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The Temple of Nature, Edited by Martin Priestman
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ORIGIN OF SOCIETY.

 

CANTO I.

 

PRODUCTION OF LIFE.*

 


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CONTENTS.

I. Subject proposed. Life, Love, and Sympathy 1. Four past Ages, a fifth beginning 9. Invocation to Love 15. II. Bowers of Eden, Adam and Eve 33. Temple of Nature 65. Time chained by Sculpture 75. Proteus bound by Menelaus 83. Bowers of Pleasure 89. School of Venus 97. Court of Pain 105. Den of Oblivion 113. Muse of Melancholy 121. Cave of Trophonius 125. Shrine of Nature 129. Eleusinian Mysteries 137. III. Morning 155. Procession of Virgins 159. Address to the Priestess 167. Descent of Orpheus into Hell 185. IV. Urania 205. GOD the First Cause 223. Life began beneath the Sea 233. Repulsion, Attraction, Contraction, Life 235. Spontaneous Production of Minute Animals 247. Irritation, Appetency 251. Life enlarges the Earth 265. Sensation, Volition, Association 269. Scene in the Microscope; Mucor, Monas, Vibrio, Vorticella, Proteus, Mite 281. V. Vegetables and Animals improve by Reproduction 295. Have all arisen from Microscopic Animalcules 303. Rocks of Shell and Coral 315. Islands and Continents raised by Earthquakes 321. Emigration of Animals from the Sea 327. Trapa 335. Tadpole, Musquito 343. Diodon, Lizard, Beaver, Lamprey, Remora, Whale 351. Venus rising from the Sea, emblem of Organic Nature 371. All animals are first Aquatic 385. Fetus in the Womb 389. Animals from the Mud of the Nile 401. The Hierophant and Muse 421-450.


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CANTO I.

PRODUCTION OF LIFE.

       I. BY firm immutable immortal laws*
Impress'd on Nature by the GREAT FIRST CAUSE,
Say, MUSE! how rose from elemental strife
Organic forms, and kindled into life;
How Love and Sympathy with potent charm
Warm the cold heart, the lifted hand disarm;
Allure with pleasures, and alarm with pains,
And bind Society in golden chains.

       Four past eventful Ages then recite,*
And give the fifth, new-born of Time, to light;                    10
The silken tissue of their joys disclose,
Swell with deep chords the murmur of their woes;

 
p. 4 Their laws, their labours, and their loves proclaim,
And chant their virtues to the trump of Fame.

       I
MMORTAL LOVE! who ere the morn of Time,*
On wings outstretch'd, o'er Chaos hung sublime;
Warm'd into life the bursting egg of Night,
And gave young Nature to admiring Light!—
Y
OU! whose wide arms, in soft embraces hurl'd*
Round the vast frame, connect the whirling world!                    20
Whether immers'd in day, the Sun your throne,*
You gird the planets in your silver zone;
Or warm, descending on ethereal wing,
The Earth's cold bosom with the beams of spring;
Press drop to drop, to atom atom bind,
Link sex to sex, or rivet mind to mind;
Attend my song!—With rosy lips rehearse,
And with your polish'd arrows write my verse!—
So shall my lines soft-rolling eyes engage,*
And snow-white fingers turn the volant page;                    30
 
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The smiles of Beauty all my toils repay,
And youths and virgins chant the living lay.

       II. WHERE EDEN's sacred bowers triumphant sprung,*
By angels guarded, and by prophets sung,
Wav'd o'er the east in purple pride unfurl'd,
And rock'd the golden cradle of the World;*

        Cradle of the World, 1. 36. The nations, which possess Europe and a part of Asia and of Africa, appear to have descended from one family; and to have had their origin near the banks of the Mediterranean, as probably in Syria, the site of Paradise, according to the Mosaic history. This seems highly probable from the similarity of the structure of the languages of these nations, and from their early possession of similar religions, customs, and arts, as well as from the most ancient histories extant. The two former of these may be collected from Lord Monboddo's learned work on the Origin of Language, and from Mr. Bryant's curious account of Ancient Mythology.
          The use of iron tools, of the bow and arrow, of earthen vessels to boil water in, of wheels for carriages, and the arts of cultivating wheat, of coagulating milk for cheese, and of spinning vegetable fibres for clothing, have been known in all European countries, as long as their histories have existed; besides the similarity of the texture of their languages, and of many words in them; thus the word sack is said to mean a bag, in all of them, as σαχχον in Greek, saccus in Latin, sacco in Italian, sac in French, and sack in English and German.
          Other families of mankind, nevertheless, appear to have arisen [cont. below]

 
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Four sparkling currents lav'd with wandering tides*
Their velvet avenues, and flowery sides;
On sun-bright lawns unclad the Graces stray'd,
And guiltless Cupids haunted every glade;                    40
Till the fair Bride, forbidden shades among,
Heard unalarm'd the Tempter's serpent-tongue;
Eyed the sweet fruit, the mandate disobey'd,
And her fond Lord with sweeter smiles betray'd.
Conscious awhile with throbbing heart he strove,
Spread his wide arms, and barter'd life for love!—
Now rocks on rocks, in savage grandeur roll'd,*
Steep above steep, the blasted plains infold;
The incumbent crags eternal tempest shrouds,
And livid light'nings cleave the lambent clouds;                    50

in other parts of the habitable earth, as the language of the Chinese is said not to resemble those of this part of the world in any respect. And the inhabitants of the islands of the South-Sea had neither the use of iron tools, nor of the bow, nor of wheels, nor of spinning, nor had learned to coagulate milk, or to boil water, though the domestication of fire seems to have been the first great discovery that distinguished mankind from the bestial inhabitants of the forest.

 
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Round the firm base loud-howling whirlwinds blow,
And sands in burning eddies dance below.

       Hence ye profane!—the warring winds exclude*
Unhallow'd throngs, that press with footstep rude;
But court the Muse's train with milder skies,
And call with softer voice the good and wise.
—Charm'd at her touch the opening wall divides,*
And rocks of crystal form the polish'd sides;
Through the bright arch the Loves and Graces tread,
Innocuous thunders murmuring o'er their head;                    60
Pair after pair, and tittering, as they pass,
View their fair features in the walls of glass;
Leave with impatient step the circling bourn,
And hear behind the closing rocks return.

       HERE, high in air, unconscious of the storm,*
Thy temple, NATURE, rears its mystic form;
From earth to heav'n, unwrought by mortal toil,
Towers the vast fabric on the desert soil;

 
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O'er many a league the ponderous domes extend,*
And deep in earth the ribbed vaults descend;                    70
A thousand jasper steps with circling sweep
Lead the slow votary up the winding steep;
Ten thousand piers, now join'd and now aloof,
Bear on their branching arms the fretted roof.

       Unnumber'd ailes connect unnumber'd halls,
And sacred symbols crowd the pictur'd walls;*
With pencil rude forgotten days design,
And arts, or empires, live in every line.

        Pictur'd walls, 1. 76. The application of mankind, in the early ages of society, to the imitative arts of painting, carving, statuary, and the casting of figures in metals, seems to have preceded the discovery of letters; and to have been used as a written language to convey intelligence to their distant friends, or to transmit to posterity the history of themselves, or of their discoveries. Hence the origin of the hieroglyphic figures which crowded the walls of the temples of antiquity; many of which may be seen in the tablet of Isis in the works of Montfaucon; and some of them are still used in the sciences of chemistry and astronomy, as the characters for the metals and planets, and the figures of animals on the celestial globe.

 
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While chain'd reluctant on the marble ground,*
Indignant TIME reclines, by Sculpture bound;                    80
And sternly bending o'er a scroll unroll'd,
Inscribes the future with his style of gold.
So erst, when PROTEUS on the briny shore,*
New forms assum'd of eagle, pard, or boar;
The wise ATRIDES bound in sea-weed thongs
The changeful god amid his scaly throngs;
Till in deep tones his opening lips at last
Reluctant told the future and the past.

     HERE o'er piazza'd courts, and long arcades,*
The bowers of PLEASURE root their waving shades;                    90
Shed o'er the pansied moss a checker'd gloom,
Bend with new fruits, with flow'rs successive bloom.

        So erst, when Proteus, l. 83. It seems probable that Proteus was the name of a hieroglyphic figure representing Time; whose form was perpetually changing, and who could discover the past events of the world, and predict the future. Herodotus does not doubt but that Proteus was an Egyptian king or deity; and Orpheus calls him the principle of all things, and the most ancient of the gods; and adds, that he keeps the keys of Nature, Danet's Dict. all which might well accord with a figure representing Time.

 
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Pleas’d, their light limbs on beds of roses press’d,
In slight undress recumbent Beauties rest;
On tiptoe steps surrounding Graces move,
And gay Desires expand their wings above.

     HERE young DIONE arms her quiver'd Loves,
Schools her bright Nymphs, and practises her doves;
Calls round her laughing eyes in playful turns,
The glance that lightens, and the smile that burns;                    100
Her dimpling cheeks with transient blushes dies,
Heaves her white bosom with seductive sighs;
Or moulds with rosy lips the magic words,
That bind the heart in adamantine cords.

     Behind in twilight gloom with scowling mien*
The demon PAIN, convokes his court unseen;
Whips, fetters, flames, pourtray'd on sculptur'd stone,
In dread festoons, adorn his ebon throne;
Each side a cohort of diseases stands,
And shudd'ring Fever leads the ghastly bands;                    110

 
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O'er all Despair expands his raven wings,
And guilt-stain'd Conscience darts a thousand stings.

     Deep-whelm'd beneath, in vast sepulchral caves,*
OBLIVION dwells amid unlabell'd graves;
The storied tomb, the laurell'd bust o'erturns,
And shakes their ashes from the mould'ring urns.—
No vernal zephyr breathes, no sunbeams cheer,
Nor song, nor simper, ever enters here;
O'er the green floor, and round the dew-damp wall,
The slimy snail, and bloated lizard crawl;                    120
While on white heaps of intermingled bones
The muse of MELANCHOLY sits and moans;
Showers her cold tears o'er Beauty's early wreck,
Spreads her pale arms, and bends her marble neck.

     So in rude rocks, beside the Ægean wave,*
TROPHONIUS scoop'd his sorrow-sacred cave;

        Trophonius scoop'd, 1. 126. Plutarch mentions, that prophecies of evil events were uttered from the cave of Trophonius; but the allegorical story, that whoever entered this cavern were never again seen to [cont. below]

 
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Unbarr'd to pilgrim feet the brazen door,
And the sad sage returning smil'd no more.

     SHRIN’D in the midst majestic NATURE stands,*
Extends o'er earth and sea her hundred hands;                    130
Tower upon tower her beamy forehead crests,
And births unnumber'd milk her hundred breasts;
Drawn round her brows a lucid veil depends,
O'er her fine waist the purfled woof descends;
Her stately limbs the gather'd folds surround,
And spread their golden selvage on the ground.

     From this first altar fam'd ELEUSIS stole*
Her secret symbols and her mystic scroll;

smile, seems to have been designed to warn the contemplative from considering too much the dark side of nature. Thus an ancient poet is said to have written a poem on the miseries of the world, and to have thence become so unhappy as to destroy himself. When we reflect on the perpetual destruction of organic life, we should also recollect, that it is perpetually renewed in other forms by the same materials, and thus the sum total of the happiness of the world continues undiminished; and that a philosopher may thus smile again on turning his eyes from the coffins of nature to her cradles.
        Fam'd Eleusis stole, 1. 137. The Eleusinian mysteries were invented [cont. below]

 
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With pious fraud in after ages rear'd*
Her gorgeous temple, and the gods rever'd.                    140
—First in dim pomp before the astonish'd throng,*
Silence, and Night, and Chaos, stalk'd along;
Dread scenes of Death, in nodding sables dress'd,
Froze the broad eye, and thrill'd the unbreathing breast.
Then the young Spring, with winged Zephyr, leads
The queen of Beauty to the blossom'd meads;

in Egypt, and afterwards transferred into Greece along with most of the other early arts and religions of Europe. They seem to have consisted of scenical representations of the philosophy and religion of those times, which had previously been painted in hieroglyphic figures to perpetuate them before the discovery of letters; and are well explained in Dr. Warburton's divine legation of Moses; who believes with great probability, that Virgil in the sixth book of the Æneid has described a part of these mysteries in his account of the Elysian fields.
        In the first part of this scenery was represented Death, and the destruction of all things; as mentioned in the note on the Portland Vase in the Botanic Garden. Next the marriage of Cupid and Psyche seems to have shown the reproduction of living nature; and afterwards the procession of torches, which is said to have constituted a part of the mysteries, probably signified the return of light, and the resuscitation of all things.
        Lastly, the histories of illustrious persons of the early ages seem to have been enacted; who were first represented by hieroglyphic figures, and afterwards became the gods and goddesses of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Might not such a dignified pantomime be contrived, even in this age, as might strike the spectators with awe, and at the same time explain many philosophical truths by adapted imagery, and thus both amuse and instruct?

 
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Charm'd in her train admiring Hymen moves,
And tiptoe Graces hand in hand with Loves.
Next, while on pausing step the masked mimes
Enact the triumphs of forgotten times,                    150
Conceal from vulgar throngs the mystic truth,
Or charm with Wisdom's lore the initiate youth;
Each shifting scene, some patriot hero trod,
Some sainted beauty, or some saviour god.

     III. NOW rose in purple pomp the breezy dawn,*
And crimson dew-drops trembled on the lawn;
Blaz'd high in air the temple's golden vanes,
And dancing shadows veer'd upon the plains.—
Long trains of virgins from the sacred grove,
Pair after pair, in bright procession move,                    160
With flower-fill'd baskets round the altar throng,
Or swing their censers, as they wind along.
The fair URANIA leads the blushing bands,
Presents their offerings with unsullied hands;

 
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Pleas'd to their dazzled eyes in part unshrouds
The goddess-form;—the rest is hid in clouds.

