Printer-friendly versionSend by email
The Temple of Nature, Edited by Martin Priestman
p. 127







p. 128


I. Few affected by Sympathy 1. Cruelty of War 11. Of brute animals, Wolf, Eagle, Lamb, Dove, Owl, Nightingale 17. Of insects, Oestrus, Ichneumon, Libellula 29. Wars of Vegetables 41. Of fish, the Shark, Crocodile, Whale 55. The World a Slaughter-house 66. Pains from Defect and from Excess of Stimulus 71. Ebriety and Superstition 77. Mania 89. Association 93. Avarice, Imposture, Ambition, Envy, Jealousy 97. Floods, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Famine 109. Pestilence 117. Pains from Sympathy 123. II. Good outbalances Evil 135. Life combines inanimate Matter, and produces happiness by Irritation 145. As in viewing a Landscape 159. In hearing Music 171. By Sensation or Fancy in Dreams 183. The Patriot and the Nun 197. Howard, Moira, Burdett 205. By Volition 223. Newton, Herschel 233. Archimedes, Savery 241. Isis, Arkwright 253. Letters and Printing 265. Freedom of the Press 273. By Association 291. Ideas of Contiguity, Resemblance, and of Cause and Effect 299. Antinous 319. Cecilia 329. III. Life soon ceases, Births and Deaths alternate 337. Acorns, Poppy-seeds, Aphises, Snails, Worms, Tadpoles, Herrings innumerable 347. So Mankind 369. All Nature teems with Life 375. Dead Organic Matter soon revives 383. Death is but a change of Form 393. Exclamation of St. Paul 403. Happiness of the World increases 405. The Phoenix 411. System of Pythagoras 417. Rocks and Mountains produced by Organic Life 429. Are Monuments of past Felicity 447. Munificence of the Deity 455. IV. Procession of Virgins 469. Hymn to Heaven 481. Of Chaos 489. Of Celestial Love 499. Offering of Urania 517-524.

p. 129




       I. "HOW FEW," the MUSE in plaintive accents cries,*
And mingles with her words pathetic sighs.—
"How few, alas! in Nature's wide domains
The sacred charm of SYMPATHY restrains!
Uncheck'd desires from appetite commence,
And pure reflection yields to selfish sense!*
Blest is the Sage, who learn'd in Nature's laws*
With nice distinction marks effect and cause;
Who views the insatiate Grave with eye sedate,
Nor fears thy voice, inexorable Fate!                    10

        Blest is the Sage, 1. 7.

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas;
Quique metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum,
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.
                                           VIRG. Georg. II. 490
p. 130

     "WHEN War, the Demon, lifts his banner high,
And loud artillery rends the affrighted sky;
Swords clash with swords, on horses horses rush,
Man tramples man, and nations nations crush;
Death his vast sithe with sweep enormous wields,
And shuddering Pity quits the sanguine fields.*

     "The wolf, escorted by his milk-drawn dam,*
Unknown to mercy, tears the guiltless lamb;
The towering eagle, darting from above,*
Unfeeling rends the inoffensive dove;                    20
The lamb and dove on living nature feed,
Crop the young herb, or crush the embryon seed.
Nor spares the loud owl in her dusky flight,
Smit with sweet notes, the minstrel of the night;
Nor spares, enamour'd of his radiant form,
The hungry nightingale the glowing worm;

        The towering eagle, 1. 19.

Torva leæna lupum sequitur, lupus ipse capellam,
Florentem cytisum sequitur lasciva capella. VIRG.

p. 131

Who with bright lamp alarms the midnight hour,
Climbs the green stem, and slays the sleeping flower.

     "Fell Oestrus buries in her rapid course
Her countless brood in stag, or bull, or horse;                    30
Whose hungry larva eats its living way,*
Hatch'd by the warmth, and issues into day.
The wing'd Ichneumon for her embryon young
Gores with sharp horn the caterpillar throng.

     Fell Oestrus buries, 1. 29. The gadfly, bot-fly, or sheep-fly: the larva lives in the bodies of cattle throughout the whole winter; it is extracted from their backs by an African bird called Buphaga. Adhering to the anus it artfully introduces itself into the intestines of horses, and becomes so numerous in their stomachs, as sometimes to destroy them; it climbs into the nostrils of sheep and calves, and producing a nest of young in a transparent hydatide in the frontal sinus, occasions the vertigo or turn of those animals. In Lapland it so attacks the rein deer that the natives annually travel with the herds from the woods to the mountains. Lin. Syst. Nat.
The wing'd Ichneumon, 1. 33. Linneus describes seventy-seven species of the ichneumon fly, some of which have a sting as long and some twice as long as their bodies. Many of them insert their eggs into various caterpillars, which when they are hatched seem for a time to prey on the reservoir of silk in the backs of those animals designed for their own use to spin a cord to support them, or a bag to contain them, while they change from their larva form to a butterfly; as I have seen in above fifty cabbage-caterpillars. The ichneumon larva then makes its way out of the caterpillar, and spins itself a small [cont. below]

p. 132

The cruel larva mines its silky course,
And tears the vitals of its fostering nurse.
While fierce Libellula with jaws of steel
Ingulfs an insect-province at a meal;
Contending bee-swarms rise on rustling wings,
And slay their thousands with envenom'd stings.                    40

     "Yes ! smiling Flora drives her armed car*
Through the thick ranks of vegetable war;

cocoon like a silk worm; these cocoons are about the size of a small pin's head, and I have seen about ten of them on each cabbage caterpillar, which soon dies after their exclusion.
     Other species of ichneumon insert their eggs into the aphis, and into the larva of the aphidivorous fly: others into the bedeguar of rose trees, and the gall-nuts of oaks; whence those excrescences seem to be produced, as well as the hydatides in the frontal sinus of sheep and calves by the stimulus of the larvæ deposited in them.
     While fierce Libellula, 1. 37. The Libellula or Dragon-fly is said to be a most voracious animal; Linneus says in their perfect state they are the hawks to naked winged flies; in their larva state they run beneath the water, and are the cruel crocodiles of aquatic insects. Syst. Nat.
Contending bee-swarms, 1. 39. Stronger bee-swarms frequently attack weak hives, and in two or three days destroy them and carry away their honey; this I once prevented by removing the attacked hive after the first day's battle to a distinct part of the garden. See Phytologia, Sect. XIV. 3. 7.

p. 133

Herb, shrub, and tree, with strong emotions rise
For light and air, and battle in the skies;
Whose roots diverging with opposing toil
Contend below for moisture and for soil;
Round the tall Elm the flattering Ivies bend,
And strangle, as they clasp, their struggling friend;
Envenom'd dews from Mancinella flow,
And scald with caustic touch the tribes below;                    50
Dense shadowy leaves on stems aspiring borne*
With blight and mildew thin the realms of corn;
And insect hordes with restless tooth devour
The unfolded bud, and pierce the ravell'd flower.

     "In ocean's pearly haunts, the waves beneath*
Sits the grim monarch of insatiate Death;
The shark rapacious with descending blow
Darts on the scaly brood, that swims below;

     The shark rapacious, 1. 57. The shark has three rows of sharp teeth within each other, which he can bend downwards internally to admit larger prey, and raise to prevent its return; his snout hangs [cont. below]

p. 134

The crawling crocodiles, beneath that move,
Arrest with rising jaw the tribes above;                    60
With monstrous gape sepulchral whales devour
Shoals at a gulp, a million in an hour.
—Air, earth, and ocean, to astonish'd day*
One scene of blood, one mighty tomb display!
From Hunger's arm the shafts of Death are hurl'd,
And one great Slaughter-house the warring world!

so far over his mouth, that he is necessitated to turn upon his back, when he takes fish that swim over him, and hence seems peculiarly formed to catch those that swim under him.
The crawling crocodiles, 1. 59. As this animal lives chiefly at the bottom of the rivers, which he frequents, he has the power of opening the upper jaw as well as the under one, and thus with greater facility catches the fish or water-fowl which swim over him.
One great Slaughter-house, 1. 66. As vegetables are an inferior order of animals fixed to the soil; and as the locomotive animals prey upon them, or upon each other; the world may indeed be said to be one great slaughter-house. As the digested food of vegetables consists principally of sugar, and from this is produced again their mucilage, starch, and oil, and since animals are sustained by these vegetable productions, it would seem that the sugar-making process carried on in vegetable vessels was the great source of life to all organized beings. And that if our improved chemistry should ever discover the art of making sugar from fossile or aerial matter without the assistance of vegetation, food for animals would then become as plentiful as water, and they might live upon the earth without preying on each other, as [cont. below]

p. 135

     "THE brow of Man erect, with thought elate,*
Ducks to the mandate of resistless fate;
Nor Love retains him, nor can Virtue save
Her sages, saints, or heroes from the grave.                    70
While cold and hunger by defect oppress,*
Repletion, heat, and labour by excess,

thick as blades of grass, with no restraint to their numbers but the want of local room.
     It would seem that roots fixed in the earth and leaves innumerable waving in the air were necessary for the decomposition of water and air, and the conversion of them into saccharine matter, which would have been not only cumberous but totally incompatible with the locomotion of animal bodies. For how could a man or quadruped have carried on his head or back a forest of leaves, or have had long branching lacteal or absorbent vessels terminating in the earth? Animals therefore subsist on vegetables; that is they take the matter so prepared, and have organs to prepare it further for the purposes of higher animation and greater sensibility.
     While cold and hunger, l. 71. Those parts of our system, which are in health excited into perpetual action, give us pain, when they are not excited into action: thus when the hands are for a time immersed in snow, an inaction of the cutaneous capillaries is induced, as is seen from the paleness of the skin, which is attended with the pain of coldness. So the pain of hunger is probably produced by the inaction of the muscular fibres of the stomach from the want of the stimulus of food.
       Thus those, who have used much voluntary exertion in their early years, and have continued to do so, till the decline of life commences, if they then lay aside their employment, whether that of a minister of state, a general of an army, or a merchant, or manufacturer;
[cont. below]

p. 136

The whip, the sting, the spur, the fiery brand,
And, cursed Slavery! thy iron hand;
And led by Luxury Disease's trains,
Load human life with unextinguish'd pains.

