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THOMAS A. EDISON. It is only recently that authentic accounts of this remarkable inventor have appeared in the public journals. Till lately he was regarded as a kind of mythical personage, rather an abstraction than a real human being like one of ourselves, a sort of reservoir from which inventions flowed as naturally and spontaneously as petroleum from the rocks of his native land. He has now, however, been brought down from his shadowy throne, to occupy the ordinary level of common humanity, and we propose in the present article to give our readers a short account of his career. A subsequent paper will be devoted to a summary of his principal inventions.

Mr. Edison is descended from a Scotch family, who settled in the United States. He was born in 1847, at Milan, in the province of Ohio. He received the elements of learning from his mother, who had formerly belonged to the teaching profession. She died in 1862, and young Edison never received any other schooling.

He was fond of reading, and dived into all the miscellaneous literature he could meet with. Histories, books of science, and the Penny Cyclopædia were his principal literary fare. When he was very young, his parents removed to Michigan. He was employed on the Grand Trunk Railway in the humble capacity of a newsboy. At Detroit he obtained admittance to the public

a library, and, through some of the books which he met with there, became interested in the science of chemistry, bought some chemicals, and performed experiments during his journeys in the railway cars, until he fell into disgrace from having nearly set a train on fire. Having a keen eye to business, he was not satisfied with merely selling papers, but published and printed on the cars a small journal of his own, to which he gave the name of the “Grand Trunk Herald.”

Like nearly all great inventors, he has been a self-made man, and an example of untiring perseverance. Having formed the acquaintance of some of the officials who worked the telegraph apparatus on the line, he became deeply interested in the science of electricity, and endeavoured to perforın some rude experi


ments for himself; but his means were so slender, and his apparatus so imperfect, that his progress was very slow.

By a fortunate accident, he obtained the opportunity of accomplishing his desires. Having been the means of saving the life of an infant belonging to the station-master at Mount Clemens Station, the father of the child, desirous of showing his gratitude, offered to teach him the working of the telegraph instruments. Edison eagerly availed himself of the wished-for opportunity, studied his new employment in the evenings, and qualified himself as a telegraph operator. He was then employed in various telegraph offices, at Cincinnati, New Orleans, etc.

He never ceased his experiments; his continual studies, his negligence of dress, and his retiring habits, often gained him ridicule, and he sometimes got into trouble through tampering with the telegraphic instruments for the purpose of his experiments. On the other hand, his great skill and dexterity brought him into notice, and caused his promotion from one post to another, till he reached the highest position in his profession.

He lived for some time at Boston, where he varied his labours as a telegraph operator by many scientific investigations, and brought out some of his earliest inventions. It is said that he employed electricity for getting rid of the cockroaches which infested the Boston office.

He afterwards went to live at New York, where he met with such success that he set up a factory of his own at Newark, in New Jersey. He transferred it to Menlo Park, about twenty-five miles from New York, where he now carries on his experiments, and has a large establishment, in which a great number of workmen are employed in working out the ideas of the inventor. “Here (to quote an article in Scribner's Magazine), “every day and night, surrounded by hundreds of vials of chemicals and scores of curious scientific instruments, he may be seen in his suit of blue flannel, chameleon-like with spots of acid, advising, consulting, and directing his principal assistant, Mr. Charles Batchelor, his mathematician, Mr. Francis R. Upton, and his chief machinist, Mr. John Kruza. Here are steam baths, retorts, vacuum pumps, hydraulic presses, smelting furnaces, and the various other necessary appliances.'

He has a private secretary, Mr. S. L. Griffin, who attends to

the immense correspondence carried on with all parts of the world. Mr. Edison's own personal attention to the business of the establishment is assiduous; he is at once the mind and soul of the entire system. He is not only a man of great natural intelligence, but he keeps himself well informed of the labours and investigations of other workers in the fields of science, whose works are contained in his extensive library. His reading is greatly assisted by a power of rapidly grasping the contents of a page, and by a remarkably retentive memory.

As we stated above, Mr. Edison was born in 1847; he is therefore still a young man, and the world has much to hope from his future labours. His father is a hale old man of seventy-six.

