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Epistle To A Friend

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



Has then, the Paphian Queen at length prevail'd?
Has the sly little Archer, whom my Friend
Once would despise, with all his boyish wiles,
Now taken ample vengeance, made thee feel
His piercing shaft, and taught thy heart profane
With sacred awe, repentant, to confess
The Son of Venus is indeed a God?
I greet his triumph; for he has but claim'd
His own; the breast that was by Nature form'd
And destined for his temple Love has claim'd.

The great, creating Parent, when she breathed
Into thine earthly frame the breath of life,
Indulgently conferr'd on thee a soul
Of finer essence, capable to trace,
To feel, admire, and love, the fair, the good,
Wherever found, through all her various works.
And is not Woman, then, her fairest work,
Fairest, and oft her best? endowed with gifts
Potent to captivate, and softly rule
The hearts of all men? chiefly such as thou,
By partial Nature favour'd from the birth?
Why wast thou, then, reluctant to confess
The sovereignty of Love? so strangely deaf
Through half thy genial season to the voice
Of Nature, kindly calling thee to taste
Felicity congenial to thy soul?
This was the secret cause: inscrutable
To vulgar minds, who fancied thee foredoom'd
To celibacy, for thyself alone
Existing; but I rightlier judged my Friend
The cause was this: there lurk'd within thy breast
A visionary flame; for, while retired
In solitude, on classic lore intent,
Thy fancy, to console thee for the loss
Of female intercourse, conceived a Maid,
With each soft charm, each moral grace, adorn'd,
Fit Empress of thy soul; and oft would Hope
Gaze on the lovely phantom, till at length
She dared to stand on disappointment's verge,
Anticipating such thy future bride.
What wonder, then, that Chloe's golden locks
Should weave no snare for thee? that Delia's eyes,
So darkly bright, should innocently glance,
Nor dart their lightnings through thy kindling frame?
That many a Fair should unregarded pass,
So far unlike the picture in thy mind?
At last, in happy hour, my Friend beheld
Partial, a Maid of mild, engaging mien,
Of artless manners, affable, and gay,
Yet modestly reserved, with native taste
Endued, with genuine feeling, with a heart
Expansive, generous, and a mind well-taught,
Well-principled in things of prime concern.
Still, as, with anxious doubt, thou didst pursue
The delicate research, new virtues dawn'd
Upon thy ravish'd view: 'twas She! 'twas She!
Then marvelling Fancy saw her image live;
And Hope her dream fulfill'd; then triumph'd Love;
And Nature was obeyed.

Yet still suspense
Reign'd awful in thy breast, for who could stand
Between the realms of happiness and pain,
Waiting his sentence fearless? O my Friend!
What was thy transport, when the gracious Maid
With virgin blushes and approving smile
Received thy vows, consented to be thine?

Now, then, let Friendship gratulate thy lot,
Supremely blest! and let her fondly hope
That, while the names of Husband, Father, thrill
Thy soul with livelier joy, thou wilt, at times,
Remember still, well pleased, the name of Friend.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

2:38 min read
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Quick analysis:

Scheme ABXXCDXEXE XXFXXXXXXXXDXXGFXAXBXXXXHXIXXXXXXXXXAXXGXXXXXXXXH XXCBHXX XIXXB
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,967
Words 512
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 10, 49, 7, 5

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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