     "Here laughs Ebriety more fell than arms,*
And thins the nations with her fatal charms,
With Gout, and Hydrops groaning in her train,
And cold Debility, and grinning Pain,                    80
With harlot's smiles deluded man salutes,
Revenging all his cruelties to brutes!
There the curst spells of Superstition blind,*
And fix her fetters on the tortured mind;
She bids in dreams tormenting shapes appear,
With shrieks that shock Imagination's ear,

they cease to have their faculties excited into their usual activity, and become unhappy, I suppose from the too great accumulation of the sensorial power of volition; which wants the accustomed stimulus or motive to cause its expenditure.

        Here laughs Ebriety, 1. 77.

                                           Sævior armis
Luxuria incubuit, victumque ulciscitur orbem. HORAC.

p. 137

E'en o'er the grave a deeper shadow flings,
And maddening Conscience darts a thousand stings.

     "There writhing Mania sits on Reason's throne,*
Or Melancholy marks it for her own,                    90
Sheds o'er the scene a voluntary gloom,
Requests oblivion, and demands the tomb.
And last Association's trains suggest
Ideal ills, that harrow up the breast,

     E'en o'er the grave, 1. 87. Many theatric preachers among the Methodists successfully inculcate the fear of death and of Hell, and live luxuriously on the folly of their hearers: those who suffer under this insanity, are generally most innocent and harmless people, who are then liable to accuse themselves of the greatest imaginary crimes; and have so much intellectual cowardice, that they dare not reason about those things, which they are directed by their priests to believe. Where this intellectual cowardice is great, the voice of reason is ineffectual; but that of ridicule may save many from these mad-making doctors, as the farces of Mr. Foot; though it is too weak to cure those who are already hallucinated.
And last Association's, 1. 93. The miseries and the felicities of life may be divided into those which arise in consequence of irritation, sensation, volition, and association; and consist in the actions of the extremities of the nerves of sense, which constitute our ideas; if they are much more exerted than usual, or much less exerted than usual, they occasion pain; as when the finger is burnt in a candle; or when we go into a cold bath: while their natural degree of exertion [cont. below]

p. 138

Call for the dead from Time's o'erwhelming main,
And bid departed Sorrow live again.

     "Here ragged Avarice guards with bolted door*
His useless treasures from the starving poor;
Loads the lorn hours with misery and care,
And lives a beggar to enrich his heir.                    100
Unthinking crowds thy forms, Imposture, gull,
A Saint in sackcloth, or a Wolf in wool.

produces the pleasure of life or existence. This pleasure is nevertheless increased, when the system is stimulated into rather stronger action than usual, as after a copious dinner, and at the beginning of intoxication; and diminished, when it is only excited into somewhat less activity than usual, which is termed ennui, or irksomeness of life.
Ideal ills, 1. 94. The tooth-edge is an instance of bodily pain occasioned by association of ideas. Every one in his childhood has repeatedly bit a part of the glass or earthen vessel, in which his food has been given him, and has thence had a disagreeable sensation in his teeth, attended at the same time with a jarring sound: and ever after, when such a sound is accidentally produced, the disagreeable sensation of the teeth follows by association of ideas; this is further elucidated in Zoonomia, Vol. I. Sect. XVI. 10.
Enrich his heir, 1. 100.

Cum furor haud dubius, cum sit manifesta phrenitis,
Utlocuples moriaris, egenti vivere fato. JUVENAL.
     A Wolf in wool, 1. 102. A wolf in sheep's clothing.
p. 139

While mad with foolish fame, or drunk with power,
Ambition slays his thousands in an hour;
Demoniac Envy scowls with haggard mien,
And blights the bloom of other's joys, unseen;
Or wrathful Jealousy invades the grove,
And turns to night meridian beams of Love !

     "Here wide o'er earth impetuous waters sweep,*
And fields and forests rush into the deep;                    110
Or dread Volcano with explosion dire
Involves the mountains in a flood of fire;
Or yawning Earth with closing jaws inhumes
Unwarned nations, living in their tombs;
Or Famine seizes with her tiger-paw,
And swallows millions with unsated maw.

     "There livid Pestilence in league with Dearth*
Walks forth malignant o'er the shuddering earth,

p. 140

Her rapid shafts with airs volcanic wings,
Or steeps in putrid vaults her venom'd stings;                   120
Arrests the young in Beauty's vernal bloom,
And bears the innocuous strangers to the tomb!—

     "AND now, e'en I, whose verse reluctant sings*
The changeful state of sublunary things,
Bend o'er Mortality with silent sighs,
And wipe the secret tear-drops from my eyes,
Hear through the night one universal groan,
And mourn unseen for evils not my own,
With restless limbs and throbbing heart complain,
Stretch'd on the rack of sentimental pain!*                    130

     With airs volcanic, 1. 119. Those epidemic complaints, which are generally termed influenza, are believed to arise from vapours thrown out from earthquakes in such abundance as to affect large regions of the atmosphere, see Botanic Garden, V. I. Canto IV. 1. 65. while the diseases properly termed contagious originate from the putrid effluvia of decomposing animal or vegetable matter.
     Sentimental pain, 1. 130. Children should be taught in their early education to feel for all the remediable evils, which they observe in others; but they should at the same time be taught sufficient firmness [cont. below]

p. 141

—Ah where can Sympathy reflecting find*
One bright idea to console the mind?
One ray of light in this terrene abode
To prove to Man the Goodness of his GOD?"

     II. "HEAR, O YE SONS OF TIME!" the Nymph replies,*
Quick indignation darting from her eyes;
"When in soft tones the Muse lamenting sings,
And weighs with tremulous hand the sum of things;
She loads the scale in melancholy mood,
Presents the evil, but forgets the good.                    140

of mind not intirely to destroy their own happiness by their sympathizing with too great sensibility with the numerous irremediable evils, which exist in the present system of the world: as by indulging that kind of melancholy they decrease the sum total of public happiness; which is so far rather reprehensible than commendable. See Plan for Female Education by Dr. Darwin, Johnson, London, Sect. XVII.
     This has been carried to great excess in the East by the disciples of Confucius; the Gentoos during a famine in India refused to eat the flesh of cows and of other animals to satisfy their hunger, and save themselves from death. And at other times they have been said to permit fleas and musquitoes to feed upon them from this erroneous sympathy.

p. 142

But if the beam some firmer hand suspends,
And good and evil load the adverse ends;
With strong libration, where the Good abides,
Quick nods the beam, the ponderous gold subsides.

     "HEAR, O ye Sons of Time! the powers of Life*
Arrest the elements, and stay their strife;
From wandering atoms, ethers, airs, and gas,
By combination form the organic mass;
And,—as they seize, digest, secrete,—dispense*
The bliss of Being to the vital Ens.                    150
Hence in bright groups from IRRITATION rise
Young Pleasure's trains, and roll their azure eyes.

     From wandering atoms, 1. 147. Had those ancient philosophers, who contended that the world was formed from atoms, ascribed their combinations to certain immutable properties received from the hand of the Creator, such as general gravitation, chemical affinity, or animal appetency, instead of ascribing them to a blind chance; the doctrine of atoms, as constituting or composing the material world by the variety of their combinations, so far from leading the mind to atheism, would strengthen the demonstration of the existence of a Deity, as the first cause of all things; because the analogy resulting from our perpetual experience of cause and effect would have thus been exemplified through universal nature.

p. 143

     "With fond delight we feel the potent charm,*
When Zephyrs cool us, or when sun-beams warm;
With fond delight inhale the fragrant flowers,
Taste the sweet fruits, which bend the blushing bowers,
Admire the music of the vernal grove,
Or drink the raptures of delirious love.

