« ForrigeFortsett »
expectation has been realized. The quality is much better to-day than it was two years ago, and it now takes a very high rank among gravitation supplies from uninhabited mountain districts. At the same time the value of sand filtration has been demonstrated very clearly and decisively, especially in regard to action upon lead. While the unfiltered water does, undoubtedly, act upon new lead, the action of filtered water on lead, even upon new lead, is so very slight as to be quite unimportant from a sanitary point of view.
Let me endeavour to state briefly what the citizens of Liverpool have acquired in bringing to a successful issue this Vyrnwy water undertaking. In the first place, they have acquired the absolute and undisputed right to collect and use all the water that can be obtained from an area of 23,500 acres of magnificent watershed, subject to the delivery of compensation water to the river below in the manner provided by the Act of Parliament. Most of this watershed has been purchased by the Corporation, and is their own property, and over the portion not purchased they have acquired rights by which the water courses are protected against pollution and diversion.
Secondly, they have the full and sole possession of the lake itself, capable of supplying Liverpool with forty million gallons of water per day, and capable of giving that large volume for two hundred and fifty days, as well as compensation water to the river, if not a drop of rain were to fall during that period. Before, however, this quantity can be delivered two tunnels, having a total length of 28 miles, will have to be constructed, so as to bring into the lake two streams which now flow into the river below the dam.
Thirdly, they have a line of pipes from the Hirnant tunnel to Liverpool capable of delivering from thirteen to fifteen million gallons of water per day, being equal to one-third of the quantity which the lake can supply. If more water is wanted than this single line is capable of delivering, a new line of pipes, about 70 miles in length, must be laid from the lake to Liverpool, but the tunnels are large enough to carry the full quantity of forty millions per day.
I sometimes hear people talk about an unlimited supply of water being now available from Lake Vyrnwy. To prevent misunderstanding and disappointment, I will explain exactly what the position is. On the completion of the tunnel linings at Oswestry, and after the construction of additional filtering beds at Llanforda, the Corporation will be in a position to bring fourteen million gallons per day from Lake Vyrnwy. The total quantity then available, including the supply from Rivington and the wells, will be about thirty millions per day, and, without the wells, about twenty-five million gallons per day. The present consumption, during the summer months, is fully twenty-five million gallons per day.
If there are any of my hearers who are mere matter-offact ratepayers, and who are not too scientific, or literary, or philosophical, to care about financial considerations, they may desire to know what has been the cost of the works which I have been describing. The total expenditure at the end of the last year was £2,150,590.
(Mr. Parry here exhibited and explained about forty slides representing the works during construction, and the lake as completed.)
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF ENGLISH VERSE,
BY JOHN LEE, B.A. THERE is no greater fallacy than that which assigns wisdom to seriousness; that which gives to the sober, blinking owl, the characteristic of deep thought. Everyone who chooses to make merry is, in this age of introspection, liable to be regarded as a fool. If we do not array Sir Folly in a cap and bells, it is because, in our condition of inevitable pessimism, such appendages are wholly unnecessary. His speech bewrayeth him; he is happy; he smiles; he is a fool.
Hence this venturesome paper, which is not concerned with the secret of Hegel, nor with the theory of molecules, is read to you on the first of April. If the paper itself be not on the side of folly, at least the date of its delivery is. It is an April child, born as the hymns say, in due season. They were wiser in the middle ages when they set apart one day in the year as a day of prayer for All Fools. In an era of Catholic Renaissance, we still pray for All Souls on the first of November, but the Oxford movement did not stoop to folly, and it failed to revive the prayers of the church for All Fools. Consequently England, instead of reserving the day for particular ecclesiastical exercises, reserves it for particular laughter.
The grass of Parnassus, which grows, as Mr. Andrew Lang has told us, around the base of Mount Helicon, seems to have gained in growth a sombre brown shade. It has lost its bright and cheering green. In other words, minor poetry of to-day is inevitably sad. It has caught the prevailing epidemic of literature, and, weakling as it is, has not been able to free itself from the fangs of the disease. That is the curious feature of English pessimism. It does not manifest itself in one festering sore, by giving us an English Schopenhauer, or an Irish (shall I say Scotch ?) Hartmann to prove that suicide is the only answer to life's riddle-to give it up. Rather it lurks in secret corners, in hidden veins of the whole corpus of poetry.
Off hand we are inclined to put it down to the Puritan element. We are tempted to say that the party which smashed the stained glass windows of our cathedrals also smashed the stained glass windows of English poetry, and left it a plain white-washed barn, with Milton at the door, and Isaac Watts to sing the last hymn. But such impulsive judgments, like all other literary judgments, are nearly always wrong. Chaucer himself, at a much earlier period, felt the melancholy gladness of poetry, for he says to an afflicted reader,
Thou go'st to thy house anon,
English verse therefore is most ascetic. It is so sublime as to be almost ridiculous. Of all the asceticisms, from Heine's monk who shuddered when he heard the nightingale lest it should be a siren-song to lure him to his doom, so sweet and so pleasing were its notes, down to Mr. Ruskin's threefold division of asceticism into religious, military, and monetary, none is so strangely morbid as literary asceticism. The poets seem to shudder on the brink of cheerfulness, and fear to launch away. They
retail laughter in green cut-glass bottles, “Sold only as the law directs-not on Sundays." Even the critics, our rulers, look askance at light
The proverb we learned at school was, “Live so as to be missed,”—now it has become, “Live so as to be criticized—favourably.” Critics too frequently resemble the doctors who examine candidates for life insurances. Those whom they condemn, mostly live to prove the folly of the condemnation.
I remember that many years ago, the vision of a bright-cheeked, auburn-haired damsel tempted me to write a sonnet. I had longed for the brush of Titian and Coreggio to put her sweet face on canvas. It was a vain longing, and I fell back on the sonnet. The sonnet, like the poor, is always with us. My sonnet was indisputably poor.
In our youth we despise four-line common metres, probably from a compulsory acquaintance with Isaac Watts. Nothing but ballades, villanelles, sonnets, poetic dramas (invariably tragedies) and epics are worthy of our itching pen. Accordingly I wrote her a sonnet. It began, as an imitation of minor poets must begin
“Dear heart! I suffer silently my doom,
And feel the flow of love's encircling wave
Surround my soul, till in the lethal grave
I wander spiritlike around my tomb.”— There were nine other lines, in which this cheerful optimism was delightfully sustained. She did not return the poem,-it was, in fact, the first poem from my pen which reached a bourn from which literary travellers do not return, but in her kindly acknowledgment she said that, if I wished to write verse upon the subject of love, I should, at least, attempt to be serious about it.