       "PRIESTESS OF NATURE! while with pious awe*
Thy votary bends, the mystic veil withdraw;
Charm after charm, succession bright, display,
And give the GODDESS to adoring day!                    170
So kneeling realms shall own the POWER divine,
And heaven and earth pour incense on her shrine.

       "Oh grant the MUSE with pausing step to press*
Each sun-bright avenue, and green recess;
Led by thy hand survey the trophied walls,
The statued galleries, and the pictur'd halls;

        The statued galleries, 1. 176. The art of painting has appeared in the early state of all societies before the invention of the alphabet. Thus when the Spanish adventurers, under Cortez, invaded America, intelligence of their debarkation and movements was daily transmitted to Montezuma, by drawings, which corresponded with the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The antiquity of statuary appears from the Memnon and sphinxes of Egypt; that of casting figures in metals from the golden calf of Aaron; and that of carving in wood from the idols or household gods, which Rachel stole from her father [cont. below]

 
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Scan the proud pyramid, and arch sublime,
Earth-canker'd urn, medallion green with time,
Stern busts of Gods, with helmed heroes mix'd,
And Beauty's radiant forms, that smile betwixt.                    180

       "Waked by thy voice, transmuted by thy wand,*
Their lips shall open, and their arms expand;
The love-lost lady, and the warrior slain,
Leap from their tombs, and sigh or fight again.
—So when ill-fated ORPHEUS tuned to woe
His potent lyre, and sought the realms below;
Charm'd into life unreal forms respir'd,
And list'ning shades the dulcet notes admir'd.—

     "LOVE led the Sage through Death's tremendous porch,*
Cheer'd with his smile, and lighted with his torch;—                    190

Laban, and hid beneath her garments as she sat upon the straw. Gen. c. xxxi. v. 34.
        Love led the Sage, 1. 189. This description is taken from the figures on the Barbarini, or Portland Vase, where Eros, or Divine Love, with his torch precedes the manes through the gates of Death, and reverting his smiling countenance invites him into the Elysian fields.

 
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Hell's triple Dog his playful jaws expands,
Fawns round the GOD, and licks his baby hands;
In wondering groups the shadowy nations throng,
And sigh or simper, as he steps along;
Sad swains, and nymphs forlorn, on Lethe's brink,
Hug their past sorrows, and refuse to drink;
Night's dazzled Empress feels the golden flame
Play round her breast, and melt her frozen frame;
Charms with soft words, and sooths with amorous wiles,
Her iron-hearted Lord,—and PLUTO smiles.—                    200
His trembling Bride the Bard triumphant led
From the pale mansions of the astonish'd dead;
Gave the fair phantom to admiring light,—
Ah, soon again to tread irremeable night!"

       IV. HER snow-white arm, indulgent to my song,*
Waves the fair Hierophant, and moves along.—

        Fawns round the God, 1. 192. This idea is copied from a painting of the descent of Orpheus, by a celebrated Parisian artist.

 
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High plumes, that bending shade her amber hair,
Nod, as she steps, their silver leaves in air;
Bright chains of pearl, with golden buckles brac'd,
Clasp her white neck, and zone her slender waist;                    210
Thin folds of silk in soft meanders wind
Down her fine form, and undulate behind;
The purple border, on the pavement roll'd,
Swells in the gale, and spreads its fringe of gold.

       "FIRST, if you can, celestial Guide! disclose*
From what fair fountain mortal life arose,
Whence the fine nerve to move and feel assign'd,
Contractile fibre, and ethereal mind:

       "How Love and Sympathy the bosom warm,*
Allure with pleasure, and with pain alarm,                    220
With soft affections weave the social plan,
And charm the listening Savage into Man."

 
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       "GOD THE FIRST CAUSE!—in this terrene abode*
Young Nature lisps, she is the child of GOD.*
From embryon births her changeful forms improve,
Grow, as they live, and strengthen as they move.

       "Ere Time began, from flaming Chaos hurl'd*
Rose the bright spheres, which form the circling world;

        God the First Cause, 1. 223.

A Jove principium, musæ! Jovis omnia plena. VIRGIL.
In him we live, and move, and have our being. ST. PAUL.

        Young Nature lisps, 1. 224. The perpetual production and increase of the strata of limestone from the shells of aquatic animals; and of all those incumbent on them from the recrements of vegetables and of terrestrial animals, are now well understood from our improved knowledge of geology; and show, that parts of the globe are gradually enlarging, and consequently that it is young; as the fluid parts are not yet all converted into solid ones. Add to this, that some parts of the earth and its inhabitants appear younger than others; thus the greater height of the mountains of America seems to show that continent to be less ancient than Europe, Asia, and Africa; as their summits have been less washed away, and the wild animals of America, as the tigers and crocodiles, are said to be less perfect in respect to their size and strength; which would show them to be still in a state of infancy, or of progressive improvement. Lastly, the progress of mankind in arts and sciences, which continues slowly to extend, and to increase, seems to evince the youth of human society; whilst the unchanging state of the societies of some insects, as of the bee, wasp, and ant, which is usually ascribed to instinct, seems to evince the longer existence, and greater maturity of those societies. The juvenility of the earth shows, that it has had a [cont. below]
 
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Earths from each sun with quick explosions burst,*
And second planets issued from the first.                    230
Then, whilst the sea at their coeval birth,*
Surge over surge, involv'd the shoreless earth;
Nurs'd by warm sun-beams in primeval caves
Organic Life began beneath the waves.

       "First HEAT from chemic dissolution springs,*
And gives to matter its eccentric wings;

beginning or birth, and is a strong natural argument evincing the existence of a cause of its production, that is of the Deity.
        Earths from each sun, 1. 229. See Botan. Garden, Vol. I. Cant. I. 1. 107.
        First Heat from chemic, 1. 235. The matter of heat is an ethereal fluid, in which all things are immersed, and which constitutes the general power of repulsion; as appears in explosions which are produced by the sudden evolution of combined heat, and by the expansion of all bodies by the slower diffusion of it in its uncombined state. Without heat all the matter of the world would be condensed into a point by the power of attraction; and neither fluidity nor life could exist. There are also particular powers of repulsion, as those of magnetism and electricity, and of chemistry, such as oil and water; which last may be as numerous as the particular attractions which constitute chemical affinities; and may both of them exist as atmospheres round the individual particles of matter; see Botanic Garden, Vol. I. and Additional Note VII. on elementary heat.

 
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With Strong REPULSION parts the exploding mass,
Melts into lymph, or kindles into gas.
ATTRACTION next, as earth or air subsides,*
The ponderous atoms from the light divides,                    240
Approaching parts with quick embrace combines,
Swells into spheres, and lengthens into lines.*
Last, as fine goads the gluten-threads excite,
Cords grapple cords, and webs with webs unite;
And quick CONTRACTION with ethereal flame*
Lights into life the fibre-woven frame.—

        Attraction next, 1. 239. The power of attraction may be divided into general attraction, which is called gravity; and into particular attraction, which is termed chemical affinity. As nothing can act where it does not exist, the power of gravity must be conceived as extending from the sun to the planets, occupying that immense space; and may therefore be considered as an ethereal fluid, though not cognizable by our senses like heat, light, and electricity.
         Particular attraction, or chemical affinity, must likewise occupy the spaces between the particles of matter which they cause to approach each other. The power of gravity may therefore be called the general attractive ether, and the matter of heat may be called the general repulsive ether; which constitute the two great agents in the changes of inanimate matter.
        And quick Contraction, l. 245. The power of contraction, which exists in organized bodies, and distinguishes life from inanimation, appears to consist of an ethereal fluid which resides in the brain and nerves of living bodies, and is expended in the act of shortening [cont. below]

 
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Hence without parent by spontaneous birth*
Rise the first specks of animated earth;
From Nature's womb the plant or insect swims,
And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs.                    250

       "IN earth, sea, air, around, below, above,*
Life's subtle woof in Nature's loom is wove;

their fibres. The attractive and repulsive ethers require only the vicinity of bodies for the exertion of their activity, but the contractive ether requires at first the contact of a goad or stimulus, which appears to draw it off from the contracting fibre, and to excite the sensorial power of irritation. These contractions of animal fibres are afterwards excited or repeated by the sensorial powers of sensation, volition, or association, as explained at large in Zoonomia, Vol. I.
         There seems nothing more wonderful in the ether of contraction producing the shortening of a fibre, than in the ether of attraction causing two bodies to approach each other. The former indeed seems in some measure to resemble the latter, as it probably occasions the minute particles of the fibre to approach into absolute or adhesive contact, by withdrawing from them their repulsive atmospheres; whereas the latter seems only to cause particles of matter to approach into what is popularly called contact, like the particles of fluids; but which are only in the vicinity of each other, and still retain their repulsive atmospheres, as may be seen in riding through shallow water by the number of minute globules of it thrown up by the horses feet, which roll far on its surface; and by the difficulty with which small globules of mercury poured on the surface of a quantity of it can be made to unite with it.
        Spontaneous birth, l. 247. See Additional Note I.

 
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Points glued to points a living line extends,
Touch'd by some goad approach the bending ends;
Rings join to rings, and irritated tubes
Clasp with young lips the nutrient globes or cubes;
And urged by appetencies new select,
Imbibe, retain, digest, secrete, eject.
In branching cones the living web expands,*
Lymphatic ducts, and convoluted glands;                    260
Aortal tubes propel the nascent blood,
And lengthening veins absorb the refluent flood;
Leaves, lungs, and gills, the vital ether breathe*
On earth's green surface, or the waves beneath.*

        In branching cones, 1. 259. The whole branch of an artery or vein may be considered as a cone, though each distinct division of it is a cylinder. It is probable that the amount of the areas of all the small branches from one trunk may equal that of the trunk, otherwise the velocity of the blood would be greater in some parts than in others, which probably only exists when a part is compressed or inflamed.
        Absorb the refluent flood, 1. 262. The force of the arterial impulse appears to cease, after having propelled the blood through the capillary vessels; whence the venous circulation is owing to the extremities of the veins absorbing the blood, as those of the lymphatics absorb the fluids. The great force of absorption is well elucidated by Dr. Hales's experiment on the rise of the sap-juice in a vinestump; see Zoonomia, Vol. I. Sect. XXIII.

 
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So Life's first powers arrest the winds and floods,
To bones convert them, or to shells, or woods;
Stretch the vast beds of argil, lime, and sand,
And from diminish'd oceans form the land!

       "Next the long nerves unite their silver train,*
And young SENSATION permeates the brain;                    270
Through each new sense the keen emotions dart,
Flush the young cheek, and swell the throbbing heart.

        And from diminish'd oceans, 1. 268. The increase of the solid parts of the globe by the recrements of organic bodies, as limestone rocks from shells and bones, and the beds of clay, marl, coals, from decomposed woods, is now well known to those who have attended to modern geology; and Dr. Halley, and others, have endeavoured to show, with great probability, that the ocean has decreased in quantity during the short time which human history has existed. Whence it appears, that the exertions of vegetable and animal life convert the fluid parts of the globe into solid ones; which is probably effected by combining the matter of heat with the other elements, instead of suffering it to remain simply diffused amongst them, which is a curious conjecture, and deserves further investigation.
        And young Sensation, l. 270. Both sensation and volition consist in an affection of the central part of the sensorium, or of the whole of it; and hence cannot exist till the nerves are united in the brain. The motions of a limb of any animal cut from the body, are therefore owing to irritation, not to sensation or to volition. For the definitions of irritation, sensation, volition, and association, see Additional Note II.

 
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From pain and pleasure quick VOLITIONS rise,
Lift the strong arm, or point the inquiring eyes;
With Reason's light bewilder'd Man direct,
And right and wrong with balance nice detect.
Last in thick swarms ASSOCIATIONS spring,
Thoughts join to thoughts, to motions motions cling;
Whence in long trains of catenation flow
Imagined joy, and voluntary woe.                    280

       "So, view'd through crystal spheres in drops saline,*
Quick-shooting salts in chemic forms combine;
Or Mucor-stems, a vegetative tribe,
Spread their fine roots, the tremulous wave imbibe.
Next to our wondering eyes the focus brings
Self-moving lines, and animated rings;

        Or Mucor-stems, l. 283. Mucor or mould in its early state is properly a microscopic vegetable, and is spontaneously produced on the scum of all decomposing organic matter. The Monas is a moving speck, the Vibrio an undulating wire, the Proteus perpetually changes its shape, and the Vorticella has wheels about its mouth, with which it makes an eddy, and is supposed thus to draw into its throat invisible animalcules. These names are from Linneus and Muller; see Appendix to Additional Note I.

 
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First Monas moves, an unconnected point,
Plays round the drop without a limb or joint;
Then Vibrio waves, with capillary eels,
And Vorticella whirls her living wheels;                    290
While insect Proteus sports with changeful form
Through the bright tide, a globe, a cube, a worm.
Last o'er the field the Mite enormous swims,
Swells his red heart, and writhes his giant limbs.

       V. "ORGANIC LIFE beneath the shoreless waves*
Was born and nurs'd in Ocean's pearly caves;

        Beneath the shoreless waves, l. 295. The earth was originally covered with water, as appears from some of its highest mountains, consisting of shells cemented together by a solution of part of them, as the limestone rocks of the Alps; Ferber's Travels. It must be therefore concluded, that animal life began beneath the sea.
        Nor is this unanalogous to what still occurs, as all quadrupeds and mankind in their embryon state are aquatic animals; and thus may be said to resemble gnats and frogs. The fetus in the uterus has an organ called the placenta, the fine extremities of the vessels of which permeate the arteries of the uterus, and the blood of the fetus becomes thus oxygenated from the passing stream of the maternal arterial blood; exactly as is done by the gills of fish from the stream of water, which they occasion to pass through them.
        But the chicken in the egg possesses a kind of aerial respiration, since the extremities of its placental vessels terminate on a membra- [cont. below]

 
p. 27

First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,*
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
These, as successive generations bloom,
New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume;                    300
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.