     "So with long gaze admiring eyes behold*
The varied landscape all its lights unfold;                    160
Huge rocks opposing o'er the stream project
Their naked bosoms, and the beams reflect;

     The varied landscape, 1. 160. The pleasure, we feel on examining a fine landscape, is derived from various sources; as first the excitement of the retina of the eye into certain quantities of action; which when there is in the optic nerve any accumulation of sensorial power, is always agreeable. 2. When it is excited into such successive actions, as relieve each other; as when a limb has been long exerted in one direction, by stretching it in another; as described in Zoonomia, Sect. XL. 6. on ocular spectra. 3. And lastly by the associations of its parts with some agreeable sentiments or tastes, as of sublimity, beauty, utility, novelty; and the objects suggesting other sentiments, which have lately been termed picturesque as mentioned in the note to Canto III, 1. 230 of this work. The two former of these sources of pleasure arise from irritation, the last from association.

p. 144

Wave high in air their fringed crests of wood,
And checker'd shadows dance upon the flood;
Green sloping lawns construct the sidelong scene,
And guide the sparkling rill that winds between;
Conduct on murmuring wings the pausing gale,
And rural echoes talk along the vale;
Dim hills behind in pomp aerial rise,
Lift their blue tops, and melt into the skies.                    170

     "So when by HANDEL tuned to measured sounds*
The trumpet vibrates, or the drum rebounds;
Alarm'd we listen with ecstatic wonder
To mimic battles, or imagined thunder.
When the soft lute in sweet impassion'd strains
Of cruel nymphs or broken vows complains;
As on the breeze the fine vibration floats,
We drink delighted the melodious notes.

     We drink delighted, 1. 178. The pleasure we experience from music, is, like that from viewing a landscape, derived from various sources; as first from the excitement of the auditory nerve into certain quan- [cont. below]

p. 145

But when young Beauty on the realms above
Bends her bright eye, and trills the tones of love;                    180
Seraphic sounds enchant this nether sphere;
And listening angels lean from Heaven to hear.

     "Next by SENSATION led, new joys commence*
From the fine movements of the excited sense;
In swarms ideal urge their airy flight,
Adorn the day-scenes, and illume the night.
Her spells o'er all the hand of Fancy flings,
Gives form and substance to unreal things;

tities of action, when there exists any accumulation of sensorial power. 2. When the auditory nerve is exerted in such successive actions as relieve each other, like stretching or yawning, as described in Botanic Garden, Vol. II, Interlude the third, these successions of sound are termed melody, and their combinations harmony. 3. From the repetition of sounds at certain intervals of time; as we hear them with greater facility and accuracy, when we expect them; because they are then excited by volition, as well as by irritation, or at least the tympanum is then better adapted to assist their production; hence the two musical times or bars; and hence the rhimes in poetry give pleasure, as well as the measure of the verse: and lastly the pleasure we receive from music, arises from the associations of agreeable sentiments with certain proportions, or repetitions, or quantities, or times of sounds which have been previously acquired; as explained in Zoonomia Vol. I. Sect. XVI. 10. and Sect. XXII. 2.

p. 146

With fruits and foliage decks the barren waste,
And brightens Life with sentiment and taste;                    190
Pleased o'er the level and the rule presides,
The painter's brush, the sculptor's chissel guides,
With ray ethereal lights the poet's fire,
Tunes the rude pipe, or strings the heroic lyre:
Charm'd round the nymph on frolic footsteps move
The angelic forms of Beauty, Grace, and Love.*

     "So dreams the Patriot, who indignant draws
The sword of vengeance in his Country's cause;
Bright for his brows unfailing honours bloom,
Or kneeling Virgins weep around his tomb.                    200
So holy transports in the cloister's shade
Play round thy toilet, visionary maid!
Charm'd o'er thy bed celestial voices sing,
And Seraphs hover on enamour'd wing.

     "So HOWARD, MOIRA, BURDETT, sought the cells,*
Where want, or woe, or guilt in darkness dwells;

p. 147

With Pity's torch illumed the dread domains,
Wiped the wet eye, and eased the galling chains;
With Hope's bright blushes warm'd the midnight air,
And drove from earth the Demon of Despair.                    210
Erewhile emerging from the caves of night
The Friends of Man ascended into light;
With soft assuasive eloquence address'd
The ear of Power to stay his stern behest;
At Mercy's call to stretch his arm and save
His tottering victims from the gaping grave.
These with sweet smiles Imagination greets,*
For these she opens all her treasured sweets,
Strews round their couch, by Pity's hand combined,
Bright flowers of joy, the sunshine of the mind;                    220
While Fame's loud trump with sounds applausive breathes
And Virtue crowns them with immortal wreathes.

     "Thy acts, VOLITION, to the world impart*
The plans of Science with the works of art;

p. 148

Give to proud Reason her comparing power,
Warm every clime, and brighten every hour.
In Life's first cradle, ere the dawn began
Of young Society to polish man;
The staff that propp'd him, and the bow that arm'd,
The boat that bore him, and the shed that warm'd,                    230
Fire, raiment, food, the ploughshare, and the sword,
Arose, VOLITION, at thy plastic word.

     "By thee instructed, NEWTON'S eye sublime*
Mark'd the bright periods of revolving time;
Explored in Nature's scenes the effect and cause,
And, charm'd, unravell'd all her latent laws.
Delighted HERSCHEL with reflected light
Pursues his radiant journey through the night;
Detects new guards, that roll their orbs afar
In lucid ringlets round the Georgian star.                    240

p. 149

      "Inspired by thee, with scientific wand*
Pleased ARCHIMEDES mark'd the figured sand;
Seized with mechanic grasp the approaching decks,
And shook the assailants from the inverted wrecks.
—Then cried the Sage, with grand effects elate,
And proud to save the Syracusian state;
While crowds exulting shout their noisy mirth,
'Give where to stand, and I will move the earth.'
So SAVERY guided his explosive steam*
In iron cells to raise the balanced beam;                    250
The Giant-form its ponderous mass uprears,
Descending nods and seems to shake the spheres.

     Mark'd the figured sand, 1. 242. The ancient orators seem to have spoken disrespectfully of the mechanic philosophers. Cicero mentioning Archimedes, calls him Homunculus a pulvere et radio, alluding to the custom of drawing problems on the sand with a staff.
     So Savery guided, 1. 249. Captain Savery first applied the pressure of the atmosphere to raise water in consequence of a vacuum previously produced by the condensation of steam, though the Marquis of Worceser had before proposed to use for this purpose the expansive power of steam; see Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Canto I. 1. 253. Note.

p. 150

     "Led by VOLITION on the banks of Nile*
Where bloom'd the waving flax on Delta's isle,
Pleased ISIS taught the fibrous sterns to bind,
And part with hammers from the adhesive rind;
With locks of flax to deck the distaff-pole,
And whirl with graceful bend the dancing spole;
In level lines the length of woof to spread,
And dart the shuttle through the parting thread.                    260
So ARKWRIGHT taught from Cotton-pods to cull,
And stretch in lines the vegetable wool;
With teeth of steel its fibre-knots unfurl'd,
And with the silver tissue clothed the world.

     "Ages remote by thee, VOLITION, taught*
Chain'd down in characters the winged thought;
With silent language mark'd the letter'd ground,
And gave to sight the evanescent sound.

     The waving flax, 1. 254. Flax is said to have been first discovered on the banks of the Nile, and Isis to have been the inventress of spinning and weaving.
     So Arkwright taught, 1. 261. See Botanic Garden, Vol. II. Canto II. 1. 87, Note.

p. 151

Now, happier lot! enlighten'd realms possess
The learned labours of the immortal Press;                    270
Nursed on whose lap the births of science thrive,
And rising Arts the wrecks of Time survive.

     "Ye patriot heroes! in the glorious cause*
Of Justice, Mercy, Liberty, and Laws,
Who call to Virtue's shrine the British youth,
And shake the senate with the voice of Truth;
Rouse the dull ear, the hoodwink'd eye unbind,
And give to energy the public mind;

     The immortal Press, 1. 270. The discovery of the art of printing has had so great influence on human affairs, that from thence may be dated a new æra in the history of mankind. As by the diffusion of general knowledge, both of the arts of taste and of useful sciences, the public mind has become improved to so great a degree, that though new impositions have been perpetually produced, the arts of detecting them have improved with greater rapidity. Hence since the introduction of printing, superstition has been much lessened by the reformation of religion; and necromancy, astrology, chiromancy, witchcraft, and vampyrism, have vanished from all classes of society; though some are still so weak in the present enlightened times as to believe in the prodigies of animal magnetism, and of metallic tractors; by this general diffusion of knowledge, if the liberty of the press be preserved, mankind will not be liable in this part of the world to sink into such abject slavery as exists at this day in China.

p. 152

While rival realms with blood unsated wage
Wide-wasting war with fell demoniac rage;                    280
In every clime while army army meets,
And oceans groan beneath contending fleets;
Oh save, oh save, in this eventful hour
The tree of knowledge from the axe of power;
With fostering peace the suffering nations bless,
And guard the freedom of the immortal Press!
So shall your deathless fame from age to age
Survive recorded in the historic page;
And future bards with voice inspired prolong
Your sacred names immortalized in song.                    290

     "Thy power ASSOCIATION next affords*
Ideal trains annex'd to volant words,
Conveys to listening ears the thought superb,
And gives to Language her expressive verb;

     Her expressive verb, 1. 294. The verb, or the word, has been so called from its being the most expressive term in all languages; as it suggests the ideas of existence, action or suffering, and of time; see the Note on Canto III. 1. 371, of this work.

p. 153

Which in one changeful sound suggests the fact
At once to be, to suffer, or to act;
And marks on rapid wing o'er every clime
The viewless flight of evanescent Time.

