There’s No Cure In Mercury

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There’s No Cure In Mercury

 

The liquid metal mercury

has got a sordid history.

In Georgian times they put it in

their tonics as a medicine.

 

But since it’s toxic to nerve cells

it causes nasty dizzy spells

loss of sight and hearing ills.

Too much and then this poison kills!

 

Its common name is quicksilver.

A shining river, moving mirror

found in old thermometers

tooth-fillings and barometers.

 

But back in Eighteenth Century

the rich and poor thought mercury

would have a magic healing trick.

Instead it made them very sick!

Celia Berrell

 

When I was at school in the sixties, we were allowed to hold droplets of mercury in our hands, roll them across the science lab desks and be fascinated by feeling its weight and texture.  There was something mesmerising and magical about playing with this liquid metal.  No wonder it was thought to have “special properties”.  Fortunately we now know better!

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