       "Thus the tall Oak, the giant of the wood,*
Which bears Britannia's thunders on the flood;
The Whale, unmeasured monster of the main,
The lordly Lion, monarch of the plain,
The Eagle soaring in the realms of air,
Whose eye undazzled drinks the solar glare,

nous bag, which contains air, at the broad end of the egg; and in this the chick in the egg differs from the fetus in the womb, as there is in the egg no circulating maternal blood for the insertion of the extremities of its respiratory vessels, and in this also I suspect that the eggs of birds differ from the spawn of fish; which latter is immersed in water, and which has probably the extremities of its respiratory organ inserted into the soft membrane which covers it, and is in contact with the water.
        First forms minute, 1. 297. See Additional Note I. on Spontaneous Vitality.

 
p. 28

Imperious man, who rules the bestial crowd,*
Of language, reason, and reflection proud,                    310
With brow erect who scorns this earthy sod,
And styles himself the image of his God;
Arose from rudiments of form and sense,
An embryon point, or microscopic ens!

       "Now in vast shoals beneath the brineless tide,*
On earth's firm crust testaceous tribes reside;
Age after age expands the peopled plain,
The tenants perish, but their cells remain;
Whence coral walls and sparry hills ascend*
From pole to pole, and round the line extend.                    320

        An embryon point, l. 314. The arguments showing that all vegetables and animals arose from such a small beginning, as a living point or living fibre, are detailed in Zoonomia, Sect. XXXIX. 4. 8. on Generation.
        Brineless tide, l. 315. As the salt of the sea has been gradually accumulating, being washed down into it from the recrements of animal and vegetable bodies, the sea must originally have been as fresh as river water; and as it is not saturated with salt, must become annually saline. The sea-water about our island contains at this time from about one twenty-eighth to one thirtieth part of sea salt, and about one eightieth of magnesian salt; Brownrigg on Salt.
        Whence coral walls, 1. 319. An account of the structure of the [cont. below]

 
p. 29

       "Next when imprison'd fires in central caves*
Burst the firm earth, and drank the headlong waves;
And, as new airs with dread explosion swell,
Form'd lava-isles, and continents of shell;
Pil'd rocks on rocks, on mountains mountains raised,
And high in heaven the first volcanoes blazed;
In countless swarms an insect-myriad moves*
From sea-fan gardens, and from coral groves;

earth is given in Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Additional Notes, XVI. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXIII. XXIV.
        Drank the headlong waves, l. 322. See Additional Note III.
        An insect-myriad moves, l. 327. After islands or continents were raised above the primeval ocean, great numbers of the most simple animals would attempt to seek food at the edges or shores of the new land, and might thence gradually become amphibious; as is now seen in the frog, who changes from an aquatic animal to an amphibious one; and in the gnat, which changes from a natant to a volant state.
        At the same time new microscopic animalcules would immediately commence wherever there was warmth and moisture, and some organic matter, that might induce putridity. Those situated on dry land, and immersed in dry air, may gradually acquire new powers to preserve their existence; and by innumerable successive reproductions for some thousands, or perhaps millions of ages, may at length have produced many of the vegetable and animal inhabitants which now people the earth.
        As innumerable shell-fish must have existed a long time beneath the ocean, before the calcareous mountains were produced and elevated; it is also probable, that many of the insect tribes, or less [cont. below]

 
p. 30

Leaves the cold caverns of the deep, and creeps
On shelving shores, or climbs on rocky steeps.                  330
As in dry air the sea-born stranger roves,
Each muscle quickens, and each sense improves;
Cold gills aquatic form respiring lungs,
And sounds aerial flow from slimy tongues.

       "So Trapa rooted in pellucid tides,*
In countless threads her breathing leaves divides,

complicate animals, existed long before the quadrupeds or more complicate ones, which in some measure accords with the theory of Linneus in respect to the vegetable world; who thinks, that all the plants now extant arose from the conjunction and reproduction of about sixty different vegetables, from which he constitutes his natural orders.
        As the blood of animals in the air becomes more oxygenated in their lungs, than that of animals in water by their gills; it becomes of a more scarlet colour, and from its greater stimulus the sensorium seems to produce quicker motions and finer sensations; and as water is a much better vehicle for vibrations or sounds than air, the fish, even when dying in pain, are mute in the atmosphere, though it is probable that in the water they may utter sounds to be heard at a considerable distance. See on this subject, Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Canto IV. 1. 176, Note.

        So Trapa rooted, l. 335. The lower leaves of this plant grow under water, and are divided into minute capillary ramifications; while the upper leaves are broad and round, and have air bladders in their footstalks to support them above the surface of the water. As the [cont. below]

 
p. 31

Waves her bright tresses in the watery mass,
And drinks with gelid gills the vital gas;
Then broader leaves in shadowy files advance,
Spread o'er the crystal flood their green expanse;                  340
And, as in air the adherent dew exhales,
Court the warm sun, and breathe ethereal gales.

       "So still the Tadpole cleaves the watery vale*
With balanc'd fins, and undulating tail;

aerial leaves of vegetables do the office of lungs, by exposing a large surface of vessels with their contained fluids to the influence of the air; so these aquatic leaves answer a similar purpose like the gills of fish, and perhaps gain from water a similar material. As the material thus necessary to life seems to be more easily acquired from air than from water, the subaquatic leaves of this plant and of sisymbrium, oenanthe, ranunculus aquatilis, water crow-foot, and some others, are cut into fine divisions to increase the surface, whilst those above water are undivided; see Botanic Garden, Vol. II. Canto IV. 1. 204, Note.
        Few of the water plants of this country are used for economical purposes, but the ranunculus fluviatilis may be worth cultivation; as on the borders of the river Avon, near Ringwood, the cottagers cut this plant every morning in boats, almost all the year round, to feed their cows, which appear in good condition, and give a due quantity of milk; see a paper from Dr. Pultney in the Transactions of the Linnean Society, Vol. V.
        So still the Tadpole, l. 343. The transformation of the tadpole from an aquatic animal into an aerial one is abundantly curious. [cont. below]

 
p. 32

New lungs and limbs proclaim his second birth,
Breathe the dry air, and bound upon the earth.
So from deep lakes the dread Musquito springs,
Drinks the soft breeze, and dries his tender wings,
In twinkling squadrons cuts his airy way,*
Dips his red trunk in blood, and man his prey.                  350

       "So still the Diodons, amphibious tribe,*
With two-fold lungs the sea or air imbibe;

When first it is hatched from the spawn by the warmth of the season, it resembles a fish; it afterwards puts forth legs, and resembles a lizard; and finally losing its tail, and acquiring lungs instead of gills, becomes an aerial quadruped.
        The rana temporaria of Linneus lives in the water in spring, and on the land in summer, and catches flies. Of the rana paradoxa the larva or tadpole is as large as the frog, and dwells in Surinam, whence the mistake of Merian and of Seba, who call it a frog fish. The esculent frog is green, with three yellow lines from the mouth to the anus; the back transversely gibbous, the hinder feet palmated; its more frequent croaking in the evenings is said to foretell rain. Linnei Syst. Nat. Art. rana.
        Linneus asserts in his introduction to the class Amphibia, that frogs are so nearly allied to lizards, lizards to serpents, and serpents to fish, that the boundaries of these orders can scarcely be ascertained.

        The dread Musquito springs, 1. 347. See Additional Note IV.
        So still the Diodons, 1. 351. See Additional Note V.

 
p. 33

Allied to fish, the lizard cleaves the flood
With one-cell'd heart, and dark frigescent blood;
Half-reasoning Beavers long-unbreathing dart
Through Erie's waves with perforated heart;
With gills and lungs respiring Lampreys steer,
Kiss the rude rocks, and suck till they adhere;
The lazy Remora's inhaling lips,
Hung on the keel, retard the struggling ships;                  360
With gills pulmonic breathes the enormous Whale,
And spouts aquatic columns to the gale;
Sports on the shining wave at noontide hours,
And shifting rainbows crest the rising showers.

       "So erst, ere rose the science to record*
In letter'd syllables the volant word;

        At noontide hours, 1. 363. The rainbows in our latitude are only seen in the mornings or evenings, when the sun is not much more than forty-two degrees high. In the more northern latitudes, where the meridian sun is not more than forty-two degrees high, they are also visible at noon.

 
p. 34

Whence chemic arts, disclosed in pictured lines,
Liv'd to mankind by hieroglyphic signs;
And clustering stars, pourtray'd on mimic spheres,
Assumed the forms of lions, bulls, and bears;                  370
—So erst, as Egypt's rude designs explain,*
Rose young DIONE from the shoreless main;*
Type of organic Nature! source of bliss!
Emerging Beauty from the vast abyss!
Sublime on Chaos borne, the Goddess stood,
And smiled enchantment on the troubled flood;

        As Egypt's rude designs, 1. 371. See Additional Note VI.
        Rose young Dione, 1. 372. The hieroglyphic figure of Venus rising from the sea supported on a shell by two tritons, as well as that of Hercules armed with a club, appear to be remains of the most remote antiquity. As the former is devoid of grace, and of the pictorial art of design, as one half of the group exactly resembles the other; and as that of Hercules is armed with a club, which was the first weapon.
         The Venus seems to have represented the beauty of organic Nature rising from the sea, and afterwards became simply an emblem of ideal beauty; while the figure of Adonis was probably designed to represent the more abstracted idea of life or animation. Some of these hieroglyphic designs seem to evince the profound investigations in science of the Egyptian philosophers, and to have outlived all written language; and still constitute the symbols, by which painters and poets give form and animation to abstracted ideas, as to those of strength and beauty in the above instances.

 
p. 35

The warring elements to peace restored,
And young Reflection wondered and adored."

       Now paused the Nymph,—The Muse responsive cries,*
Sweet admiration sparkling in her eyes,                  380
"Drawn by your pencil, by your hand unfurl'd,
Bright shines the tablet of the dawning world;
Amazed the Sea's prolific depths I view,
And VENUS rising from the waves in YOU!*

       "Still Nature’s births enclosed in egg or seed*
From the tall forest to the lowly weed,
Her beaux and beauties, butterflies and worms,
Rise from aquatic to aerial forms.
Thus in the womb the nascent infant laves*
Its natant form in the circumfluent waves;                  390
With perforated heart unbreathing swims,*
Awakes and stretches all its recent limbs;

        Awakes and stretches, 1. 392. During the first six months of gestation, the embryon probably sleeps, as it seems to have no use for [cont. below]

 
p. 36

With gills placental seeks the arterial flood,*
And drinks pure ether from its Mother's blood.
Erewhile the landed Stranger bursts his way,*
From the warm wave emerging into day;
Feels the chill blast, and piercing light, and tries
His tender lungs, and rolls his dazzled eyes;
Gives to the passing gale his curling hair,
And steps a dry inhabitant of air.                  400

       "Creative Nile, as taught in ancient song,*
So charm'd to life his animated throng;
O'er his wide realms the slow-subsiding flood
Left the rich treasures of organic mud;

voluntary power; it then seems to awake, and to stretch its limbs, and change its posture in some degree, which is termed quickening.
        With gills placental, 1. 393. The placenta adheres to any side of the uterus in natural gestation, or of any other cavity in extra-uterine gestation; the extremities of its arteries and veins probably permeate the arteries of the mother, and absorb from thence through their fine coats the oxygen of the mother's blood; hence when the placenta is withdrawn, the side of the uterus, where it adhered, bleeds; but not the extremities of its own vessels.
        His dazzled eyes, 1. 398. Though the membrana pupillaris described by modern anatomists guards the tender retina from too much light; the young infant nevertheless seems to feel the presence of it by its frequently moving its eyes, before it can distinguish common objects.

 
p. 37

While with quick growth young Vegetation yields
Her blushing orchards, and her waving fields;
Pomona's hand replenish'd Plenty's horn,
And Ceres laugh'd amid her seas of corn.—
Bird, beast, and reptile, spring from sudden birth,
Raise their new forms, half-animal, half-earth;                  410
The roaring lion shakes his tawny mane,
His struggling limbs still rooted in the plain;
With flapping wings assurgent eagles toil
To rend their talons from the adhesive soil;
The impatient serpent lifts his crested head,
And drags his train unfinish'd from the bed.—
As Warmth and Moisture blend their magic spells,*
And brood with mingling wings the slimy dells;

        As Warmth and Moisture, 1. 417.

                          In eodem corpore sæpe
Altera pars vivit; rudis est pars altera tellus.
Quippe ubi temperiem sumpsêre humorque calorque,
Concipiunt; & ab his oriuntur, cuncta duobus.
                                     OVID. MET. 1. 1. 430.

        This story from Ovid of the production of animals from the mud of the Nile seems to be of Egyptian origin, and is probably a poetical [cont. below]

 
p. 38

Contractile earths in sentient forms arrange,
And Life triumphant stays their chemic change."                  420

       Then hand in hand along the waving glades*
The virgin Sisters pass beneath the shades;
Ascend the winding steps with pausing march,
And seek the Portico's susurrant arch;*
Whose sculptur'd architrave on columns borne
Drinks the first blushes of the rising morn,
Whose fretted roof an ample shield displays,*
And guards the Beauties from meridian rays.
While on light step enamour'd Zephyr springs,*
And fans their glowing features with his wings,                  430
Imbibes the fragrance of the vernal flowers,
And speeds with kisses sweet the dancing Hours.

account of the opinions of the magi or priests of that country; showing that the simplest animations were spontaneously produced like chemical combinations, but were distinguished from the latter by their perpetual improvement by the power of reproduction, first by solitary, and then by sexual generation; whereas the products of natural chemistry are only enlarged by accretion, or purified by filtration.

 
p. 39

       Urania, leaning with unstudied grace,*
Rests her white elbow on a column's base;
Awhile reflecting takes her silent stand,
Her fair cheek press'd upon her lily hand;
Then, as awaking from ideal trance,*
On the smooth floor her pausing steps advance,
Waves high her arm, upturns her lucid eyes,
Marks the wide scenes of ocean, earth, and skies;                  440
And leads, meandering as it rolls along*
Through Nature's walks, the shining stream of Song.