     "Call'd by thy voice contiguous thoughts embrace*
In endless streams arranged by Time or Place;                    300
The Muse historic hence in every age
Gives to the world her interesting page;
While in bright landscape from her moving pen
Rise the fine tints of manners and of men.

     Call'd by thy voice, 1. 299. The numerous trains of associated ideas are divided by Mr. Hume into three classes, which he has termed contiguity, causation, and resemblance. Nor should we wonder to find them thus connected together, since it is the business of our lives to dispose them into these three classes; and we become valuable to ourselves and our friends as we succeed in it. Those who have combined an extensive class of ideas by the contiguity of time or place, are men learned in the history of mankind, and of the sciences they have cultivated. Those who have connected a great class of ideas of resemblances, possess the source of the ornaments of poetry and oratory, and of all rational analogy. While those who have connected great classes of ideas of causation, are furnished with the powers of producing effects. These are the men of active wisdom who lead armies to victory, and kingdoms to prosperity; or discover and improve the sciences which meliorate and adorn the condition of humanity.

p. 154

     "Call'd by thy voice Resemblance next describes*
Her sister-thoughts in lucid trains or tribes;
Whence pleased Imagination oft combines
By loose analogies her fair designs;
Each winning grace of polish'd wit bestows
To deck the Nymphs of Poetry and Prose.                    310

     "Last, at thy potent nod, Effect and Cause*
Walk hand in hand accordant to thy laws;
Rise at Volition's call, in groups combined,
Amuse, delight, instruct, and serve Mankind;

     Polish'd wit bestows, 1. 309. Mr. Locke defines wit to consist of an assemblage of ideas, brought together with quickness and variety, wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures and agreeable visions in the fancy. To which Mr. Addison adds, that these must occasion surprise as well as delight; Spectator, Vol. I. No. LXII. See Note on Canto III. 1. 145. and Additional Note VII. 3. Perhaps wit in the extended use of the word may mean to express all kinds of fine writing, as the word Taste is applied to all agreeable visible objects, and thus wit may mean descriptive sublimity, beauty, the pathetic, or ridiculous, but when used in the confined sense, as by Mr. Locke and Mr. Addison as above, it may probably be better defined a combination of ideas with agreeable novelty, as this may be effected by opposition as well as by resemblance.

p. 155

Bid raised in air the ponderous structure stand,
Or pour obedient rivers through the land;
With cars unnumber'd crowd the living streets,
Or people oceans with triumphant fleets.

     "Thy magic touch imagined forms supplies*
From colour'd light, the language of the eyes;                    320
On Memory's page departed hours inscribes,
Sweet scenes of youth, and Pleasure's vanish'd tribes.
By thee ANTINOUS leads the dance sublime
On wavy step, and moves in measured time;
Charm'd round the Youth successive Graces throng,
And Ease conducts him, as he moves along;
Unbreathing crowds the floating form admire,
And Vestal bosoms feel forbidden fire.

     "When rapp'd CECILIA breathes her matin vow,*
And lifts to Heaven her fair adoring brow;                    330
From her sweet lips, and rising bosom part
Impassion'd notes, that thrill the melting heart;

p. 156

Tuned by thy hand the dulcet harp she rings,
And sounds responsive echo from the strings;
Bright scenes of bliss in trains suggested move,
And charm the world with melody and love.

     III. "SOON the fair forms with vital being bless'd,*
Time's feeble children, lose the boon possess'd;
The goaded fibre ceases to obey,
And sense deserts the uncontractile clay;                    340
While births unnumber'd, ere the parents die,
The hourly waste of lovely life supply;
And thus, alternating with death, fulfil
The silent mandates of the Almighty Will;
Whose hand unseen the works of nature dooms

     "Each pregnant Oak ten thousand acorns forms*
Profusely scatter'd by autumnal storms;

     The goaded fibre, 1. 339. Old age consists in the inaptitude to motion from the inirritability of the system, and the consequent want of fibrous contraction; see Additional Note VII.

p. 157

Ten thousand seeds each pregnant poppy sheds
Profusely scatter'd from its waving heads;                    350
The countless Aphides, prolific tribe,
With greedy trunks the honey'd sap imbibe;

     Ten thousand seeds, 1. 349. The fertility of plants in respect to seeds is often remarkable; from one root in one summer the seeds of zea, maize, amount to 2000; of inula, elecampane, to 3000; of helianthus, sunflower, to 4000; of papaver, poppy, 32000; of nicotiana, tobacco, to 40320; to this must be added the perennial roots, and the buds. Buds, which are so many herbs, in one tree, the trunk of which does not exceed a span in thickness, frequently amount to 10000; Lin. Phil. Bot. p. 86.
The countless Aphides, 1. 351. The aphises, pucerons, or vinefretters, are hatched from an egg in the early spring, and are all called females, as they produce a living offspring about once in a fortnight to the ninth generation, which are also all of them females; then males are also produced, and by their intercourse the females become oviparous, and deposite their eggs on the branches, or in the bark to be hatched in the ensuing spring.
     This double mode of reproduction, so exactly resembling the buds and seeds of trees, accounts for the wonderful increase of this insect, which, according to Dr. Richardson, consists of ten generations, and of fifty at an average in each generation; so that the sum of fifty multiplied by fifty, and that product again multiplied by fifty nine times, would give the product of one egg only in countless millions; to which must be added the innumerable eggs laid by the tenth generation for the renovation of their progeny in the ensuing spring.
     The honey'd sap, l. 352. The aphis punctures with its fine proboscis the sap-vessels of vegetables without any visible wound, and thus drinks the sap-juice, or vegetable chyle, as it ascends. Hence on the twigs of trees they stand with their heads downwards, as I have observed, to acquire this ascending sap-juice with greater facility.
[cont. below]

p. 158

Swarm on each leaf with eggs or embryons big,
And pendent nations tenant every twig.
Amorous with double sex, the snail and worm,
Scoop'd in the soil, their cradling caverns form;
Heap their white eggs, secure from frost and floods,
And crowd their nurseries with uncounted broods.
Ere yet with wavy tail the tadpole swims,
Breathes with new lungs, or tries his nascent limbs;                    360
Her countless shoals the amphibious frog forsakes,
And living islands float upon the lakes.

     The honey-dew on the upper surface of leaves is evacuated by these insects, as they hang on the underside of the leaves above; when they take too much of this saccharine juice during the vernal or midsummer sap-flow of most vegetables; the black powder on leaves is also their excrement at other times. The vegetable world seems to have escaped total destruction from this insect by the number of flies, which in their larva state prey upon them; and by the ichneumon fly, which deposits its eggs in them. Some vegetables put forth stiff bristles with points round their young shoots, as the moss-rose, apparently to prevent the depredation of these insects, so injurious to them by robbing them of their chyle or nourishment.
The tadpole swims, 1. 359. The progress of a tadpole from a fish to a quadruped by his gradually putting forth his limbs, and at length leaving the water, and breathing the dry air, is a subject of great curiosity, as it resembles so much the incipient state of all other quadrupeds, and men, who are aquatic animals in the uterus, and become aerial ones at their birth.

p. 159

The migrant herring steers her myriad bands
From seas of ice to visit warmer strands;
Unfathom'd depths and climes unknown explores,
And covers with her spawn unmeasured shores.
—All these, increasing by successive birth,*
Would each o'erpeople ocean, air, and earth.

     "So human progenies, if unrestrain'd,
By climate friended, and by food sustain'd,                    370
O'er seas and soils, prolific hordes! would spread
Erelong, and deluge their terraqueous bed;
But war, and pestilence, disease, and dearth,
Sweep the superfluous myriads from the earth.
Thus while new forms reviving tribes acquire*
Each passing moment, as the old expire;
Like insects swarming in the noontide bower,
Rise into being, and exist an hour;
The births and deaths contend with equal strife,
And every pore of Nature teems with Life;                    380

p. 160

Which buds or breathes from Indus to the Poles,
And Earth's vast surface kindles, as it rolls!

     "HENCE when a Monarch or a mushroom dies,*
Awhile extinct the organic matter lies;
But, as a few short hours or years revolve,
Alchemic powers the changing mass dissolve;
Born to new life unnumber'd insects pant,
New buds surround the microscopic plant;
Whose embryon senses, and unwearied frames,
Feel finer goads, and blush with purer flames;                    390

     Which buds or breathes, l. 381. Organic bodies, besides the carbon, hydrogen, azote, and the oxygen and heat, which are combined with them, require to be also immersed in loose heat and loose oxygen to preserve their mutable existence; and hence life only exists on or near the surface of the earth; see Botan. Garden, Vol. I. Canto IV. 1. 419. L'organization, le sentiment, le movement spontané, la vie, n'existent qu'à la surface de la terre, et dans les lieux exposés à la lumiére. Traité de Chimie par M. Lavoisier, Tom. I. p. 202.
     Born to new life, 1. 387. From the innumerable birds of the larger insects, and the spontaneous productions of the microscopic ones, every part of organic matter from the recrements of dead vegetable or animal bodies, on or near the surface of the earth, becomes again presently reanimated; which by increasing the number and quantity of living organizations, though many of them exist but for a short time, adds to the sum total of terrestrial happiness.

p. 161

Renascent joys from irritation spring,*
Stretch the long root, or wave the aurelian wing.

