The pump in poetry

Sept. 30, 2013

19th century epic “Don Juan” reveals possible origins of industry trade publishing

It has come to the attention of Processing editors that when Lord George Byron, the enfant terrible of 19th century British literature, called out a pump in one of his poems, he was quite likely to call out the pump maker as well.

Byron’s masterpiece, “Don Juan” is a blend of the epic and satire told in 17 cantos of complex rhyme that take more than 13 hours to recite.

In the second canto, Don Juan is involved in a shipwreck. In the 29th stanza, it reads as follows:

… and they must have gone down,

Despite of all their efforts and expedients,

But for the pumps: I’m glad to make them known

To all the brother tars who may have need hence,

For fifty tons of water were upthrown

By them per hour, and they had all been undone,

But for the maker, Mr. Mann, of London.

It’s always nice when someone shows some appreciation, isn’t it?