     First her sweet voice in plaintive accents chains*
The Muse's ear with fascinating strains;
Reverts awhile to elemental strife,
The change of form, and brevity of life;
Then tells how potent Love with torch sublime
Relights the glimmering lamp, and conquers Time.
—The polish'd walls reflect her rosy smiles,
And sweet-ton'd echoes talk along the ailes.*                  450

END OF CANTO I.

Notes

EDITOR'S NOTE: Canto I. The poem's initially planned title, "Origin of Society," introduces the title page of each canto, and (though not included in this edition) appears on all the poem's left-hand page-headers. This serves as a forcible reminder that "The Temple of Nature"—probably intended as the subtitle—was only elevated to main-title status after the poem was set up for printing. For further discussion on this, see the note to the poem's title page.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 1. The full-stop at line 2 should be a comma, within an invocation of the poet's Muse (1-8) which announces the poem's subject-matter in accord with classical epic convention. The first couplet, which a less inverted word-order might put at the end, informs us that the Muse will describe various processes as taking place according to fixed laws of nature, giving God only the role of "first cause," in line with Darwin's residual deism. The processes listed move from the "big bang" and evolution of life described in this canto (3-4) to the formation of social values in the last (7-8), by way of the sexual and psychological themes of the second and third (5-6).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 9. These "eventful Ages" are a survival from Progress of Society's planned history of the five Ages of Hunting, Pasturage, Agriculture, Commerce and Philosophy (the "new-born" fifth age), whose extant drafts all begin with a version of 9-14. Applied to the present poem, the idea could at a stretch suggest the four ages of primeval aquatic life, emergence onto land, the dawn of sexual reproduction and the formation of human society through sympathy, with a more enlightened era free from tyranny as the hoped-for fifth. But nowhere else is this schema referred to, and it has no clear-cut correspondence to the four cantos.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 15. This address to Immortal Love conflates many different ideas. It alludes to the opening of Genesis, by way of Milton's invocation of the Holy Spirit, which "with mighty wings outspread / Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss / And mad'st it pregnant" (Paradise Lost, I, 20-22); but it also echoes the invocation to the love-goddess Venus which opens Lucretius's materialist poem De Rerum Natura (I, 1-49). For "the egg of Night" (17), see III, 178n, where Darwin quotes from Aristophanes's The Birds: "sable-winged night produced an egg, from whence sprung up like a blossom Eros, the lovely, the desirable, with glossy golden wings." Darwin distinguishes this "celestial" creative Eros (who reappears as the god of "Sentimental Love" in Canto III) from the "terrestrial" god of sexual love Cupid (the dominant deity of Canto II, on Reproduction). Early drafts make this identification clearer by addressing the present passage to "Celestial Love." Darwin had already explored these ideas in notes to The Economy of Vegetation, discussing the Aristophanes quote more fully (I, 413n), and (in The Economy of Vegetation, I, 101n) linking the image of "the egg of Night" (17) to the idea of evolution, in single organisms, in the formation of the earth and finally between species: "From having observed the gradual evolution of the young animal or plant from its egg or seed . . . , philosophers of all ages seem to have imagined, that the great world itself had likewise its infancy and gradual progress to maturity; this seems to have given origin to the very ancient and sublime allegory of Eros, or Divine Love, producing the world from the egg of Night, as it floated in Chaos." Darwin goes on to link this idea to evidence that the earth's crust has built up slowly, and that many plants and animals display "useless or incomplete appendages," suggesting development from or towards other species.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 19. Love's widespread arms will continue to be an important image in the poem. In The Economy of Vegetation, I, 413n, Darwin describes a painting by the miniaturist Maria Cosway, (a pupil of Darwin's illustrator Henry Fuseli and his friend Joseph Wright of Derby) depicting "Eros or divine Love with large wings . . . in the act of springing forwards, and with his hands separating the elements." Widespread arms, denoting power or protection, are a common motif of Cosway's mentor Fuseli (see Werner Hofmann, "zu Füssli's Bildthemen," in Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1741-1825, p. 55). The whole passage expresses a certain tension between the primal act of separation (also God's main activity at the start of Genesis), which may be linked to the image of Eros bursting out of the egg in Darwin's sources, and the inclusive, embracing, nurturing role which makes Love tend the egg which contains Nature.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 21. De-inverting the sentence down to 27: Attend my song, whether—in the form of the sun—you are holding the planets together or warming the earth (21-4), or whether you are doing any of the things mentioned in 25-6. As the sun, love belts ("girds") the planets together through gravity: its "zone" (also belt) is "silver" thanks to its reflected light from them (22). Also ("Or," 23) its heat descends as an "ether" (Darwin's usual word for "force") and warms the earth in spring. As gravity, love holds together bodies of water and indeed all matter (25). The atomic theory of matter is central (by way of Democritus and Epicurus) to Darwin's major source, Lucretius's De Rerum Natura, and still connoted defiant materialism in Darwin's day. The parallelling (26) of these kinds of "link" to those of sex and mental sympathy (the themes of the second and third cantos) culminates the powerful impression of everything as multiply interconnected which Darwin is working to convey.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 29. The eroticism which concluded the list of Love's attributes is continued here in the poet's amorous intentions towards his readers, visualized (as in the similarly "enticing" introductions to The Loves of the Plants and The Economy of Vegetation) primarily as female and certainly as young. The "youths and virgins" of 32 carry echoes of Horace's "Odi profanum vulgus" (Odes, III, 1), which begins: "I shun and keep removed the uninitiate crowd. / I require silence: I am the Muses' priest / And sing for virgins and boys / songs never heard before." Horace's rejection of the profane or "uninitiate" crowd suggests a link between the youthful purity of the ideal poetry reader and that of the initiates to secret rites such as the Eleusinian Mysteries, which will provide the main "machinery" of Darwin's poem.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 33. Apparently, with the invocations over, we are about to be presented with the story of Eden as the true source of the "production of life" which is the canto's theme. Note, however, the bombastic imagery of triumphal banners in "purple pride unfurled" (35): literally this may refer to the blossoms of the Garden's trees ("bowers"), but reminds us that the story of Eden is at the root of the various military empires—Jewish, Christian and Muslim—which have dominated the Middle East. The "sung" of "By prophets sung" (34) may carry a hint that Eden is a poetic fiction (as argued by religiously unorthodox contemporaries from Tom Paine to William Blake), perhaps "guarded" from inquiry by virtuous people ("angels") from the best of motives.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 36. The first of the poem's copious footnotes (36n) begins reassuringly, with good philological and anthropological reasons for accepting the traditional Syrian site of Eden as the "cradle" of most known civilizations, though in fact the authorities Darwin cites disagree as to the first traceable point of origin. James Burnet, Lord Monboddo (1714-99), suggested in Of the Origin and Progress of Language (1773-92) that "all the languages spoken in Europe, all Asia . . . and some part of Africa, are dialects of one parent-language, which probably was invented in Egypt" (I, III, 12), though this did not include native Americans or Pacific Islanders. In A New System, or, An Analysis of Ancient Mythology (1774-6), Jacob Bryant (1715-1804) uses an exhaustive analysis of language as well as mythology to show that Europeans, Asians and Africans spring from "some particular family" (I, vi), though Bryant is not interested in tracing this earlier than Noah's landing in Armenia. Darwin's final paragraph undercuts the previous pro-Eden arguments, following Monboddo in pointing to other "families" of mankind with completely separate languages and cultures. Having lured the orthodox reader into believing scripture and science are at one, Darwin continues the scientific discourse in a direction which calmly undermines the notion of a single traceable point of origin for man as a whole: a frequent strategy.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 37. The four rivers are from Genesis, 2, 10-14; they and the Graces appear in Paradise Lost, IV, 233, 267, but not the Cupids: Darwin is stretching his Miltonic model to include the classical idea of a sexually unrepressed Golden Age. The following brief account of the Fall eschews tragedy and shame, appearing to favour Eve's jauntily "unalarm'd" approach to temptation (42) and, particularly, Adam's gesture of spreading his "wide arms" which seems to combine an insouciant shrug of acceptance with the wide-armed world-embrace of Immortal Love itself (46).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 47. This picture of the postlapsarian climate broadly echoes Paradise Lost, X, 651-707 and XII, 639-45, though the idea that such uneven geographical features as "crags" only appeared after the Fall may also derive from Thomas Burnet's Sacred Theory of the Earth (1684). The "Now," balancing the "Where" of 33, suggests that we are still looking at the site of the Garden of Eden, now rendered unapproachable by the violence of fallen Nature. This is clearer in the drafts, where the Eden passage is shorter; they also clarify the image of a desert plain surrounded unapproachably by a ring of mountains. It would be just possible to read 47-8 as a particularly tortuous inversion presenting a single rock-mass surrounded by "blasted plains"; but the first draft repeatedly pluralizes the rocks and makes them unambiguously infold the desert "with circling sweep."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 53. In a further strange transition, Darwin links the fiery-sworded prohibition of a return to Eden with Horace's or the Eleusinian Mysteries' rejection of "profane" non-initiates (see 137 below). What he seems to be saying is that we cannot recover Eden without instruction by the Muse, because without such instruction Nature really does seem violent and "fallen"; but once instructed ("good and wise," 56) we can see that Nature is really benign (it courts us with "softer skies," 55).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 57. "Her touch" is the Muse's: i.e. only with our poetic imaginations can we enter the realm where Nature is benign. In their laughing indifference to danger—Nature's violence becomes "innocuous" when understood correctly—the Loves and Graces resemble Eve, to whom they were closely juxtaposed in the earlier description of Eden (39-41). Their tittering admiration of their reflections in the glassy walls of the rock tunnel they have entered (61-2) echoes Eve's admiration of her reflection in Paradise Lost, IV, 453-66. Imaginatively at least, they now seem to subsume those other knowledge seekers, the "Muse's train" of would-be initiates, for whom the door was opened in the first place, and whom we next encounter well inside the precincts. The tunnel leads through the "circling bourn" (63) or boundary of rocks, from which they now emerge as it closes behind them, and—like us—see the hitherto concealed Temple of Nature for the first time. For further discussion of this image, see Martin Priestman, "Temples and Mysteries in Romantic Infidel Writing." The possibility of a Rosicrucian source for the image of a tunnel through rough rocks to enlightenment is suggested by Plate 11 of Frances Yates' The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, whose Plate 32 also has some suggestive parallels with Darwin's Temple of Nature.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 65. The Temple's unconsciousness of the storm may be an echo of Lucretius's description of the gods' habitations, "never shaken by storms or drenched by rain-clouds" (De Rerum Natura, III, 19-20), in a passage praising the power of Epicurus's teaching to dispel our fears about nature: "As soon as your reasoning . . . lifts up its voice to proclaim the nature of the universe, then the terrors of the mind take flight, the ramparts of the world roll apart,"—see the Muse's division of the rock (Temple of Nature I, 57)—"and I see the march of events throughout the whole of space. . . . [B]y your power nature stands thus unveiled and made manifest in every part" (De Rerum Natura, III, 14-17, 29-30). The Temple's positioning on the "desert soil" (68) suggests both the post-Eden myth of fallen Nature it is replacing and the lifeless, pre-organic earth on which life has miraculously reared itself. "Mystic" (65) means "mysterious," with overtones of concealing some deeper symbolic meaning.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 69. Any remaining problems as to the temple's precise location start to dissolve: the more we look at it, the more it takes up the whole of space, above and below ground. The description owes something to Pope's The Temple of Fame, itself modelled on Chaucer's House of Fame. Pope's temple similarly defies normal ideas of space: "not rear'd by mortal hands," it has "Wide Vaults," "roofs of fretted gold," "a thousand pillars," "a pompous dome" which "invades the skies" (ll. 62, 138-9, 245), and as the poet gazes "Upward the Columns shoot, the Roofs ascend, / And arches widen, and long Iles extend" (ll. 264-5). But while the grandeur of Pope's temple is in part fallacious, no such irony surrounds Darwin's claims for Nature.

The Temple and its related imagery may also owe a debt to Freemasonry (see "Introduction"). According to Willam R. Denslow's 10,000 Famous Freemasons and a range of Masonic websites, Darwin was himself a Mason since his student days in Edinburgh—enrolling at St David's Lodge 36 in 1754—as were his scientific friends James Watt and Benjamin Franklin. Closely linked to what Margaret C. Jacob has called "The Radical Enlightenment," eighteenth-century Masonry eschewed religious disputes but—with its symbolic parallelling of the builder of Solomon's Temple to "the Great Architect of the Universe" —constituted something like a deist church, closed, like the Eleusinian Mysteries, to non-initiates (see Margaret C. Jacob, The Radical Enlightenment: Pantheists, Freemasons and Republicans). The common use of Temple imagery in Masonic texts is illustrated by the prose tract The Temple of Virtue by the Mason David Fordyce (1759), which takes the reader on a visionary journey via the land of vice and poverty and then along a "secret path" to a temple "built of transparent stone" adorned with symbolic representations of the gods of industry and commerce (see Jacob, Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe, pp. 61-2). A more controversial Masonic figure, the conman "Count" Cagliostro, set up his own "Egyptian" Freemasonry, one of whose lodges was intended to be decorated by the celebrated painter Philip de Loutherbourg, with pictures showing successive stages of the approach by a female initiate of the nature-goddess Isis through a wilderness to an Egyptian pyramid-temple. Like Darwin's initiates she is conducted by the temple's priestess past a defeated figure of Father Time, and some of the symbolism implies a transition similar to theirs from "rough" rock to shaped architectural stonework, as in the Masonic idea of moving from seeing Nature as formless to grasping its inner coherence (see Iain McCalman, The Seven Ordeals of Count Cagliostro: Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason, pp. 164-5). European versions of Masonry, like Cagliostro's and the more wildly atheist-revolutionary "Illuminism" of Adam Weishaupt (flourished 1776-85), were blamed by anti-jacobin writers for the French Revolution: one of these, the leading Scottish scientist John Robison—a friend of James Watt and himself a one-time Mason—was on the edges of Darwin's circle, and Irwin Primer suggests that Temple's reassertion of a once-shared Enlightenment imagery was in defiant response to the anti-Masonic witch-hunting of works like Robison's Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe (1798; see Irwin Primer, "Eramus Darwin's Temple of Nature: Progress, Evolution, and the Eleusinian Mysteries," pp. 70-75).