     "When thus a squadron or an army yields,*
And festering carnage loads the waves or fields;
When few from famines or from plagues survive,
Or earthquakes swallow half a realm alive;—
While Nature sinks in Time's destructive storms,
The wrecks of Death are but a change of forms;
Emerging matter from the grave returns,
Feels new desires, with new sensations burns;                    400
With youth's first bloom a finer sense acquires,
And Loves and Pleasures fan the rising fires.—
Thus sainted PAUL, 'O Death!' exulting cries,*
'Where is thy sting? O Grave! thy victories?'

     Thus sainted Paul, 1. 403. The doctrine of St. Paul teaches the resurrection of the body in an incorruptible and glorified state, with consciousness of its previous existence; he therefore justly exults over the sting of death, and the victory of the grave.

p. 162

     "Immortal Happiness from realms deceased*
Wakes, as from sleep, unlessen'd or increased;
Calls to the wise in accents loud and clear,
Sooths with sweet tones the sympathetic ear;
Informs and fires the revivescent clay,
And lights the dawn of Life's returning day.                    410

     "So when Arabia's Bird, by age oppress'd,*
Consumes delighted on his spicy nest;
A filial Phœnix from his ashes springs,
Crown'd with a star, on renovated wings;
Ascends exulting from his funeral flame,
And soars and shines, another and the same.

     And lights the dawn, 1. 410. The sum total of the happiness of organized nature is probably increased rather than diminished, when one large old animal dies, and is converted into many thousand young ones; which are produced or supported with their numerous progeny by the same organic matter. Linneus asserts, that three of the flies, called musca vomitoria, will consume the body of a dead horse, as soon as a lion can; Syst. Nat.
     So when Arabia's Bird, l. 411. The story of the Phœnix rising from its own ashes with a star upon its head seems to have been an hieroglyphic emblem of the destruction and resuscitation of all things; see Botan. Garden, Vol. I. Canto IV. 1. 389.

p. 163

     "So erst the Sage with scientific truth*
In Grecian temples taught the attentive youth;
With ceaseless change how restless atoms pass
From life to life, a transmigrating mass;                    420
How the same organs, which to day compose
The poisonous henbane, or the fragrant rose,
May with to morrow's sun new forms compile,
Frown in the Hero, in the Beauty smile.
Whence drew the enlighten'd Sage the moral plan,
That man should ever be the friend of man;
Should eye with tenderness all living forms,
His brother-emmets, and his sister-worms.

     "HEAR, O ye Sons of Time! your final doom,*
And read the characters, that mark your tomb:                    430

     So erst the Sage, 1. 417. It is probable, that the perpetual transmigration of matter from one body to another, of all vegetables and animals, during their lives, as well as after their deaths, was observed by Pythagoras; which he afterwards applied to the soul, or spirit of animation, and taught, that it passed from one animal to another as [cont. below]

p. 164

The marble mountain, and the sparry steep,
Were built by myriad nations of the deep,—
Age after age, who form'd their spiral shells,
Their sea-fan gardens and their coral cells;
Till central fires with unextinguished sway
Raised the primeval islands into day;—
The sand-fill'd strata stretch'd from pole to pole;
Unmeasured beds of clay, and marl, and coal,

a punishment for evil deeds, though without consciousness of its previous existence; and from this doctrine he inculcated a system of morality and benevolence, as all creatures thus became related to each other.
The marble mountain, 1. 431. From the increased knowledge in Geology during the present century, owing to the greater attention of philosophers to the situations of the different materials, which compose the strata of the earth, as well as to their chemical properties, it seems clearly to appear, that the nucleus of the globe beneath the ocean consisted of granite; and that on this the great beds of limestone were formed from the shells of marine animals during the innumerable primeval ages of the world; and that whatever strata lie on these beds of limestone, or on the granite, where the limestone does not cover it, were formed after the elevation of islands and continents above the surface of the sea by the recrements of vegetables and of terrestrial animals; see on this subject Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Additional Note XXIV.

p. 165 Black ore of manganese, the zinky stone,
And dusky steel on his magnetic throne,                    440
In deep morass, or eminence superb,
Rose from the wrecks of animal or herb;
These from their elements by Life combined,*
Form'd by digestion, and in glands refined,
Gave by their just excitement of the sense
The Bliss of Being to the vital Ens.

     "Thus the tall mountains, that emboss the lands,*
Huge isles of rock, and continents of sands,
Whose dim extent eludes the inquiring sight,

     Are mighty Monuments, 1. 450. The reader is referred to a few pages on this subject in Phytologia, Sect. XIX. 7. 1, where the felicity of organic life is considered more at large; but it is probable that the most certain way to estimate the happiness and misery of organic beings; as it depends on the actions of the organs of sense, which constitute ideas; or of the muscular fibres which perform locomotion; would be to consider those actions, as they are produced or excited by the four sensorial powers of irritation, sensation, volition, and association. A small volume on this subject by some ingenious writer, [cont. below]

p. 166 Shout round the globe, how Reproduction strives
With vanquish'd Death,—and Happiness survives;
How Life increasing peoples every clime,*
And young renascent Nature conquers Time;

might not only amuse, as an object of curiosity; but by showing the world the immediate sources of their pains and pleasures might teach the means to avoid the one, and to procure the other, and thus contribute both ways to increase the sum total of organic happiness.
     How Life increasing, 1. 453. Not only the vast calcareous provinces, which form so great a part of the terraqueous globe, and also whatever rests upon them, as clay, marl, sand, and coal, were formed from the fluid elements of heat, oxygen, azote, and hydrogen along with carbon, phosphorus, and perhaps a few other substances, which the science of chemistry has not yet decomposed; and gave the pleasure of life to the animals and vegetables, which formed them; and thus constitute monuments of the past happiness of those organized beings. But as those remains of former life are not again totally decomposed, or converted into their original elements, they supply more copious food to the succession of new animal or vegetable beings on their surface; which consists of materials convertible into nutriment with less labour or activity of the digestive powers; and hence the quantity or number of organized bodies, and their improvement in size, as well as their happiness, has been continually increasing, along with the solid parts of the globe; and will probably continue to increase, till the whole terraqueous sphere, and all that inhabit it shall dissolve by a general conflagration, and be again reduced to their elements.
     Thus all the suns, and the planets, which circle round them, may again, sink into one central chaos; and may again by explosions pro- [cont. below]

p. 167 —And high in golden characters record
The immense munificence of N

     "He gives and guides the sun's attractive force,*
And steers the planets in their silver course;
With heat and light revives the golden day,
And breathes his spirit on organic clay;                    460
With hand unseen directs the general cause
By firm immutable immortal laws."

     Charm'd with her words the Muse astonish'd stands,*
The Nymphs enraptured clasp their velvet hands;
Applausive thunder from the fane recoils,
And holy echoes peal along the ailes;
O'er NATURE'S shrine celestial lustres glow,
And lambent glories circle round her brow.

duce a new world; which in process of time may resemble the present one, and at length again undergo the same catastrophe! these great events may be the result of the immutable laws impressed on matter by the Great Cause of Causes, Parent of Parents, Ens Entium!

p. 168      IV. Now sinks the golden sun,—the vesper song*
Demands the tribute of U
RANIA'S tongue;                    470
Onward she steps, her fair associates calls
From leaf-wove avenues, and vaulted halls.
Fair virgin trains in bright procession move,
Trail their long robes, and whiten all the grove;
Pair after pair to Nature's temple sweep,
Thread the broad arch, ascend the winding steep;
Through brazen gates along susurrant ailes
Stream round their G
ODDESS the successive files;
Curve above curve to golden seats retire,
And star with beauty the refulgent quire.                    480

     AND first to HEAVEN the consecrated throng*
With chant alternate pour the adoring song,
Swell the full hymn, now high, and now profound,
With sweet responsive symphony of sound.
Seen through their wiry harps, below, above,
Nods the fair brow, the twinkling fingers move;

p. 169 Soft-warbling flutes the ruby lip commands,
And cymbals ring with high uplifted hands.

     To CHAOS next the notes melodious pass,*
How suns exploded from the kindling mass,                    490
Waved o'er the vast inane their tresses bright,
And charm'd young Nature's opening eyes with light.
Next from each sun how spheres reluctant burst,
And second planets issued from the first.
And then to EARTH descends the moral strain,
How isles, emerging from the shoreless main,
With sparkling streams and fruitful groves began,
And form'd a Paradise for mortal man.

     Sublimer notes record CELESTIAL LOVE,*
And high rewards in brighter climes above;                    500

     To Chaos next, 1. 489.

Namque canebat uti magnum per inane coacta
Semina terrarumque, animæque, marisque fuissent;
Et liquidi simul ignis; ut his exordia primis
Omnia, et ipse tener mundi concreverit orbis. VIRG. Ec. VI. 1. 31.
p. 170 How Virtue's beams with mental charm engage
Youth's raptured eye, and warm the frost of age,
Gild with soft lustre Death's tremendous gloom,
And light the dreary chambers of the tomb.
How fell Remorse shall strike with venom'd dart,
Though mail'd in adamant, the guilty heart;
Fierce furies drag to pains and realms unknown
The blood-stain'd tyrant from his tottering throne.