66 which


ACT II. SCENE 2. This scene is supposed to have taken place at Windsor Castle. 10. ripe, etc.; to which fortune is about to give birth. 15. which shows ; is here equivalent to "each of which," and takes a verb in the singular. 16. glazed ; covered with a substance like glass. 17. Separates one complete thing into numerous objects. 18. perspectives ; referring to paintings so contrived that if looked at directly in front they only presented a confused mass of indefinite marks, but when beheld from various positions obliquely, represented various objects. In Plot's “Natural History of Staffordshire" we read : “At the Right Honourable the Lord Gerards, at Gerards Bromley, there are the pictures of Henry the Great of France and his Queen, both upon the same indented board, which if you behold directly, you only perceive a confused piece of work ; but if obliquely, on one side you see the king's and on the other the queen's picture." 21. aury ; twisted aside. Connected probably with our word “writhe Sax, writhan. 22. find; This is the reading of the old copies, and has been unnecessarily altered in some editions to "finds." The nominative “your sweet majesty " is taken as equivalent to "you,” and therefore has a plural verb. 23. which ; the antecedent is "grief.” 31. Though when I am thinking I am thinking on no thought at all. 33. conceit ; something conceived in the mind, a conception, fancy; 34. 'Tis nothing less; it is anything but that, it is certainly not that. still; always. Comp. Merchant of Venice, III. 2,

" The world is still deceived with ornament. 37. “ nothing" is in the nom. case to “hath.” 38. The realization of my grief is in the future. 40, wot, know. Comp. Gen. xxi. 26. 44. good hope ; there should be good hope that he has had a speedy departure. 46. retired; withdrawn. 49. repeals; calls back. 50. uplifted; raised (against the king). 51. that ; that which, what. Comp. John iii. II. 57. faction; noun as adj. equivalent to "factious.” 60. fled; understand “have.” 63. heir ; first-born offspring. 69. cozen : a word of uncertain derivation, meaning “to cheat.” he ; i.e.,

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Hope (which is personified). 74. signs of war; his neck covered with the gorget (throat armour.) 75. careful ; full of care, anxious. Comp. Luke X. 41.

79. crosses; vexations, trials. 84. surfeit ; overfeeding, swallowing too eagerly the flatteries of his false friends. 92. Hold ; stop. 101. Provided that I had not deserved it through a want of loyalty towards him. 112, 113. Oath and duty form together one obligation, and the verb is in the singular. So in lines 115-128, those (who) love not the king. 130. them; i.l., their purses. hate=hatred. 132. wherein ; in which respect. 137. office; duty, kindness. 143. that; in modern English “who.” 144. thrives to beat ; prospers or succeeds in beating. 149. I fear me ; used reflectively.

ACT II. SCENE 3. 12. process; proceeding, course. Comp. “process of time,” Gen. iv. 3 ; Exod. ii. 23. 15. to joy; equivalent to "enjoy.”. The hope of enjoying is little less a cause of joy, than the actual realization of the hope. 16. by this; by the hope, etc. 22. whencesoever ; from somewhere or other. 29. was resolved; we say “had resolved.” Comp. Luke xvi. 4. 44. approved; tried and proved worthy: Comp. Acts ii. 22; 2 Tim. ii. 15. 47. as in a soul ; as in having a soul. 61. unfelt thanks ; thanks too great to be perceived or felt by you ; or, thanks not adequately expressed, and therefore not fully understood ; or, simply, intangible thanks. which ; i.e., the treasury. 70. I only answer to my real title, “Lancaster.” 79. absent time; the time when the king is absent. 80. self-born ; native, not foreign; about to be employed in civil war. 84. The duty (or reverence) paid by thy knee is deceptive. 95. display of arms which are despised by good subjects. 109. detested ; detestable. Comp. notes to Act II, 1, 268 ; and L'Allegro, line 40. 112. braving; defiant, challenging (participial adj.) 116. indifferent; impartial. 122. unthrifts; prodigals. 127. should ; we now say “would.” 128. to hunt them down. 136. free ; true, real, legitimate. 138. stands upon your grace; it concerns your grace. 139. endowments :- revenues. 143. kind; manner. 152. see; equivalent to “foresee.” 154. ill-left; left by the king in a bad condition. 156. attach;

163. win; gain the consent of. 166. caterpillars ; this word is perhaps used with a sarcastic reference to “pillars.” Shakespeare is guilty of a confusion of metaphors in the next line: we do not

" weed” or “pluck” caterpillars.