None of this conflicts with the argument for a source in Pope's Temple of Fame: Pope was also a Mason. Eighteenth-century Freemasonry (officially founded in London in 1717) absorbed some of its imagery from the seventeenth-century mystico-scientific movement known as Rosicrucianism, one of whose texts (Abbé de Montfaucon de Villars's Le Comte de Gabalis, 1670) inspired the mock-heroic elemental spirits—nymphs, sylphs, gnomes and salamanders—of Pope's Rape of the Lock. Darwin borrowed these Rosicrucian spirits for the rather more serious controlling "machinery" of The Economy of Vegetation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 76. See Pope's Temple of Fame, 118: "the Learn'd Walls with Hieroglyphics grac'd." But more importantly, as 76n clarifies, 76-8 refer to Darwin's belief that ancient visual art forms and, especially, Egyptian hieroglyphics were pre-literate encodings of history ("empires," 78) or—more interestingly for Darwin—inventions and discoveries ("arts"). The reason for their inclusion in the Temple of Nature is that they represent the beginnings of natural science: both chemistry (as alchemy) and astronomy (as zodiacal astrology) were held to originate in Egypt. For Darwin, many modern scientific discoveries were concealed in the Egyptian hieroglyphics which, before Champollion's decipherment of the Rosetta Stone in 1822, remained tantalisingly enigmatic. The "tablet of Isis" appears in Antiquity Explained, and Represented in Sculptures by Father Bernard de Montfaucon (1655-1741), vol. 2, p. 210. Describing it as "the general Table of the Religion and Superstitions of Egypt," Montfaucon derides Athanasius Kircher's earlier interpretation of its mass of hieroglyphics as a repository of ancient wisdom but offers little clarification himself. It is now thought, disappointingly, to date from Roman rather than ancient Egyptian times.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 79. Pope's Temple also features a sculpture of Time, "His Scythe revers'd, and both his Pinions bound" (l. 148), to convey Fame's time-defying powers. For Darwin, Time's bondage by sculpture suggests that human arts can compel the present to reveal the past and the future; this poem will go on to deduce the origin and end of the universe from present scientific evidence. Time's "style" (82) is his pen.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 83. "So erst": "similarly, long ago." "Atrides" (85) is Menelaus who, in Homer's Odyssey, Book 4, ties down "the Old Man of the Sea" Proteus to discover how to secure a favourable wind home from Egypt. (Darwin wrongly attributes this feat to "Ulysses" in the Progress of Nature drafts, but fortunately went back and checked.) After desperately changing into various animal and other forms, Proteus answers Menelaus's questions and reveals his future as well as many past events. Proteus's "scaly throngs" (86) are the seals he is sleeping among when caught. In this poem and The Botanic Garden, Darwin often uses "So" to introduce an extended poetic or Homeric simile for what he is describing; here, however (also as often), there is a note linking the vehicle or poetic image more directly to the tenor or real meaning. The first of many explications of classical myth as based on "hieroglyphic" allegories for real phenomena, 83n mostly quotes directly from P. Danet's A Complete Dictionary of the Greek and Roman Antiquities (1700), but with the significant change that for Darwin Proteus represents Time rather than Danet's "Truth." Danet's evidence from Herodotus and "Orpheus" (i.e. The Orphic Hymns) supports Darwin's ideas about Egypt in particular as holding "the keys of Nature." The description of Proteus's transformations also prepares the ground for Darwin's subsequent account of the evolution of species.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 89. We move from the knowledge inscribed in the temple to the forces which make Nature operate. The first is Pleasure (90), as represented by the Graces and Loves ("gay Desires," 96) seen earlier in Eden and entering the Temple. The description moves between vegetable fecundity and human eroticism in the manner which Darwin had made his trademark in The Loves of the Plants. Dione (97) is Darwin's usual name for Venus: see notes on I, 372n and III, 261n for more on his view of her significance.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 105. As a physician, it is an essential part of Darwin's project to include pain from the start within his basically positive vision of Nature; as "repulsion," it may also be linked to one of the primary forces of physical motion, complementing the "attraction," extending from atomic gravity to sexual desire, which we have already met in the forms of Love and Pleasure. By including mental torments such as despair and guilt in the picture (111-12), Darwin invokes a vision of Hell to match the Paradise over which pleasure presides, and looks forward to the last canto's despairing picture of mental torment and final explanation of the place of remorse in the scheme of things (IV, 83-96, 505-8). In giving pleasure and pain primacy as motivating forces, Darwin may be consciously echoing the opening of Jeremy Bentham's Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789): "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 113. Oblivion is broadly death although, with echoes of Gray's Elegy, it also includes being so obscure as not to be remembered, and the decay of memorials which do exist. The gothic, "graveyard" imagery builds towards a picture of Melancholy mourning the dead: note particularly that she has the spread arms of Love. In the Progress of Nature drafts, the motif of Oblivion was important as a background to the Priestess's attempt to revive and record the memories of those who had instigated the technological leaps of the past. Here, it is equally important as a preparation for the Muse's fears of death and horror at evolutionary violence (IV, 1-134), the priestess's removal of which forms the climax of the poem.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 125. Trophonius helped build Apollo's temple at Delphi, and was rewarded with six days' merrymaking followed by "his heart's desire," which mysteriously proved to be death, hence the phrase "those whom the gods love die young." He was later awarded his own cave-shrine in Boeotia, where his oracle revealed gloomy secrets to supplicants. (See Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, vol. 1, pp. 179-80, 285-6.) In the drafts, his cave or "den" is actually present within the Temple, as the locus of Oblivion, and features as a key image in the very first outlines. In the present four lines, this once important image has been reduced to a mere simile for the gloom induced by the prospect of Oblivion. The suicidal "ancient poet" of 126n is probably the fifth century BC Greek scientist-poet Empedocles, who threw himself into Mount Etna after composing a poem on the cruelty of Nature (a precursor to Darwin's own Economy of Vegetation). There is also a tradition that Lucretius committed suicide before completing De Rerum Natura, which at least ends on a dark note.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 129. Where Pope's Fame has a thousand tongues, eyes and ears (ll. 268-9), Darwin's goddess Nature has the hundred hands of the giants who were among Gaea (Earth)'s first children in Greek Mythology, and the multiple breasts of the Ephesian statue of the fertility-goddess Artemis. In describing her thus, Darwin is probably drawing on his source for much of this opening, William Warburton's The Divine Legation of Moses (see note to 137 below). In an interesting discussion, Ronald Paulson connects Warburton's presentation of the many-breasted "Diana Multimammia" as a symbol of Universal Nature with the Egyptian goddess Isis, hieroglyphic symbolism, Freemasonry and the breast-based "line of beauty" at the centre of (the Mason) William Hogarth's Analysis of Beauty, a major influence on Darwin's aesthetics (xxxv). Hogarth's Analysis draws attention to the towers on Nature's head as the chief distinction betweeen Diana and Isis; they also echo Lucretius's explication of the Earth goddess Cybele's battlemented crown, as showing that she "bears the weight of cities" (II, 606-7): here the implication is that the "origin of society" to be explored in cantos III and IV derives directly from Nature. Her veil suggests the mysteries which the poem is about to remove: Irwin Primer sees a link with the French revolutionary Peyrard's "Lucretian and atheistic essay" De la Nature et de ses Lois (Paris, 1793), whose Frontispiece shows a sage unveiling a similar many-breasted figure (Irwin Primer, "Erasmus Darwin's Temple of Nature: Progress, Evolution, and the Eleusinian Mysteries," p. 72; see also my note to line 67 above).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 137. i.e., the ancient Greek Eleusinian Mystery rituals were based on the truth about Nature. Darwin's major source for 137-154 and 137n is The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated, on the Principles of a Religious Deist (1738) by William Warburton (1698-1779), later Bishop of Gloucester. As part of a wider highly paradoxical argument about Moses's failure to mention it to the Jews, Warburton argues that the theory of life after death was otherwise universal; this was demonstrated particularly in the ancient Mystery cults, of which that based at Eleusis near Athens was the most prominent. While this doctrine of an afterlife was mixed with stories about the gods in the "lesser" mysteries open to the public, the "greater" mysteries open only to specially-prepared initiates taught that the gods were simply fictions to keep the masses happy. Taking initiates on a ritual journey through death to a more philosophical understanding of the idea of life after death, the content of the greater mysteries can be gleaned from the poems attributed to Orpheus, known as "Orphic Hymns," and above all from Virgil's Aeneid, Book 6, where Aeneas undergoes a parallel initiation under the guise of a visit to the Underworld. Drawing on Warburton, 137n describes the Mysteries as presenting initiates with four main "scenes": the recognition of the reality of Death; the symbolic marriage of Cupid and Psyche, indicating that organic matter is perpetually reproduced in new forms (see too my note to II, 223); the torchlight procession, symbolizing the perpetual return of life; and the histories of the real people whose hieroglyphic representations became the basis for the popular myths of the classical gods (see too the Preface, paragraph 2).

Darwin's four scenes broadly correspond to the poem's four cantos: Canto I ends its account of the creation of life with a contemplation of death, which Canto II counters with a celebration of sexual reproduction. Canto III's link with torches may be more oblique, but it begins with images of light and heat and goes on to explain the sources of mental "enlightenment." Canto IV leads up to its climactic demonstration of life overcoming death, by way of a celebration of such modern heroes as Newton, Herschel, Howard and Arkwright. The Temple thus itself goes some way to being the "dignified pantomime" recommended at the end of 137n, though Darwin's interest in visual, non-verbal forms of communication raises many further interesting issues: see Introduction. The "note on the Portland Vase" referred to in 137n (The Economy of Vegetation, Additional Note XXII), describes in great detail the designs on the Roman funerary urn of that name, of which Darwin's friend Wedgwood made a celebrated copy. Taken by Darwin to embody the content of the Eleusinian Mysteries, these designs supposedly feature two figures looking in concern at a drooping figure with an extinguished torch representing mortality or death, and a soul conducted into Hades by Eros, to be greeted by a figure representing immortal life.

