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Desperation And Madness Of Guilt, The

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



In depth of loneliest wood, amid the din
Of midnight storm and thunder, spoke Despair,
While Horror, shuddering, heard that voice alone.
Oh! load of guilt! relentless misery!
Still, ever still the same where'er I fly;
No peace, no hope, not one poor moment's glimpse
Through all the blackness of eternity!
Monster of direst guilt! this mother's hand
Murder'd my babe, my new-born innocent.
I seek not mercy, no! long sought in vain
While conscience prey'd upon my secret heart,
Wasting its life in agonizing groans,
And floods of scalding tears, but now no more;
Those pangs are past, this heart is wither'd, dead!
Changed all to crime, all rottenness and stench;
'Twould taint creation were it not confined.
Parch'd are these eyes, their sorrows turn'd to ice,
A mountain of impenetrable ice,
In whose unfathom'd centre lies my soul,
Imprison'd, numb'd, buried in conscious death.
O could I cease to think! cease quite to be!
O could I live in torments! writhe in hell!
Raptures to this! Rouse, rouse to life, my soul,
In madness of despair, O burst thy tomb;
Call God and devils to behold thy guilt,
And blast thee. ("It lightens.")
See, what sudden blaze! they come!
Welcome, O welcome! follow me, look there!
There lies my murder'd babe: now strike! avenge!
("It thunders.")
Overwhelming stroke!
("She falls upon the ground insensible:
at length, coming to herself")
Ah! am I conscious still?
Not blasted then? does this one little spark
Amidst a universe of solid gloom
Still live? I'll try to quench it with my blood.
Come, dagger, pierce, pierce deep; I feel thy point;
My blood flows fast, it animates my heart.
The gathering cloud of death grows thick and dark,
It hangs oppressive on my swimming sight:
See, see, the Spirit of my murder'd child
Comes with a troop of demons to conduct
My soul to hell; they seize me for their prey,
They drag me down: Oh! horror! horror! oh!
("She dies.")
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:45 min read
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Quick analysis:

Scheme ABCDEFDGHIJKLMNOPPQRDSQTUVWBXYZ1 2 3 4 T5 6 J4 7 8 9 0
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,856
Words 332
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 46

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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