Act II. SCENE 4. 13. fear to lose ; fear of losing. 14. the other (sort dance and leap in the hope of) enjoying, etc. 17. as (being) well assured that, etc.

18. heavy ; with grief. 20. witnessing; proving, giving evidence that they are coming. 24. crossly; adversely, crossing the path of any one.



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NOTES TO MILTON'S L'ALLEGRO. 125. Hymen; the god of marriage, represented as a youth dressed in a saffron-coloured robe. 131. well-trod ; trod by good actors, who perform well. anon (Sax. on an, in one); immediately. 132. Ben Johnson, the famous writer of comedies. sock; a shoe worn by the ancient comic actors. Tragic actors wore buskins. 135. eating cares; prose writers use the ex

pression “corroding cares.” 136. lap; fold. Lydian airs; the Lydians were proverbial for their luxurious and effeminate habits, and Lydian music was of a soft and voluptuous character. 137. married ; indissolubly united. 138. An inversion for such (airs) as may pierce the meeting soul ;” i.l., the soul which comes under their influence. 139. bout ; turn, twist. 140. notes following and blended into each other like the links of a chain. 145150. Orpheus, the fabled musician who drew trees and stones by his music, having lost his wife Eurydice by death, followed her into the lower regions. By the charms of his lyre he prevailed on Pluto to release her, but only on condition that he did not look back on her till they had regained the upper world. Having in his desire to see his wife disobeyed this injunction, she was taken back into the abodes of the dead.

IL PENSEROSO. 2. The offspring of Folly alone. 3. bested; or, bestead, profit. 4. toys; playthings, trifles. 6. Occupy foolish imaginations with showy images. 10. Morpheus ; the god of dreams. 14. hit; strike, reach. 16. staid ; sober, steady. 18. Memnon; an Ethiopian prince. 19. Ethiop queen ; Cassiope, changed into a constellation by the offended Nereids. 23. Vesta; the goddess of the Roman hearth, worshipped with the sacred fire. 29, Ida; a mountain in Crete. 30. The kingdom of Saturn was overturned by Zeus, or Jupiter, who became supreme ruler of the world. 32. demure; sober, grave.

35. Cyprus ; a thin, dark, transparent texture. 39. commercing; having intercourse with, gazing on. 40. rapt; transported, in an ectasy. 42. marble ; indicating absolute stillness and repose.

43. Cast; a throw, quick motion. 48. aye ; always. 53. An allusion to Ezekiel x. hist; a word commanding silence. 56. Unless the nightingale, etc. Cynthia ; the goddess of the moon, drawn in a chariot by dragons. 60. The oak where the nightingale is accustomed to sing, and the moon to check her course in order to listen.


ESSAY VI. DERIVATIONS.-Wisdom : Sax. wis (wise), dom. (affix.) - Heart; Sax. heort.-wary; connected with “ward (Sax. weardian).–Babble ; Fr. babiller. -Suck ; Sax. sucan, Ger. saugen.-Ease ; Lat. otium, Fr. aise.Besides ; be, and side ; an example of a conjunction derived from a noun. -Naked; Sax. nacod, Ger. nackt. - Comely; Sax. cuman (to come). The idea is that of things coming together and forming a proper whole. Comp. “convenient (Lat. con, venio).--Body; Sax. bodig. —Talk; allied to “tell;" Sax. tellan. - Futile ; Lat. futilis. from fundo, fusus (poured out, spilled). — Therefore ; there, and for=for that. Sax. thaer (formerly a pronoun). -- Tongue ; Sax. tunge. -Countenance ; Lat. con, teneo (I hold together). -Cunning; Sax. cunnan (to know).-Carriage; from “ carry.” Comp. Lat. carrus-(a car).---Gather ; Sax. gadrian.-Skirt; Dan, skiort.Ure; (use) Lat. utor (I use). —Free; Sax. freoh.-- Trust; Sax. trywsian. Swed. tröst (confidence).

Notes.-Sorted ; agreed, suited.-Arts ; rules, methods.-At half-lights; indistinctly.--Set it even; make it balance. ---Round; straight forward, direct.

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