The ensuing account of the Eleusinian Mysteries (137-54) is completely absent from the Progress of Nature drafts, and seems to be a late addition here, probably accounting (along with another couplet somewhere) for the 20 lines by which Darwin misnumbers all the quotations introducing Canto I's Additional Notes, which were probably set in print before the final text of the poem. See, e.g., 247n and Additional Note I (referring to l. 227).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 139. A "fraud" because the Mysteries' founders knew there were no gods, but "pious" because they were still serving truth. As a hater of "priestcraft" who is nonetheless enthused by his interpretation of the Mysteries' real, materialist, meaning, Darwin tries to have his cake and eat it here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 141. This account of the Mystery rituals broadly follows the four stages outlined in 137n, but Cupid and Psyche have been replaced by Venus (146) and their marriage by the more generalized Hymen (147), who is traditionally accompanied by torches. "Trod" (153) is the main verb of a sentence (149-154) suggesting that the masked enactments of heroes and gods are based on real past events (150), whose truth is disguised from the unenlightened masses (151) but interpretable by initiates (152).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 155. We return to the Temple of Nature, which is now approached by queues of virgins seeking initiation, presumably including the poet's Muse and the "train" of readers she enabled to approach the Temple (55-7). The "Urania" (163) who presents their offerings to the Goddess Nature (164) and starts to unshroud her for them (165) is the figure generally called the "Priestess of Nature" or "Hierophant." Her name, however, denotes the Muse of Astronomy, most famous as the "Heav'nly Muse" invoked by Milton (see especially Paradise Lost, VII, 1-12) but here rather cheekily reclaimed by Darwin for the cause of hard science. Fuseli's Frontispiece illustration is based on this moment: see my notes on this and I, 129 for fuller discussion of the imagery involved.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 167. The lines from here to 204 are addressed to Urania as Priestess of Nature by the poet's own Muse, who is best seen as a female personification of his writing ability—though in 205 ("my song") he claims her words directly as his own—acting as spokesperson for the train of virgin initiates who represent his readers (see too the "youths and virgins" of 32). There is much potential for confusion between the various female figures presented in this section; perhaps our ability to sort them out is part of our own initiation as worthy readers of the poem! Bowing to the goddess, the Muse asks Urania to unveil her completely (168), inaugurating Nature-worship as the new world-religion (172).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 173. 173-4 mean "Let my poetry walk thoughtfully through all of the Temple's outdoor paths and glades." More generally, in 175-80 the Muse asks Urania to explain the various interior decorations, metaphorically bringing back to life the figures depicted there. The whole passage closely follows the Progress of Nature drafts, where the request to have various depictions of gods, heroes and lovers explained provides a direct springboard for the Priestess's accounts of the distinctive technologies of the Five Ages. In the present context, notes such as 176n nudge us into relating the Muse's request to the idea that Nature's real processes have long been recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphics and other non-verbal depictions, giving rise to the myths of gods, heroes and beauties which now need decoding back to their real scientific meanings. However, since the Priestess will only do this decoding work occasionally, the whole emphasis on her revival of the dead seems somewhat excessive, despite what has now become its interesting echo of the fourth stage of the Eleusinian Mysteries (see note to line 137 above).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 181. The part-divine musician Orpheus followed his dead wife Eurydice into the underworld ruled by Pluto, and played his lyre so beautifully Pluto's wife Proserpine persuaded her husband to allow Eurydice to follow Orpheus back to earth, providing he did not look back at her. Unfortunately the "ill-fated" singer did so, and lost her again. If she grants the Muse's request, Urania will resemble him in being a semi-divine singer, whose music makes the dead breathe ("respir[e]," 183) again.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 189. A "sage" as well as singer (perhaps because the obscurely cosmic "Orphic Hymns" were attributed to him), Orpheus only reached the Underworld with the help of Love, whose aid Darwin himself requested at the start of this poem (15-32). "Hell's triple Dog" (191) is Pluto's three-headed watchdog Cerberus; despite his divinity ("the GOD," 192), Orpheus's hands are presumably "baby"-like in comparison with this huge fawning dog, but I have not been able to identify the painting from which 192n says the image comes. "Nations" (193) simply means large groups: the ghosts of sad lovers prefer recalling the sorrows of life to embracing oblivion by drinking from the underworld river Lethe (195-6) which would stop them hearing his music. Night's Empress (197) is Proserpine, who persuades Pluto to yield to Orpheus's request; Eurydice had just reached the light of day (203) when she had to re-enter a darkness admitting no further return ("irremeable," 204). The whole Orpheus passage is retained from the drafts, though 189n now suggests an oblique link with the Mysteries by relating the description to an image on the Portland Vase of a male figure being greeted by Proserpine and Pluto. However, in his long note on the Vase in The Economy of Vegetation (Additional Note XXII), Darwin explicitly denies that the figure is Orpheus since he has no lyre: he is a dead person's "manes" or shade, learning the Eleusinian truth that death is not to be feared. By retaining the word "manes," 189n implies that Darwin stands by this theory: the vase has only suggested elements of his portrait of Orpheus. These include the figure of Love with his torch, the male figure's entry through an imposing porch, the welcoming Proserpine and the more grim-faced Pluto.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 205. Urania indicates her readiness to hear the Muse's request. A "Hierophant" is a priestly figure who reveals sacred mysteries; though particularly apt to Urania's role as a proto-Eleusinian priestess, this passage appeared in earlier drafts where Eleusis was not mentioned. Her impressive costume (not copied in Fuseli's Frontispiece illustration) helps to fix her in our mind, just before she launches into the long speeches of scientific instruction which constitute most of the rest of the poem. By an accepted convention, the "gale" of 214 denotes any kind of wind or breeze.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 215. The Muse asks Urania to reveal the origins of organic life, and how the nerves first came to give the power of action and feeling to flesh and mind. "Contractile fibre" (218) is, for Darwin, the basic building material of plant as well as animal life. This "First" request covers the material of the rest of Canto I.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 219. 219-222 indicate much of the scope of the next two cantos. Canto II discusses Love from a mainly sexual angle, while Canto III explores it in relation to Sympathy, as the origin of social feelings. The fact that Sympathy involves pleasure to encourage sociability and pain to discourage the opposite (220) helps to explain the domination of the Temple of Nature by these two forces (see 89-112). The Temple's third presence, Oblivion, is only fully addressed in the final canto: dramatically, it is significant that in these opening questions the Muse seems to have no inkling of the horror that will suddenly strike her then.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 223. Urania answers: this is where the scientific account of the origin of life really begins. The opening mention of God as first cause gets the whole issue out of the way for the rest of the poem. As a deist, Darwin accepted that the universe must have had a first cause which could be called God, but that thereafter everything is explicable by the natural laws he created. At the age of 23, Darwin was already arguing: "That there exists a superior ENS ENTIUM, which formed these wonderful creatures, is a mathematical demonstration. That HE influences things by a particular providence, is not so evident. The probability . . . is against it, since general laws seem sufficient for that end" (To Thomas Oakes, 23 November 1754, Letters, p. 8). In 223n, the quotation from Virgil (Eclogues, III, 60) means "From Jove my song begins: everything comes from him." The St Paul quotation (Acts 17:28 ) lends apparent Christian legitimacy to the idea, but out of context could imply no more than a pantheistic equation of God with the material universe.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 224. Since the earth ("this terrene abode") is still in a process of development, this evidence of its comparative youth "lisps" (i.e. tells us in still-childish speech) that it must once have been created. 224n starts with the argument that, since limestone forming much of the earth's crust is made from the remains of sea-animals, we must be in the middle of a process whereby sea is being converted to land. Darwin had to remove the motto "E conchis omnia" (everything from shells) which he had had painted on his carriage, when its atheistic implications caused a scandal (Desmond King-Hele, Erasmus Darwin: A Life of Unequalled Achievement, p. 89). Darwin's view that the earth is still young contrasts with the "steady state" theory of the eternity of matter espoused by atheist materialists such as Baron D'Holbach and Shelley, but involves more of a scientific than a theological disagreement. Both positions draw support from Lucretius's materialist De Rerum Natura, which argues that while matter is eternal ("Nothing can be created out of nothing," I, 150), the fact that the arts of man "are still being perfected: the process of development is still going on" suggests that the world itself "is newly made" (V, 330-31). 224n's extension of this argument to the idea that the unchanging social structure of bees and ants attests to their "longer existence" and hence "greater maturity" than ours has the somewhat chilling implication that human society will, and should, move in the same direction.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 227. Lines 227-50 crystallize many of Darwin's most daring scientific ideas, and every word is carefully weighed. "Ere Time began" suggests the paradox—which still bedevils attempts to explain the "big bang"—of an initiating temporal event in a previously timeless context. Darwin uses the classical and Miltonic idea of a pre-material "Chaos" to evoke this context, but "flaming" merges it with the different kind of chaos we associate with an explosion. The "bright spheres" are stars, and "the circling world" they form ("world" can mean "realm" and hence "cosmos") sounds like the night sky which seems to revolve round the earth; but Darwin may be referring to William Herschel's observation (in The Economy of Vegetation note discussed below) that "the whole sidereal system is gradually moving round some centre."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 229. As 229n indicates, 229-30 are transferred directly from The Economy of Vegetation, I, 107-8, the note to which discusses the discovery of the great contemporary astronomer William Herschel (1738-1822) that stars attract each other into nebulae. Darwin concludes that they must first have been scattered further apart in a massive explosion—the only way they could have been prevented from re-imploding towards a single centre. Darwin adds that the planets must have burst from their suns, and their moons ("second planets," 232) from them, in a similarly instantaneous way, so that the gravitational pull of other objects in space could counteract those of the parent bodies. This classic exposition of the "big bang" theory concludes, "If these innumerable and immense suns thus rising out of Chaos are supposed to have thrown out their attendant planets by new explosions, as they ascended; and those their respective satellites, filling in a moment the immensity of space with light and motion, a grander idea cannot be conceived by the mind of man."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 231. The sea was formed simultaneously ("coeval") with the earth, and covered it completely ("shoreless," 232). The heat of the sun caused the first organisms to form.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 235. Though we might expect this account of heat to expand on the life-giving sun-beams of 233, the "exploding mass" of 237 suggests that we are back with the big bang. In fact, Darwin is using a high degree of abstraction to talk about both at the same time. In Zoonomia, Darwin's account of the primary laws of motion directly relates the gravitational "attraction" of Newtonian physics to that between particles in chemistry (while conceding that the latter is less well understood), opposing the former to "the general repulsion of matter" and the latter to "the specific repulsions belonging to the particles of bodies" (vol. I, pp. 2-3). The theory of repulsion as a specific atomic force derives from Ruggiero Boscovich, S.J. (1711-87), who also greatly influenced Priestley (see R. J. Boscovich, A Theory of Natural Philosophy, p. 21, etc; and John A. Passmore's Introduction to Priestley's Writings on Philosophy, Science and Politics, p. 24). Though modern science does not support the idea of a universal "repulsive" force, the idea that something major—which Darwin also links to heat, explosions and ultimately the big bang—is needed to prevent gravity from instantly re-imploding the universe deserves respect. 235n links repulsion to heat, which Darwin also lists as a primary cause of motion—among the other "etherial fluids" of magnetism, electricity and light—on the opening page of Zoonomia. The The Botanic Garden note referred to here (The Economy of Vegetation, Additional Note VII) distinguishes between "sensible" heat which moves easily between objects by conduction, and the "latent heat" in all objects discovered by Joseph Black (1728-99). Black was an Edinburgh Professor of Medicine, friend of Hume and Adam Smith, and early patron of Darwin's friend James Watt, whose exploration of steam-power depended on Black's work on heat. The idea that heat springs from "chemic dissolution" is based on one of Black's less valid theories, that (in Darwin's words), "by thawing, diffusion of neutral salts in water, melting, and other chemical solutions, a portion of heat is attracted from the bodies in the vicinity and enters into or becomes combined with the new solutions" (p. 13). Bearing all this in mind, the present passage suggests: 1) that the heat produced by ongoing chemical processes in the initial matter of the universe caused the big bang, exploding it into liquid ("lymph") and gas; and 2) that when anything is warmed (e.g. by "warm sun-beams"), it tends towards expansion and dissolution ("explosion" in a less dramatic sense), with solids melting into liquids and liquids evaporating. For more on Darwin's views on "repulsion" as a universal physico-chemical force, see my note on III, 21n and Additional Note XII.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 239. The account of attraction continues to fuse physics and chemistry, as the note underlines. It could be describing 1) the gravitational formation of planets from the molten fluids and gases of the big bang; or 2) the creation of new chemical combinations as the atoms dispersed by repulsion seek others of similar mass. The theory of atoms goes back to the Greek philosophers Empedocles, Democritus and Epicurus; in De Rerum Natura, the latter's disciple Lucretius explains how the world created itself out of a chaos of "atoms of every sort" which slowly "started to sort themselves out, like combining with like": "In the first place all the particles of earth, because they were heavy and intertangled, collected in the middle," to be surrounded by the lighter atoms of air, fire and water (V, 437-8, 449-451). The atomic theory of Darwin's day was far more sophisticated, but could still be seen as continuous with the ancient model, on which it draws freely where relevant. The idea of atoms sorting themselves according to weight combines Lucretius with Newton's theory of gravitational attraction as the primal force of the universe.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 242. "Swells into spheres" continues the dual reference, applying equally to planetary formations and chemical processes; but "lengthens into lines" only seems to apply to the latter, and starts us thinking about biological forms. With 243, we are firmly in the realm of biology. The "lines" formed by chemical attraction have become flexible, sticky filaments ("gluten-threads"), responsive to the "excitation" of external stimuli and combining with each other in more complex ways than through gravity or chemical reaction.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 245. The first emergence of life has been prepared for by 241's submerged pun in "quick embrace," denoting the speed with which attraction joins things together, but implying that they may already be alive (cf. "the quick and the dead"). The second meaning is to the fore in "quick CONTRACTION": whose laws—according to Zoonomia, IV, 1 (vol. I, p. 37)—"constitute the laws of animal motion, as the circumstances attending the exertion of the power of ATTRACTION constitute the laws of motion of inanimate matter." The repetition of "quick" also assists the general impression of a smooth, unstoppable process in which questions about how these previously inert "threads" suddenly became excited by fine goads into displaying life by contracting hardly seem necessary. The imagery of speed is continued in that of a "flame" which lights the pre-organic frame (246) into life; more technically, the word "ethereal" connects contraction to the other "ethereal fluids" such as attraction, heat and electricity, which can only be detected by their effects, not as pieces of matter (see 239n). 245n further explores the parallels and differences between attraction and contraction, suggesting that contraction within a single body is like the attraction between separate bodies minus the counterbalancing force of repulsion, which continues to separate particles even in liquids—as illustrated by the beautiful observation of the separated water-drops skimming across the surface when one is "riding through shallow water."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 247. The idea that the first life-forms were no more than "animated earth" (248) may remind readers that Adam too was made of clay "without parent," but the idea that they were only "specks" takes them into very alien territory, as does the idea in "buds or breathes" (250) that plants and animals are almost arbitrary alternatives to each other. (From The Loves of the Plants to Phytologia, Darwin followed Linnaeus in trying to establish exact functional parallels between plant and animal systems: here "limbs" (250) presumably includes branches as well as arms and legs). "Nature's womb" (249) invokes the standard figure of Mother Nature, but in this context also suggests the sea as amniotic fluid, and perhaps distantly echoes Lucretius's picture of the various animal species being born, literally, from "wombs" in the earth: "wherever a suitable spot occurred, there grew up wombs, clinging to the earth by roots. These, when the time was ripe, were burst open by the maturation of the embryos" (De Rerum Natura, V, 807-10).