     By hands unseen are struck aerial wires,*
And Angel-tongues are heard amid the quires;                    510
From aile to aile the trembling concord floats,
And the wide roof returns the mingled notes,
Through each fine nerve the keen vibrations dart,
Pierce the charm'd ear, and thrill the echoing heart.—

     MUTE the sweet voice, and still the quivering strings,*
Now Silence hovers on unmoving wings.—
—Slow to the altar fair URANIA bends
Her graceful march, the sacred steps ascends,

p. 171 High in the midst with blazing censer stands,
And scatters incense with illumined hands:                    520
Thrice to the G
ODDESS bows with solemn pause,
With trembling awe the mystic veil withdraws,
And, meekly kneeling on the gorgeous shrine,
Lifts her ecstatic eyes to T



EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 1. Note that this long opening speech on the miseries of life (1-134) is spoken by the poet's Muse, not Urania.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 6. "Sense": pertaining to immediate gratification of the physical senses.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 7. 7n means "Blessed is he whose mind had power to probe / The causes of things and trample underfoot / All terrors and inexorable fate / And the clamour of devouring Acheron" (Virgil, The Georgics, II, 490-2). The passage is generally recognized as Virgil's homage to Lucretius for prioritizing the scientific study of nature over superstitious fears about this or the next life. Despite local arguments with Lucretius on whether the universe was formed from atoms by chance or inevitable natural laws (see 147n below), Darwin presents himself here as an unequivocally Lucretian scientist-poet.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 16. "Sanguine": bloody. It is the nature of Pity (or Sympathy) to shudder in concord with others, but real brutality can drive it away altogether.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 17. From the absence of sympathy in human warfare we move to the animal kingdom. As her milk dries up, the mother wolf teaches her cub to hunt—perhaps deliberately, the image of cruelty is complicated by the mother's concern for her child (the "storge" of Additional Note IX).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 19. The passage from Virgil's Eclogue II (63-4) quoted in 19n applies broadly to the whole passage from 17-22, rather than specifically to the lines on the eagle: "The wild-eyed lioness pursues the wolf; the wolf pursues the kid; the kid herself goes gambolling in search of flowering clover." In Eclogue II (which Byron called "That horrid one / Beginning with Formosum pastor Corydon" [Don Juan, I, 42]), the speaker Corydon uses this description of violence right down the food-chain to convey the power of his same-sex passion for Alexis, continuing "And I chase you." Similar erotic implications seem to surface in 23-8, where the "sweet notes" (24) of the nightingale ("minstrel of the night") betray it to the owl who, though amorously "smit[ten]," does not "spare" it (23). In a continuation down the pecking-order, the owl's treatment is repeated in its victim's similar amorousness to its prey the "radiant" (25) glow-worm, and the latter's murderous "slay[ing]" (28) of the flower, another emblem of beauty.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 31. We now descend to the insect kingdom, starting with the parasitic horrors amplified by the coolly scientific tone of 29n and 33n. "Living way" (31) indicates how the bot-fly larva journeys through living flesh; "mines its silky course" (35) how the ichneumon larva steals the host's silk while burrowing through it. Compared to these horrid intimacies, the predatory and military aggression of dragonflies and bees seem fairly straightforward.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 41. Continuing down the scale, plants too show aggression in their contest for resources above and below ground, and the lethal parasitism of ivy. "Mancinella" (49) is the manchineel or hippomane, a poisonous South American tree, described thus in The Loves of the Plants, III, 188n: "the dew-drops, which fall from it, are so caustic as to blister the skin, and produce dangerous ulcers; whence many have found their death by sleeping in its shade."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 51. According to Phytologia, mildew is a fungus which grows on corn whose upper leaves are too dense, or when overshadowed by other plants; it can be prevented by "thinning the plant, or removing those in its vicinity, so as to admit more light, and greater ventilation" (Phytologia, p. 321).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 55. We continue physically downwards, underwater. The shark's attack is "descending" (57) because the extension of its nose over its mouth prevents it striking upwards (see 57n), in contrast to the upward-opening jaw of the crocodile (59n). The whale's gape is "sepulchral" because it is its victims' tomb, but there is also a subliminal evocation of a deep, bored yawn of indifference.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 63. This devastating summation of a Nature driven by hunger into murderous competition at every level—rather than just in the shape of a few ferocious animals—echoes Phytologia, p. 556: "Such is the condition of organic nature! whose first law might be expressed in the words, "Eat or be eaten!" and which would seem to be one great slaughter-house, one universal scene of rapacity and injustice!" As noted by Desmond King-Hele (Erasmus Darwin: A Life of Unequalled Achievement, pp. 74-79), such passages anticipate Tennyson's vision of "Nature, red in tooth and claw" (In Memoriam, lvi) which, though perhaps a response to Robert Chambers's Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), is often seen as a striking prevision of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (1859). Note, however, how 66n optimistically envisions the artificial production of food which will—somehow—stop animals murdering plants and each other.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 67. The Muse returns to the miseries of man. 67 is on one level clear enough, but perhaps carries the evolutionary implication that though we are lifted ("elate") by thought almost physically into a standing position ("erect") which appropriately places the organ of thought ("brow") at the top, this process is reversed by death. The love of others for us (and perhaps vice versa) cannot save us, nor can the virtues of even the best—a theme which will be taken up later in Urania's response.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 71. 71-74 lists various things which "oppress" us. Cold and hunger do so by "defect" of action (as explained 71n); heat and overindulgence ("Repletion"—see too the "Luxury" of 75 and "Ebriety" or drunkenness of 77-82) by excess of it. The latter also applies to overwork, especially when combined with torture in the form of slavery (73-4)—which Darwin had attacked at greater length in The Economy of Vegetation (II, 421-30), as part of a concerted Lunar Society campaign. The British slave trade was only abolished in 1807, and slavery itself within the Empire in 1834.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 77. An example of the chains of unhealthy consequences ("Disease's trains," 75) brought on by a generally excessive lifestyle ("Luxury") is drunkenness ("Ebriety"), personified as a harlot (81) who kills more people than war does, not by venereal disease but through gout, dropsy, paralysis and other ailments such as (perhaps) the chronic pain and ("grinning"?) insanity brought on by torpor of the liver. All these are listed in Zoonomia (vol. I, 367-8), where Darwin argues that gout is caused solely by alcohol rather than overeating as generally thought; he also attacks drunkenness in The Loves of the Plants (III, 363-8). Though Darwin's anger at cruelty to animals is laudable, the idea of alcohol as their revenge (82) seems rather a side-leap, though the thought is probably suggested by the quotation in 77n: "Luxury, more ruthless than war, broods over Rome, and exacts vengeance for a conquered world." It is not, however, from Horace but Juvenal (Satire VI, 292-3).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 83. As on 89, "There" balances the "Here" of 77, adding superstition and madness to the things which "oppress" mankind (71) or possibly to the consequences of Luxury (75). But though no connection with drunkenness is logically needed, Zoonomia (vol. I, pp. 362-3) lists madness and "superstitious fear" among the effects of its suspension of voluntary power. As in many coded infidel attacks on "superstition" (irrational religious belief), Darwin's account of fears of damnation throwing a "deeper shadow" (87) over the grave could clearly be applied to most forms of Christianity, even though 87n applies it particularly to Methodism, ingeniously prescribing theatrical ridicule as a cure for the "intellectual cowardice" its "theatric preachers" play on. The most successful of over twenty farces by Samuel Foote (1720-1777) was his satire of Methodism, The Minor (1760).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 89. Whereas madness unthrones reason, melancholy claims to be reason, using the "voluntary" power absent in madness to see things at their worst. For Darwin's complex definition of "association" (93n), see Canto III (85-92): here the main idea is that past displeasurable associations trigger unnecessary, purely mental ("ideal") sufferings, as when childhood experiences of biting glass cups still set our teeth on edge at similar sounds (94n). Though the "Call for the dead" drowned in the sea of Time (95) could apply to any such reliving of past associations, the whole passage from 90-96 evokes the melancholic "graveyard poetry" of Young, Gray and others.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 97. A new "Here"/"There" list segues from mental torments to vices. The miser "guards" his treasure from the poor in not giving charity, but perhaps also in denying with his bolts the right their hunger would give them to steal it. 97n quotes Juvenal's Satire XIV, 136-7: "It's craziness, no doubt about it, plain lunatic folly, / spending your life in squalor, just to die a millionaire" (Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires, 109). De-inverted, 101-2 mean: "Imposture, your false appearances fool unthinking crowds: the apparently humbly religious (like the Methodists of 87n) may be wolves in sheep's clothing."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 109. The often-deadly effects of Ambition, Envy and Jealousy are followed by those of floods, volcanoes, earthquakes and starvation. "Involves" (112) means "wraps"; "inhumes" (113) means "buries"; "nations" (114) can be "native" communities of various sizes, "living" only for the brief moment of their entombment by the earthquake. Famine is "unsated" (116) because she takes millions of victims, but also as a personification of them.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 117. Famine ("Dearth") is often accompanied by epidemic diseases. Though "shuddering earth" (118) and "airs volcanic" (119) could simply be taken as metaphors for the fearfulness and noxiousness of epidemics, 119n insists that these are actually caused by volcanoes and their accompanying earthquakes. The indicated passage from The Economy of Vegetation relates this to the desert wind the Simoom, and those near Vesuvius; a following note (The Economy of Vegetation, IV, 82n) states "The volcanic vapours which cause epidemic coughs, are to be ranked amongst poisons, rather than amongst the miasmata, which produce contagious diseases." These latter are bred wherever organic matter is decaying: the "putrid vaults" (120) into which Pestilence dips her arrows.