Ooooh, I get to cite one of my favourite little poems. I discovered this in a used chemistry textbook when I took a chemistry course via correspondence about 22 years ago.
There are two Mercury Chlorides, one is a non-soluble form called calomel that is used in medicines, and the other is a soluble, highly poisonous salt called corrosive sublimate.
Auntie Jane gave baby Nell
What she thought was calomel;
But alas, what baby ate
Was corrosive sublimate.
Not much difference, I confess
One atom (and one baby) less.
I thought this was a scream and memorized it while cooking pasta one night, running up to my husband brandishing the spork I was using to stir the spaghetti, and reciting this poem repeatedly until I got each line memorized.
On to the card from the marvelous Elemental Hexagons deck.
80 – MERCURY – MUTABILITY – QUICKSILVER – Metaphysical World: Hell
HEART – Love, deep affection, caring.
CLAW – Be careful—do not take risks.
(click to enlarge)
That’s right, be careful how you combine your atoms. Deep affection reminds me of warmth and wow, Mercury does orbit closest to the sun, it all ties in.
Here is today’s interesting fact: back in 350 B.C. Aristotle was the first person to refer to mercury as liquid silver. Therefore, the chemical symbol Hg is used for Mercury because it comes from the Latin hydrargyrum which means liquid silver. The term quicksilver comes from the Old English cwic which means living, and I suppose translates to the silver liquid as a living, moving thing.
It is a rather reddish substance, or can be if you turn baby’s extremities pink from too much calomel. The card shows the Brahms Crater on the planet Mercury, and represents sensitivity to one’s environment and hopefully balancing those atoms in chemical equations. The world can be hell without love and a careful avoidance of big, red claws.
It’s not Brahms, but let us hear a rendition of Mercury, the Winged Messenger from Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
I think that covers it all, and cwicly too.