247n refers us to Additional Note I, on "Spontaneous Vitality of Microscopic Animals," one of the most important of the fifteen Additional Notes which almost equal the rest of Temple of Nature in bulk. (Interestingly, Additional Note I wrongly refers itself to line 227 rather than 247, and all the Canto I references in the Additional Notes are short by the same amount, suggesting a late 20-line insertion somewhere before 227. This could be paragraph 137-54 on the Eleusinian Mysteries, the largest single passage from the "Temple" opening not in the drafts, plus another stray couplet.) Additional Note I considers an impressive array of research by scientists from Buffon to Priestley, to argue that "spontaneous" generation of microscopic organisms can still take place, though only in the presence of other organic matter—a caveat which leaves unproved the hypothesis that wholly inorganic matter suddenly became organic. In fact, the experiments cited do not prove "spontaneous vitality" of any kind, since Darwin wrongly discounts the presence of miniscule spores in the surrounding air or water. Nonetheless, it was a discussion of this note which helped to inspire Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. Her 1831 Introduction recalls Byron and her husband talking "of the experiments of Dr. Darwin . . . , who preserved a piece of vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary motion" (195). Given her confession that their or her own memories were probably garbled, they may well have been referring to Additional Note I's account of microscopic "vorticella" (p. 7) which, after being preserved "for many months . . . in a dry state," started wriggling like maggots (arguably further suggesting "vermicelli," or little worms). Little worms ("vermiculi") also appear in Lucretius (De Rerum Natura, II, 897-9), as evidence for a theory of spontaneous generation very similar to Darwin's: "wood or clods of earth . . ., when they are well rotted by showers, give birth to little worms." The more obvious meaning of "vermicelli"—the pasta with which Byron at least was familiar (see Don Juan, II clxx)—may have become combined with this memory by way of the "paste compounded of flour and water" from which "the animalcules called eels, vibrio anguillula" emerge; and the "glass case" may be the "sealed glass phial" through which Darwin believed spores could not pass (both p. 5).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 251. After a montage of filmic zooms focussing rapidly in from the birth of the entire universe to the spontaneous formation of life "beneath the waves" (234), Darwin can afford to slow down and explain the latter in more detail. However, 251-2 make clear that he is also moving the picture onwards to cover the formation of all subsequent life: "In earth, sea, air," all organisms are formed in the same way, both as embryos and through the fact that all organic matter derives from the first. The image of life as being "wove" on Nature's loom (252), picking up from the "fibre-woven frame" of 246, highlights Darwin's key idea that the building-materials of life are "lines" or "threads" of particles (see 242-3) "glued" together (253). The "goad" which touches one of these lines (254; see too 243) is any external object whose touch produces the "irritation" which constitutes the first sign of life, initially making the line "bend" round into a circle. By the "gluey" power of contraction (the attraction minus repulsion which allows particles to cohere, see 245n), the rings thus formed join with other rings to form tubes which "clasp" any adjacent particles ("globes or cubes"). Their "young lips" (254) are partly metaphorical—the first act of ingestion made vivid by reference to the beauty of children—but also reminds us that our own lips are also, in effect, simply the ends of eating-and-breathing tubes too. The tubes then select what they need according to "appetencies new" (257)—marking the birth of desire—digest what they can use and excrete the rest (258-9).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 259. As 259n points out, each artery or vein is a "cone" because wider at the base than the tip. The "lymphatic ducts" (260) are tubes conveying fluids other than blood, and glands are "convoluted"—strings tied up in knots—because Darwin still wants us to see the organism as made up of tubes in various arrangements. The "aortal tubes" (261) are the main arteries feeding the others with blood ("nascent," or being born, both because it starts in the heart which feeds the aorta, but also because we are still witnessing the first creation of blood). The veins send the blood flowing back ("refluent," 262) to the heart having absorbed it back from the extremities; 262n stresses the "great force" of this absorption to explain how blood is returned to the heart at pressure equal to or greater than that which pumped it out. "Dr. Hales's experiment" is described thus in Zoonomia (vol. I, pp. 386-7): "the current of blood . . . is perpetually absorbed by the veins from the various glands and capillaries, and pushed into the heart by a power probably very similar to that, which raises the sap in vegetables in the spring, which, according to Dr. Hale's [sic] experiment on the stump of a vine, exerted a force equal to a column of water above twenty feet high" (See Stephen Hales, Vegetable Staticks, or, An Account of some Statical Experiments on the Sap in Vegetables: being an Essay towards a Natural History of Vegetation, pp. 100-103). Hales went on to establish, somewhat horrifically, that this pressure was greater than that with which the main arteries of a vivisected horse, dog and deer ejected blood (Zoonomia, vol. I, p. 388; Hales, p. 107). In the whole above passage, the picture of an organism creating itself by shooting out tubes in all directions before our eyes, as it were, recalls Blake's horrific account of Urizen's transformation into the first physical body, his heart "Panting, conglobing, trembling, / Shooting out ten thousand branches" and his stomach "A craving hungry cavern. / Thence arose his channelled throat, / And like a red flame a tongue / Of thirst and hunger appeared" (First Book of Urizen, ll. 213-14; 241-3; in Complete Writings, pp. 228-9). Though Urizen (1794) could not have been influenced by Temple of Nature, it may have been by similar imagery in Zoonomia (also 1794).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 263. Introducing the respiratory system, "Leaves, lungs, and gills" again reminds us of Darwin's tendency to equate plants and animals wherever possible (see "buds or breathes," 250). Though it may be natural to assume 251-62 dealt with animals alone, Phytologia describes plant nutrition too in terms of conic tubes, "glands" and "aortal arteries" (e.g. pp. 57, 71). Though the root-absorbed fluid in Hales's experiments is not technically "refluent," 262n's reference to them is itself a reminder of the similarity of the two systems. "The vital ether" means life-giving air in general; Darwin was aware that plants breathed "carbonic gas" (carbon dioxide) in and oxygen out (Desmond King-Hele, Erasmus Darwin: A Life of Unequalled Achievement, p. 334).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 264. Plants are crucial to the next point: that all life-forms ingest air and water ("winds and floods"), converting them into their own organic matter which, on their deaths, becomes the "argil" (clay), "lime" (chalk and limestone) and "sand" covering much of the earth's surface (see too note to line 224 above). In 268n, "Dr. Halley" is Edmond Halley (1656-1742), who studied oceans as well as comets. The "curious conjecture" that "the matter of heat" (presumably rather than the latent variety?) is added to air and water to convert them into the earth is one of many indications that the science of Darwin's day still looks back to the ancient "four elements," which he made the basis of Economy of Vegetation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 269. Treating the last four lines as an aside, we speed ("Next") past the development of organisms in general to the formation of the animal nervous system and, particularly, human psychology. The nerves are "long" because extended throughout the body; "train" denotes any joined-up series of objects; "silver" emphasises the continuity between the nerves and the "white substance" of the medulla in the brain. "Sensation" (270) is "young" because reflex reactions to stimuli (or "irritations") only become feeling (in physical and emotional senses) when connected to the brain via the nervous system or "sensorium." Though the flushed cheek and throbbing heart (272) may seem exclusively human, they can be taken as examples of the kind of physiological response which involves both emotions and changes in the body. "Volitions" (273) are actions we take in response to painful or pleasurable sensations, ultimately enabling us to calculate future benefits by reason (275), and then to generalize these into the beginnings of a moral sense of "right and wrong" (276). "Associations" (277) denotes the way in which one action summons up another through force of habit: these actions can be either mental ("thoughts," 278) or physical ("motions"). "Trains of catenation" (279) are chains or sequences of learned activity which become spontaneous (Darwin elsewhere cites singing and dancing), or of ideas—the latter being the source of the imagination, whereby the past associations of particular ideas can give us "joy" (280) or "woe" belonging purely to our own minds. Though by the end of the passage we seem to have moved completely into the human realm, Darwin's provision of physiological as well as mental meanings for sensation, volition and association allows them a wider application. 269-80 offer a highly condensed summary of the psycho-physical definitions expounded in Additional Note II ("The Faculties of the Sensorium") to which 270n directs us, and which is quoted directly from Zoonomia, vol. I, pp. 37-40. For the debts of some of these ideas to the Edinburgh medical theorists William Cullen (1710-90) and John Brown (1735-88), see Maureen McNeil, Under the Banner of Science: Erasmus Darwin and his Age, pp. 148-53; for their debts to these and to David Hartley's (1705-57) Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, and his Expectations (1749), see Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason, pp. 377-9. See also my notes to Canto III, 55-85, for fuller accounts of Darwin's psychological theories.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 281. As noted for 83, Darwin regularly uses "So" to introduce an extended poetic simile for the factual situation preceding it (or sometimes vice versa), but to what are these microscopic organisms being compared? Arguably, to the above idea of "catenation," since these organisms are seen joining together in increasingly complex chains: Darwin may be varying his somewhat relentlessly sequential approach by introducing some new, still relevant material under the guise of a supposedly digressive simile. But, more obviously, the "So" should be read as "hence" rather than "similarly": 281-94's description of spontaneously generated microscopic organisms versifies Additional Note I's main evidence for the "evolutionary" theory set out from 235-80. The "crystal spheres" (281) are microscope lenses used to examine drops of brine ("saline"), (though Additional Note I specifies dirty fresh water for several of the species described); the salts are "quick-shooting" (282) in the sense that their formation into crystals ("chemic forms") resembles the rapid growth of plants from seeds. Mould or "Mucor" (283) represents early plant life, selecting nutriment from water as in 265 ("So Life's first powers arrest the winds and floods"). With an adjustment of the lens's focus, we now see the much smaller forms of microbes, first as the "living lines" of 253, then as the "rings" they become in 255. The successive stages of complexity are marked by the "unconnected point" of Monas; Vibrio, which according to Additional Note I, is long like an eel (rather than having eels attached, as 289 might imply); and the more complex forms of Vorticella and Proteus, the latter of whose changes of shape seem to epitomise the endless metamorphoses of organic life. The mite we glimpse last, on the surface of the drop rather than inside it, is far bigger and of a different order completely, its "red heart" and identifiable limbs making it the somewhat alarming representative of all the more developed species from insects to man.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 295. Once again, we move back to the moment when "Organic Life began beneath the waves" (234), from which we were diverted into the laws of biological formation and animal motion: the preceding summary of all this in terms of self-creating microbes found in "drops saline" has formed a useful bridge back to the importance of the sea as the cradle of life. The waves are "shoreless" because, as 295n argues, the earth was originally covered in water. There are several possible reasons for "pearly": to evoke a beautiful image of mysterious white caves; to remind us of the sea-borne oyster; and, combining these, to give a suggestion that the life to which the caves gave birth was beautiful and precious. 295n succinctly combines two of the key arguments for evolution: that since limestone and other shell-based materials appear on the highest mountains, land itself must have been formed from a sea already containing life, and hence land-organisms must at least have succeeded marine ones, if not developed from them; and that the embryos of the more advanced animals including man start off breathing through fish-like gills: the argument that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" is often seen as summing up a key part of Charles Darwin's evolutionism. Darwin's further points on chicken- and fish-eggs do not seem to advance the argument further, but scrupulously fill out our general knowledge about embryos. In paragraph one of the note, Darwin cites John James Ferber's Travels through Italy in the Years 1771 and 1772 (London, 1776).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 297. It is important to establish that the organisms described above were not the first, which were too small to see in the microscope. Some stayed on the sea-bed while others swam. Though the idea of evolution was implicit in the earlier account of their spontaneous development, 299-302 are the most unambiguous statement of it so far.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 303. The plants, sea-creatures, land animals and birds indicated in 301-2 are epitomised by their various "monarchs." The thunderous fire-power of the British navy's "hearts of oak," particularly apposite during the Napoleonic war, is part of a series of impressive images culminating in the humbling finale of 314.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 309. Of these images, that of man is most important. From kings we move to the emperor of them all (with particular echoes of Adam's dominion over the beasts). Man's erect posture, seen as scorning the earth from which he came, leads to the further hubris of calling himself the image of a God he may have invented in the first place. 310 carries echoes of such Augustan satires of human pretensions as Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Book 4, and Rochester's "Satire Against Reason and Mankind" ("that vain Animal / Who is so Proud of being Rational," 5-6). However, 314-5 goes well beyond their emphasis on man's resemblance to animals, in the shocking assertion that we and they alike arise from the same primevally minute "ens" or being. The crucial subsection of Zoonomia referred to in 314n (vol. II, pp. 233-48) builds up the argument for evolution as follows. Individual creatures such as butterflies and frogs change greatly in the course of their lives; species can be changed by accidental or deliberate breeding, often transmitting such things as muscles developed by special jobs, or having their tails cropped, to the next generation. From this it can be concluded that embryos gradually acquire their particular features, rather than being tiny but perfectly formed in the first place and then growing "by distention of a primordial nest of germs, included one within another, like the cups of a conjurer." The great similarities between warm-blooded creatures suggest a common origin, with their distinctive features growing according to their usefulness in securing a mate (as with stags' horns or cocks' spurs), food (as with elephants' trunks and various birds' beaks) or security (as with birds' wings and various types of camouflage). Dispensing with the still dominant biblical dating of the earth as a few thousand years old, Darwin asks "would it be too bold to imagine, that in the great length of time, since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages, before the commencement of the history of mankind, . . . that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which THE GREAT FIRST CAUSE endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts . . .; and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down those improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end?" (Zoonomia, vol. II, p. 240). Darwin now extends this idea beyond warm-blooded animals, stressing the way frogs straddle the apparent gap between land- and water-creatures; insects manifest so many differences among themselves as to lessen their differences from other organisms; and plants can be included "amongst the inferior order of animals" in their reproductive organs a least. Linnaeus has shown that all plants derive from a few basic types, with variations again arising from "their perpetual contest for light and air above ground, and for food and moisture beneath the soil" (p. 243). Conjecturing from all this that "one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life," Darwin goes on to consider the fossil evidence for the extinction of many species; the ancient idea (e.g. in Plato's Symposium) that man was originally hermaphrodite as an expression of some awareness of pre-sexual reproduction; and Hume's suggestion—probably from considering the successive laying-down of strata—that the world "might have been gradually produced from very small beginnings, increasing by the activity of its inherent principles, rather than by a sudden evolution of the whole by the Almighty fiat" (p. 247). He is probably referring to Dialogue 7 of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), where the sceptic Philo mischievously puts forward the idea of the earth growing itself, to undermine the argument from design. Darwin hastens to add the kind of deistic gloss about which Hume himself was sceptical: "What a magnificent idea of the infinite power of THE GREAT ARCHITECT! THE CAUSE OF CAUSES! PARENT OF PARENTS! ENS ENTIUM!" before concluding with an existentialist stress on man's responsibility both for his own and the planet's future, "our present situation being a state of probation, which by our exertions we may improve, and are consequently responsible for our actions" (p. 248).