I am the printing Press
Two Styles of it
I am the printing press, born of the mother earth. My heart is of steel, my limbs are of iron, and my fingers are of brass.
I sing the songs of the world, the orations of history, the symphonies of all time.
I am the voice of today, the herald of tomorrow. I weave into the warp of the past the woof of the future. I tell the stories of peace and war alike.
I make the human heart beat with passion of tenderness. I stir the pulse of nations, and make brave men do braver deeds, and soldiers die.
I inspire the midnight toiler, weary at his loom, to lift his head again and gaze with fearlessness into the vast beyond, seeking the consolation of a hope eternal.
When I speak a myriad people listen to my voice. The Anglo-Saxon, the Celt, the Hun, the Slav, the Hindu, all comprehend me.
I am the tireless clarion of the news. I cry your joys and sorrows every hour. I fill the dullard’s mind with thoughts of uplifting. I am light, knowledge and power. I epitomise the conquests of mind over nature.
I am the record of all things mankind has achieved. My offspring comes to you in the candle’s glow, amid the dim lamps of poverty, the splendour of riches; at sunrise, at high noon, and in the waning evening.
I am the laughter and tears of the world, and I shall never die until all things return to the immutable dust.
I am the printing-press.
(From Dixon’s Paper Circular) Ref: Dixon's paper circular and mems for printers. A trade journal?
The Other Fitte
I am the printing press, a great potential agency for good but sadly perverted to base uses. Originally the winged power that diffused ancient knowledge and modern wit, I was the scholar’s joy, the craftsman’s pride, the pioneer’s weapon, the reformer’s hope. Now I have become an unwieldy thing beyond the reach of the craftsman, my work carried on in a hot and acrid-smelling foundry of whining pulley flying belts, and clattering arms, a noisy and noisesome thing that makes conversation a shout and forbids the quiet amenities and leisurely minutiae of taste and scholarship.
I have become a mechanic aid to commerce and finance, prostituted to the production of bakers’ bags, butchers’ grease-proof, grocers’ bottle-wraps and shoemakers’ parcel-paper. The company promoter, the vendors of pills, ointments and cocoa claim me for their won.
The jazz-merchants exploit me for pleasures that make the young men forget the duties and studies, and scorn the enthusiastic hopes, that the world has always needed to keep it fresh and young.
I have become so big that rich men control me, and I am daily and hourly devoted to the dissemination of economic falsity, anti-social prejudice, political perversity, and hate between the nations.
When I was small I gave the world literature – ‘Hamlet’ ‘Paradise Lost,’ ‘The Spectator,’ now that I am bloated I afflict the public with the Daily Yell and the sloppy spawn of the bounders and boomsters of the fiction market.
Before I fell from grace I was used, even in remote provinces to beget books of verses, sermons, chronicles, or were it only the chap books that delighted the commonalty. Now the provincial printer sends out a traveller to bring him orders for manilla tags, envelopes printed on the flat, gum labels, yea, cardboard boxes, upon which my types are bashed and ground by replicas of tens of thousands at a run. For I have become a mechanic process pursued by mechanics for the profit of profiteers.
In the golden days of my youth the Elzevirs, Aldus Manutius and William Caxton used me to transmit the ancient learning, in which they were scholars and translators as well as being great typographers. The modern controller of me is a print merchant employing machine-men who do not even know how to place a page upon the paper – whose margins are always wrong.
For the trail of commerce is over me, and I am no longer an art of which the requisites are skill, taste and a tincture of letters, but a factory process in which the requisites are money and bagmen to scour the country for little jobs.
Yet am I still the printing press, capable of diffusing new knowledge that is good for the world, new hopes, new desires, new and boundless ambitions whose fulfilment would transform the face of the earth and the lives and personalities of all the men and women who live upon it. This is what the mighty printing press might be and might do if those who need me most and use me least would press me into their service also.
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