we mortals owe to wine
Manhood, and each spark divine?
Say, thou life-inspiring Bowl,
Who thy heavenly treasure stole?
Not the hand that stole Jove's fire
Did so happily aspire;
Tell the lucky spoiler's name,
Worthy never-dying fame.
Since it must a secret be,
Him I'll praise, in praising thee.
Glory of the social treat!
Source of friendly converse sweet!
Source of cheerfulness and sense,
Humour, wit, and eloquence,
Courage and sincerity,
Candour and philanthropy!
Source of O thou bounteous wine!
What the good that is not thine?
Were my nerves relax'd and low?
Did my chill blood toil on slow?
When thy spirit through me flows,
How each vital function glows!
Tuned, my nerves, no longer coy,
Answer to the touch of joy:
On the steams, that from thee rise,
Time on swifter pinions flies;
Fancy gilds them with her rays;
Hope amid the rainbow plays.
But behold! what Image bright
Rises heavenly to my sight!
Could such wondrous charms adorn
Venus, when from ocean born?
Say, my Julia, is it thou,
Ever lovely, loveliest now?
Yet, methinks, the Cyprian Queen
Comes herself, but takes thy mien.
Goddess! I confess thy power,
And to love devote the hour,
Let me but, with grateful soul,
Greet once more the bounteous Bowl.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:54 min read

Thomas Oldham

Thomas Oldham (4 May 1816, Dublin – 17 July 1878, Rugby) was an Anglo-Irish geologist. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and studied civil engineering at the University of Edinburgh as well as geology under Robert Jameson. In 1838 he joined the ordnance survey in Ireland as a chief assistant under Joseph Ellison Portlock who was studying the geology of Londonderry and neighbourhood. Portlock wrote of him whenever I have required his aid … I have found him possessed of the highest intelligence and the most unbounded zeal He discovered radiating fans shaped impressions in the town of Bray in 1840. He showed this to the English palaeontologist Edward Forbes, who named it Oldhamia after him. Forbes declared them to be bryozoans, however later workers ascribed it to other plants and animals. For a while these were considered the oldest fossils in the world. He became Curator to the Geological Society of Dublin, and in 1845 succeeded John Phillips, nephew of William Smith, in the Chair of Geology at Trinity College, Dublin. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1848. He married Louisa Matilda Dixon of Liverpool in 1850. He resigned in November that year and took a position as the first Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India. He was to be the first of the Irish geologists to migrate to the Subcontinent. He was followed by his brother Charles, William King Jr., son of William King the Professor of Geology at Queen's College, Galway; Valentine Ball and more than 12 other Irish geologists. In India he oversaw a mapping program that focussed on coal bearing strata. The team of geologists made major discoveries. Henry Benedict Medlicott coined the term "Gondwana Series" in 1872. Oldham's elder son Richard Dixon Oldham distinguished three types of pressure produced by earthquakes: now known as P (compressional), S (shear), and L (Love)-waves, based on his observations made after the Great Assam Earthquake of 1897. Richard showed in 1906 the arrival patterns of waves and suggested that the core of the earth was liquid. His younger son Henry became a reader in geography at Kings College, Cambridge. He also started the Paleontologia Indica, a series of memoirs on the fossils of India. For this work he recruited Ferdinand Stoliczka from Europe. Oldham resigned from his position in India in 1876 on the grounds of poor health and retired to Rugby in England. In recognition of his lifetime's "long & important services in the science of geology", including Palaeontographica Indica, he was awarded the Royal Society's Royal Medal. He died on 17 July 1878.  more…

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