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 315. "Brineless" is clearly explained in the note; "testaceous" means "hard-shelled," hence these are crustaceans of the sea-bed rather than fish, expanding it with their remains. "The tenants perish" literally of course, but the Zoonomia passage discussed above suggests that many also perish as species, leaving only fossil remains. William Brownrigg (1711-1800), another scientific physician and acquaintance of Darwin's friend Benjamin Franklin, wrote On the Art of Making Common Salt.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 319. "Sparry": made of spar, i.e. non-metallic crystalline minerals such as marble. The Botanic Garden notes so exhaustively indicated all relate to The Economy of Vegetation Canto II, on Earth: Additional Note XVI is the most relevant to the present passage; but Darwin's point is clear without citing them in detail.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 321. The creation of land. As Additional Note III explains, volcanic eruptions are caused by water reaching the molten lava of the earth's core: when this first happened through small cracks in the sea-bed, the explosions were far greater than in land-based volcanoes because the inrush of water ("the headlong waves") caused something like a chain-reaction, releasing gases ("new airs") which threw portions of the sea-bed into heaps which became land (and also—in Additional Note III and The Economy of Vegetation but not the present poem—perhaps the moon, creating a hole in the Pacific which lowered the sea-level and thus furthered the emergence of land). Once land had appeared, it was thrown even higher by the first volcanoes (the marine explosions did not appear as such) raising "mountains on mountains."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 327. The emergence of life onto land. As the note suggests, "insect" is here used to include a range of smaller, "less complicate" creatures. Sea-fan is a type of coral. In 327n, which condenses many of the arguments from Zoonomia summarised above (314n), the "natant" then "volant" gnat changes from swimming to flying. Darwin's main picture of organisms moving from sea to land and evolving to meet the new circumstances would still be accepted. His commitment to the frequency of spontaneous generation complicates matters with the idea of new land-species appearing from nowhere, though the need for "some organic matter" for this to occur still gives precedence to those from the sea. In the last paragraph, "oxygenated" is still a comparatively new concept: discovered as "dephlogisticated air" by Darwin's friend Joseph Priestley in 1774, oxygen was named by Lavoisier in 1786 and discussed as such in English from around 1790 by Darwin and other friends such as James Kier and Thomas Beddoes. The Botanic Garden note referred to is actually The Economy of Vegetation, IV, 164n.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 335. The water ("tides") is clear ("pellucid"), both to indicate that trapa is a freshwater plant and to help us visualise its leaves below as well as above the surface. The resemblance of the submerged leaves to cold ("gelid") gills is stressed in contrast to the sun-warmed, air-breathing upper leaves, compared to lungs in 335n, which repeats verbatim part of the The Botanic Garden note cited (The Loves of the Plants, IV, 204n). In The Loves of the Plants, IV, 203, Trapa's description as "Amphibious Nymph, from Nile's prolific bed" clarifies its provenance and relevance to the theme of transition from water to land and air. Dr Richard Pulteney (1730-1801) was a pro-Linnaean naturalist.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 343. This account of tadpoles and mosquitoes emerging from water to land or air in a single life-cycle is reasonably self-explanatory.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 349. The phrase "cuts his airy way" reads like a possible echo of Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Plate 7, p. 150): "How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way, / Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?"—although Aeneas "cuts his wat'ry way" at the start of Dryden's Aeneid V, while "airy way" appears later in the same book. The image of the mosquito as a gore-drinking elephant (though according to OED "trunk" is permissible for insect probosci) brings it suddenly close to our gaze, rather as with the "mite enormous" of 293, and such monstrous Blakean insects as "The Ghost of a Flea."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 351. As Additional Note V explains, the diodon ("a type of globe-fish," OED) has both gills and lungs; lizards' hearts resemble fishes' in having only one cell, and their blood is likewise cold ("frigescent") and dark because they use little oxygen (see note to line 327 above); the hearts of beavers are "perforated" in that an opening between the two halves permits the blood to detour the lungs for short periods; both lampreys and remoras adhere to things by suction, implying some kind of breathing rather than gill-system, the former being specifically said to have both lungs and gills and the latter being "lazy" because they attach themselves to ships which they "retard" because so numerous; the whale's gills are lung-like ("pulmonic" ; "pulmonary in part," Additional Note V) because whales need to surface and their spouts suggest that they breathe partly like mammals (which they are, but this was not yet established).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 365. As the scientific pressure of the Canto slackens, we return to the point about Egyptian hieroglyphics as pre-literate encodings of ancient science last encountered in connection with the Eleusinian Mysteries (137), and before that on 76. "Erst" means long ago; the words were "volant" (flying) both through the air and out of memory because writing was not yet invented; hence ("whence") chemical and astronomical knowledge was conveyed pictorially, in hieroglyphics and the signs of the zodiac. For the prevalent Enlightenment view that lost Egyptian wisdom underlay much of modern science, see Martin Bernal, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Vol. I: The Fabrication of Ancient Greece, 1785-1985, chapter 3.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 371. Additional Note VI (to which 371 points us) moves from restating Darwin's standard position on hieroglyphics to broader questions of personification—as in the various classical gods discussed—and symbolism—as with the haloes and so forth later on. The mention of the papal tiara and French Revolutionary cap of liberty takes us into the present day where, arguably, the more developed "universal language" of symbols Darwin calls for could be found in the dense visual shorthand of James Gillray's political cartoons. The other kinds of new language discussed move on from the symbolic to the firmly denotative. Rev. Richard Grey's Memoria Technica: or, A New Method of Artificial Memory (1732) does just what Darwin says although the verses also include recognizable abbreviations of names and other words, the "nonsense" representations of numbers being in italics. An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668) by John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester (1614-72) proposes a wholly new language and script, with various alterations made to basic forms according to an array of fine logical distinctions. Much of the book consists of a critique of the illogalities of existing languages, and springs from the Restoration enthusiasm for rationalizing language to be found in Thomas Sprat's History of the Royal Society (1667). (A "projector" of the type derided by Swift, Wilkins also predicted telegraphy and space-travel to the moon.) The French botanist Bergeret's book on "the art of naming plants, deduced from their characters" is discussed in Darwin's translation (under the name of "a Botanical Society at Lichfield") of Linnaeus's The Families of Plants (1787), vol. I, Preface, pp. xi-xii. Graph-lines drawn by scientific instruments, Grey's and Bergeret's mnemmonic devices and Wilkins's more accurate and economical version of normal language have little in common except for a desire to iron out the ambiguities associated with the visual art and poetry. But clearly—as with his desire for a "dignified pantomime" to replace verbal scientific instruction (137n)—Darwin's interest in alternatives to ordinary language are deep-rooted.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 372. Dione is Venus, born from the sea as in Botticelli's famous painting. The Economy of Vegetation also refers to "an antient gem representing Venus rising out of the water supported by two Tritons" (II, 47n), stressing its great antiquity (from before the invention of "fine taste") but not indicating where it can be found. But whereas there Dione represents "the formation of the earth from the ocean, which seems to have been the opinion of many of the most antient philosophers," here she more specifically represents the emergence of sea-born life-forms ("organic Nature"). However, the "main" from which she emerges is still "shoreless," and her ability to calm the waves suggests the peace after the land-forming eruptions rather than specifically the emergence of "organic Nature."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 379. The "Nymph" is Urania, who has been speaking since 223. The "Muse" is Poetry, and more or less stands in for Darwin himself. The "tablet" which Urania has both drawn and, now, unfurled once more evokes Egypt (as in the "Tablet of Isis," 76n); the sea is of course "prolific" with new life; the idea of seeing Venus "in" Urania is a graceful poetic compliment.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 384. Though the omission of inverted commas from the end of the line indicates that the Muse continues speaking, common sense suggests that Urania should resume here. But it is conceivable that Darwin wants to show how the poet's Muse has now learnt enough to expand on Urania's instruction, concluding naturally with a "poetic" parallel from Ovid (401-20).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 385. We return to the evolution of plants and simpler, egg-born animals from aquatic to air-breathing forms.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 389. The human embryo washes its swimming form in the surrounding water of the womb. "Thus" has a similar ambiguity to "So" (281): the emergence of the human embryo from water to air could be read as just a simile for that of life in general, but equally as actual evidence for it. As discussed above (see 314n) Zoonomia, vol. II, pp. 233-48, sees the growth of mammal embryos' lungs from fish-like gills as a strong argument for the theory of evolution, on the principle that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 391. Its heart has an opening between right and left so its blood can circumvent the lungs (see the beaver, 351n); its limbs are recent because they develop after fertilization (see 314n).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 393. "Ether" is air; otherwise self-explanatory.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 395. Lines 395-400 closely echo Lucretius's De Rerum Natura, V, 222-7, which begins "The human infant, like a shipwrecked sailor cast ashore by the cruel waves, lies naked on the ground, speechless, lacking all aids to life, when nature has first tossed him with pangs of labour from his mother's womb upon the shores of the sunlit world. He fills the air with his piteous wailing. . . ." Darwin pushes to the limit the poetic-diction synecdoche whereby "wave" and "flood" can stand for any kind of water while evoking the grandeur of the sea (see too 390, 393). The image of the Crusoe-like "landed Stranger" makes this evocation concrete: the baby actually is recapitulating the whole emergence of life from sea to land, experiencing its "chill blast, and piercing light" for the first time with a mixture of shock and exhilaration.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 401. As 417n indicates, the "ancient song" is specifically Ovid's Metamorphoses, seen as echoing an older Egyptian "poetical account" of spontaneous generation. The "So" of 402 is another simile which may imply factual connection: as babies emerge from the water of the womb, so the Nile used "his" (classical rivers are male) famously life-giving powers to give birth to numerous animals as well as plants. In a passage where poetic language has largely replaced scientific, Darwin still reminds us that it was the decaying "organic" matter (404) in the Nile's yearly flood that made spontaneous generation possible. Pomona (407) is the Roman goddess of fruit trees ("blushing orchards"), and Ceres of corn ("waving fields"). The crop-fertility of the Nile basin after its yearly flood was one of the best-known facts of the ancient world. "Assurgent" (413) means "rising."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 417. As the essential requirements for spontaneous generation, warmth and moisture are personified as performing spells—physical processes understood by the Egyptian magi, and hence seen by others as "magic"—and as parent birds combining their powers ("mingling wings") to "brood" over the mud ("slimy dells") until they combine bits of organic matter which are already "contractile" (see 245n) into forms capable of sensation ("sentient forms"). The appearance of life halts ("stays") the normal process whereby such chemical transformations would soon be replaced by others. In the passage quoted in 417n, farmers turning up the Nile mud find animals in various stages of development, "And often, in one creature, part alive, / Part still raw soil. Because when heat and moisture / Blend in due balance, they conceive; these two, / These, are the origin of everything" (Ovid, Metamorphoses, I, pp. 13-14).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 421. "Then hand in hand" perhaps suggests that the poetic muse has now mentally caught up with the scientific one, confirming the possibility that the poet's Muse spoke lines 385-420. This new equality returns us smoothly to the temple and its virginal initiates.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 424. Appropriately for a building which represents Nature, indoors and outdoors are often hard to disentangle in the temple's scenery: earlier, the supplicants processed through a sacred grove towards the goddess Nature, who was in the "midst" of the temple though her head was hid in clouds (see 159, 129, 166). Now they are clearly outdoors again, approaching what seems to be a classical temple within the grounds (as opposed to the gothic extravagance of earlier descriptions), fronted by a portico of evenly-spaced columns surmounted by a "sculptured architrave," presumably triangular like that of the Parthenon. The portico is "sussurant" or rustling because it is open to the breeze ("Zephyr," 429), though the word may subliminally suggest that it is really an avenue of trees. OED gives an example of the latter use in Thomson's Seasons, and also points out that the Portico (= "stoa") was identified with the Stoic philosophy: a particularly appropriate setting for the next canto's attempt to remove our fear of old age and death.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 427. "Fretted" refers to the criss-cross design decorating many classical roofs. Though the "morn" is only rising in 426, the roof will shade the initiates from the noonday sun ("meridian rays"), suggesting that Canto II will fill the mid-morning.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 429. The breeze plays around them as if in love, cooling them and making the time fly faster by kissing them with the scent of spring flowers it has drunk in.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 433. In The Economy of Vegetation, Darwin describes figures on the classical Portland Vase as "supporting themselves on their arms, as people are liable to do when they are thinking intensely," adding "when people think attentively they naturally rest their bodies in some easy attitude, that more animal power may be employed upon the thinking faculty" (Additional Note XXII). Urania is planning her next speech.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 437. "Ideal" means "full of ideas"; her steps "pause" to indicate thought as well as ceremonial stateliness (see too 423); the scenery to which she upturns her clear eyes may be outside the portico or painted on the roof: "smooth floor" indicates we are still inside it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 441. She "leads" the song of the next canto in that, despite digressive "meanders" she will control its route; also, her occasional dialogues with the Muse suggest a chant-and-response style of priestly instruction. The fact that it rolls through Nature's walks is part of a general imagery whereby walking through the temple grounds is identified with receiving Urania's instruction (see 173-4).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 443. The programme for Canto II: our attention is to be secured by an emotional opening stressing the transience of life, as an introduction to the theme of Love or sexual reproduction defeating time and mortality. The image of relighting the lamp of life can be related to the torch-procession which constitutes the third "scene" of the Eleusinian Mysteries (see 137n).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 450. The "talk" of the echoes is a nice touch: though their speech comes initially from Urania, they seem to have internalised it and now share it among themselves, like the initiates.

Published @ RC

October 2006

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