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 123. The Muse concludes her list of horrors by pointing out that the "sympathy" earlier celebrated as good in itself (see III, 467-96) simply adds to the pain of living in such a cruel world. Her sighs and tears over the fact of death temporarily identify her with "the Muse of Melancholy" glimpsed in Canto I's description of the Temple, in a passage (I, 105-28) closely prefiguring this whole section. "Sublunary" (124) means "beneath the moon," i.e. "of this world," though the literal sense is particularly apt when discussing changefulness.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 130. The first time we have heard the word "sentimental" separated from "love" (see III, 177-86)—which has now become "pain." 130n exemplifies the debate raging in this period about the proper limits of "sentiment" and "sensibility" (two terms often used interchangeably). Darwin's stern insistence that to destroy one's own happiness through excessive sympathy with others is reprehensible in decreasing "the sum total of public happiness" echoes the "happiness calculus" of utilitarians such as Jeremy Bentham. The note summarizes parts of Darwin's A Plan for the Conduct of Female Education in Boarding Schools (1797), Section XVII, "Compassion" (pp. 48-9).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 131. We are reminded that Sympathy is an attribute of Reflection (III, 445-78) by the imagery of the mind seeking external brightness and light. Like "sublunary," "terrene" (133) means "of this world," and perhaps builds us towards an expectation that Man must seek "the Goodness of his God" (134) outside it. The Muse's questions echo Phytologia, p. 556, which follow Darwin's ruminations on the world as a slaughter-house: "Where shall I find a benevolent idea to console us amid so much apparent misery?" His response prefigures parts of Urania's reply to the Muse throughout the rest of this canto.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 135. Urania ("The Nymph") takes over, her indignation at mortals' bewailing of the fact of death echoing that of the personified Nature in Lucretius's De Rerum Natura III, 931-62. "Ye Sons of Time" reminds us that we are created by time as well as destroyed by it, and her address to us over the Muse's head reminds us that sometimes the poetic imagination can be led astray through the subjective feelings of the moment ("melancholy mood," 139). The scales weighing good against evil must be held firmly not tremulously, and everything must be included. "Libration" (143) can mean either "balance" or "oscillation," here clearly the latter: the beam of the scales "nods" and "subsides" on the good side (144).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 145. The repeated "Hear, O ye Sons of Time!" lends an incantatory note as Urania starts to sum up the good points described in the poem so far. Life's "arrest" of the elements of matter (see II, 37-44) prompts the highly condensed deistic argument of 147n: the "ancient philosophers, who contended that the world was formed from atoms" were Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius who, however, ascribed their combination into larger objects to blind chance. For Darwin, these thinkers' atomism was correct, but not their failure to realize that atoms combined according to "immutable" attractive forces such as gravity, chemical affinity and (at the organic level) active desire. Had they realized this, the doctrine of atoms would have strengthened our belief in cause and effect, because the same laws produce the same results in so many cases. Since, for Darwin, the idea of causality leading back to an ultimate "first cause" is the only basis for belief in God, atomism should be seen as supporting this belief rather than the "atheism" for which the Epicureans were notorious. Darwin may also have in mind Hume, whose scepticism as to whether causation could ever be proved led to a devastating assault on deistic "natural religion," the shared ground between orthodox Christians and rational materialists such as Darwin.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 149. "The powers of life" (145) enable the potentially organic matter to absorb other particles (see I, 255-8), and thus give it the initial happiness of existence as a living organism. (See Phytologia, p. 559: "a degree of pleasurable sensation must be supposed . . . to attend this activity of their systems [i.e. ingestion, digestion and secretion].") Starting with this one, many other new "trains" (152) or sequences of pleasures arise from the purely physical processes of "irritation"—rolling their blue eyes to indicate that they are "young" or born in us alongside existence itself. The capitalization of "Irritation" alerts us that Urania also plans to take us through the pleasures of Sensation, Volition and Association, the other three "faculties of the sensorium" (see Additional Note II). Phytologia (p. 556) apologizes for listing only the pleasures of irritation, but promises that the "happiness derived from imagination and volition may be treated of in some future work."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 153. In enumerating life's good points, Urania skips the rest of evolution to follow up the pleasures of Irritation at the human level, starting with such pleasures of nature as cool breezes, sunshine, smelling flowers, eating fruit, birdsong and falling in love.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 159. The pleasures of landscape are conveyed through a carefully composed scene combining elements of the sublime, picturesque and beautiful. The "huge rocks" (161) are sublime in their size, the suggestion of violence in "opposing," and their nakedness; the ragged "fringe" of the woods (163) and "checker'd shadows" on the water (164) are picturesque in their relish of unevenness; the smoothly sloping grassland ("lawns," 165) are beautiful in themselves and in the sense of calm orderliness with which they "construct" the scene which unfolds to one side of the sublime rocks ("sidelong," 165), "guiding" the stream, "conducting" the gentle wind ("pausing gale," 167) and even seeming to ensure that the echoes "talk" in subdued tones (168) along a valley which leads our eyes to the distance where dim hills rise to close the scene in approved Claudian manner. 160n gives three reasons—two irritative and one associative—for our enjoying such scenes: simply exercising the eyes; allowing one action or impression to "relieve" the other by variety; and evoking such associations as sublimity and beauty. III, 230n, to which he refers us, relates the picturesque to objects "neither sublime nor beautiful" but conveying "an agreeable sentiment of novelty," by a combination of "variety and intricacy" with "a due degree of regularity or uniformity."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 171. We move to the pleasures of music. Despite the eighteenth-century abundance of other great German and Austrian composers, the British-domiciled George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) is usually taken as the composer par excellence in writing of this period. Again we move from the potentially terrifying sublime (174) to the smoothly melodious beautiful (178), here with religious music (perhaps from Handel's Messiah) transcending both (181). 178n again gives priority to the simple pleasures of physical "irritation": music exercises our hearing in itself, and by allowing one auditory "action" to relieve another through contrast. Unlike with landscape, however, the third point involves the idea of "volition," arising from our active involvement in the music through the expectations of rhythmic or metrical repetition—and those of rhyme, if we extend this idea to verse. Fourth ("lastly"), there are again the pleasures built up by past pleasurable associations with certain musical forms.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 183. "Next by SENSATION led" notifies us that we are moving through "Pleasure's trains" systematically, in terms of what Additional Note II calls the four "faculties of the sensorium": irritation (153-82), sensation (183-222), volition (223-90), and association (291-336). Existing somewhere between the raw sense-data of irritation and the mental activity based on this, sensation is perhaps the hardest of Darwin's quaternity to define. Here, the "new joys" (183) of sensation are produced in the mind ("in swarms ideal," 185) from the raw materials of irritative pleasure ("excited sense," 184). As Fancy, these lend an extra pleasure to everything around us ("o'er all," 187), create new, imaginary phenomena ("unreal things," 188) and provide us with the aesthetic sense ("sentiment and taste," 190) which enables us to create works of art such as architecture ("the level and the rule," 191), painting, sculpture (192), and poetry in both pastoral and epic modes (193-4). All our ideas of beauty and love arise from Fancy, personified as a "nymph" (195).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 197. "So" means "thanks to Fancy," which enables the Patriot to love and idealize his country, in a way that will lead him either to the laurels of victory (199) or honoured death (200). Fancy also provides the religious visions of the cloistered nun (201), while washing or dressing at her "toilet" (202) or asleep in her dreams (203).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 205. Far less ambiguous examples of Fancy's idealizing power are the prison reforms instigated by John Howard (1726-90), Francis Rawdon, Second Earl of Moira (1754-1826) and Sir Francis Burdett (1770-1884). Though Darwin presents them acting together as "The Friends of Man" (212), the three operated at different times and sometimes for different ends: whereas Howard's investigations led to a general amelioration of prison conditions in the 1770s, Burdett had placed himself at the head of the radical movement by agitating on behalf of a specific group of imprisoned radicals, as recently as 1799. (Moira's prison reforming activities do not loom particularly large in his biography.) "Want, or woe, or guilt" (206) succinctly summarizes progressive objections to the penal "bloody code" in which debt or petty theft—into which many were driven by poverty—were punished equally with cases of real "guilt." "Pity's torch" (207), bringing light into darkness, recalls the "beamy forehead" of "the Seraph Sympathy" who "Unbars the prison" at the end of Canto III (468, 475).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 217. The three reformers are greeted by "Imagination" partly because they are inspiring to others, but mainly because it is she (or Fancy) who has inspired their own efforts: it took sympathetic imagination to realize that the Law's "stern behest" (214) needed to be "assuaded" (213) to change. The whole passage has a feeling of triumphant crescendo, in which Darwin's support for the still controversial Burdett is protected by association with the more universally revered Howard.