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Elegy, (Written At The Request Of A Young Lady.) Sylvia On Her Dead Canary-Bird

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

Sweet little warbler! art thou dead?
And must I hear thy notes no more?
Then will I make thy funeral bed;
Then shall the Muse thy loss deplore.

Beneath the turf in yonder bower,
Where oft I've listened to thy lay,
Forgetting care, while many an hour
In music sweetly stole away;

There will I bid thy relics rest;
Then sadly sigh my last farewell;
But long, oh! long within my breast
Thy memory, poor bird! shall dwell.

Still to that spot, now more endear'd,
Shall thy fond mistress oft return,
And haply feel her sorrows cheer'd,
To deck with verse thy simple urn.

'Here lies a bird, once famed to be
Peerless in plumage and in lay;
This was the soul of melody,
And that the golden blush of day.'

'Soon as the Morn began to peep,
While yet with shade her smiles were veil'd,
The sprightly warbler shook off sleep,
And with his song her coming hail'd.'

'His guardian rose, nor scorn'd as mean,
But found it still a pleasing care,
To keep his little mansion clean,
And minister his daily fare.'

'The dewy groundsel was his feast,
Which when the watchful songster view'd,
Straight his loud, thrilling strain he ceased,
And softly chirp'd his gratitude.'

'Then would he peck his savoury treat,
Turn his head sly, and breathe a note
Now flutter wild with wings and feet
Then silent sit now pour his throat.'

'His playful freaks, his joyous lay,
Well pleased, his mistress would attend;
It call'd affection into play,
And gave to solitude a friend.'

'Thus happily his days he led
Even to the ninth revolving year;
Then Fate, alas! her weapon sped;
And Pity laid his relics here.'
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:30 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,560
Words 301
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

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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