Pandemic poetry 3: “The Influenza”, 1890

Winston Churchill in 1895

The Influenza (excerpt)

Yet Father Neptune strove right well
To moderate this plague of Hell,
And thwart it in its course;
And though it passed the streak of brine [the English Channel]
And penetrated this thin line,
It came with broken force.
For though it ravaged far and wide
Both village, town and countryside,
Its power to kill was o’er;
And with the favouring winds of Spring
(Blest is the time of which I sing)
It left our native shore.

    — by Winston Churchill, aged 15, affected by the pandemic known then as the Russian Flu in 1890