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 223. We move from Sensation/Fancy to Volition, which gives rise to the "comparing power" of Reason (225). "Science" (224) means knowledge and thought, whose "plans" are put into practice by "art" (constructive ability). Among Volition/Reason's first achievements were the provision of warmth and shelter through fire, clothing and housing (226, 230-1), as well as tools for food and self-defence. "Plastic" (232) means "forming."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 233. Leaping to the modern era, Newton remains the outstanding example of Reason's achievements: his marking of the "periods of revolving time" (234) denotes the precise observations of regular planetary motions which led to his discovery of the hidden ("latent") laws of gravity and motion. Sir William Herschel (1738-1822) follows Newton's "radiant journey" (238) into the darkness of space, inventing a new type of reflecting telescope—and perhaps also borrowing some of his enlightenment from Newton (237)—to detect the satellites ("guards") of Uranus, the planet he himself discovered in 1781 and named "Georgium sidus" or "the Georgian star" (239-40).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 241. As 242n explains, the Greek scientist Archimedes (287-212 BC) worked on problems by drawing them in the sand with his staff ("scientific wand"), for which he was derided by "pure" intellectuals like some of the snobbish critics of Darwin and his inventor-friends. One of Archimedes's most famous inventions was an enormous grabber-crane ("mechanic grasp," 243) which picked up enemy ships besieging Syracuse; his second most famous statement (after "Eureka!") was that if he had a point to stand on and a lever, he could move the earth (248).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 249. As 249n indicates, the steam-pump invented by Captain Thomas Savery (1650-1715) is more fully described in The Economy of Vegetation, I, 253-62 and 254n, which goes on to discuss its improvement and application to a range of industrial uses by Darwin's Lunar friends James Watt and Matthew Boulton. 249-50 suggest that Savery used the expansive ("explosive") power of steam to work the pump by raising a pivoted beam, but 249n clarifies that the real work is done by the vacuum produced when the steam is suddenly condensed, sucking down one end of the beam whose other end rises to suck water upwards elsewhere. The imagery of the moving beam as a "nodding" giant-form is borrowed from the passage in The Economy of Vegetation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 253. We move to the creation of textiles. All the fertile land within the branches of the Nile Delta could be described as an "isle" (254); Isis was the Nature-goddess who legendarily taught the Egyptians (255; poetic diction allows "taught" to be used without a specific object) how to separate, spin and weave flax. Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-92) was the inventor of the water-powered spinning-frame and, with the 1771 establishment of his cotton mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, one of the early giants of the Industrial Revolution. According to Desmond King-Hele (Erasmus Darwin: A Life of Unequalled Achievement, pp. 202-4), Darwin defended Arkwright's right to his patents in 1785, and persuaded fellow "Lunaticks" Watt and Boulton—who disliked him—to do likewise. The lack of an object to "taught" in 261—though conventionally allowed, see 255—helps to elide the slaves who actually pick the cotton with the mill-workers who extract ("cull") it from the pods and the machines which stretch and spin it. The Loves of the Plants, II, 87n (indicated in 261n) describes the process at greater length, and predicts that (as in 264) cotton cloth "will become the principle clothing of mankind."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 265. The next section discusses the development of writing. De-inverted, 265-6 mean: "Remote ages—taught by you, Volition!—chained their fleeting thoughts down in legible characters," thus overcoming the evanescence (268) of speech. First people wrote on the ground, but now we have the printing press; virtually synonymous with Enlightenment (269), as 270n argues.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 273. The most political moment in the poem, intertwining the themes of the liberty of the press and the making or maintenance of peace with France (which lasted from the Treaty of Amiens, March 1802 until May 1803, though preliminaries were in the air from 1801, when Darwin may have written this passage). Since "shake the senate" (276) conventionally means to address Parliament brilliantly from within rather than threaten it from without, the "patriot heroes" (273) are probably the Foxite Whigs, who were broadly opposed both to the war and to the Pitt government's increasing suppression of freedom of the press through the 1790s. With Pitt's (temporary) fall in 1801, the still essentially conservative new government of Henry Addington (later Lord Sidmouth) began peace negotiations and made overtures to the Whigs, some of whose supporters may have now felt they at last had a chance of power (though this was blocked by George III). "Patriot" more often meant "radical" than "jingoistic" at this time, and these patriots' dedication to Mercy and Liberty as well as Justice and Law, their appeal to the younger generation, their senate-shaking performances and general dash and "energy" (278) suggest the brilliant Fox, Sheridan and Erskine rather than either the anti-press Pitt or the somewhat lacklustre Addington team. 279-82 establish the context of what were becoming the Napoleonic Wars; 283-4 combines the image of the "tree of knowledge" audaciously celebrated in Canto II (439-42) with the radical symbol of the Tree of Liberty, constantly threatened by the "axe" of government repression. 285-6 spell out the twin planks of Darwin's favoured policy, taking it for granted that the fears engendered by war underlay the various gagging acts leading to the prosecutions of radical writers and reading societies throughout the 1790s, as well as attacks by government-funded publications such as The Anti-Jacobin on Darwin's own work.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 291. Should read "Thy power, ASSOCIATION, next . . . ." As we turn to the powers of association (290-336), many points from Canto III (269-410) are repeated with something of a sense of déjà vu. The account of how we attach chains of ideas to flying words (292), and the particular attention to the range of meanings expressible in a single verb (294-5)—existence, passivity or action, at the time conveyed by the tense (296-8)—echoes III, 371-84 and particularly 371n (as 294n indicates).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 299. "Thy voice" is association's. 299-304 consider association of temporally or spatially contiguous ideas as the province of history (299-301), which interests us (302) through its vivid depictions of the specific details ("fine tints") of human society (304). The key to 299-318 is given in 299n, copied verbatim from Zoonomia (vol. I, p. 66). In A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), the sceptical philosopher David Hume (1711-76) argues that "The qualities, from which [the association of ideas] arises, and by which the mind is . . . conveyed from one idea to another, are three, viz. resemblance, contiguity in time or place, and cause and effect" (Book I, Part 1, section 4). The first two of these correspond to the two main sources of fanciful figures of speech we would now call metaphor and metonymy. By aligning causality with these, as a fundamentally mental operation, Hume initiates the Treatise's general strategy to demote causation from objective status to that of a habit of mind: something Darwin would probably not agree with, given the high value he places on the scientific ability to identify real causes and effects.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 305. 305-10 discuss Hume's category of metaphoric resemblance. Directed by Association ("thy voice," as in 299), Resemblance classes ideas in terms of "sister"-like similarity (306), providing the "loose analogies" (308) by which Imagination decorates poetry and prose. The term "loose analogy" recalls the manifesto-like opening sentence of the "Advertisement" to The Botanic Garden: "The general design of the following sheets is to inlist Imagination under the banner of Science; and to lead her votaries from the looser analogies, which dress out the imagery of poetry, to the stricter ones which form the ratiocination of philosophy." These stricter, scientific analogies can perhaps be related to the "rational analogy" mentioned in 299n. 309n refers to the well-known definition of wit in Book II, chapter 11, section 2 of An Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690) by John Locke (1621-1704), and to the further comment by Joseph Addison (1672-1719) in The Spectator (11 May, 1711) that "every Resemblance of Ideas is not that which we call Wit, unless it be such an one that gives Delight and Surprize to the Reader."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 311. Continuing his analysis of Hume's categories, Darwin gives pride of place to the ability to link causes with effects. Assisted by the power to make active use of it ("Volition," 313), the knowledge of causality brings pleasure and knowledge (314) as well as enabling us to construct buildings, canals ("obedient rivers," 316), carriages and ships.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 319. Association's other gifts include the ability to relate visual impressions to known objects (319-20), to retain memories of the past (321-2), and to translate the rhythms of music into those of dance (323-8). Antinous was the emperor Hadrian's boyfriend, a famously graceful statue of whom is discussed at length in Hogarth's Analysis of Beauty (see note to III. 230n). III, 293-6 stresses the association between different senses whereby the dancer "Learns from the ear the concordance of time," but here Antinous's "Ease" of movement (326) also relates to III, 85-92, where a learned "Association" of one movement with the next enables a harpist to play apparently spontaneously.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 329. For "rapp'd," read "rapt." Cecilia is the patron saint of music, here portrayed singing a morning hymn ("matin vow"). De-inverted, 331-2 mean that the notes which thrill her sympathizing hearers depart from her lips and energetically breathing bosom. Her harp accompaniment displays the types of physical association between senses and movements mentioned above (my note to 319), while her hearers receive heavenly images through the association of ideas.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 337. With an abrupt switch of mood and topic, Urania reverts to the Muse's complaints about the brevity and cruelty of life. Despite all the pleasures just listed, all organisms are Time's children (see "Sons of Time" 135, 145) and must eventually die. As their bodies lose their ability to contract in response to stimuli, their senses decay (339-40). On the other hand, they are more than replaced by their offspring (341-2), as decreed by the First Cause, though the natural laws behind ageing and death are not yet fully understood ("silent mandates," 344; "laws unknown," 346; see too the opening of Additional Note VII). The ending of 346 echoes the burial service and Job, I, 21: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 347. From here to 368, Darwin lists specially prolific species: oaks, poppies, aphids, snails, worms, frogs and herrings. The "double sex" of "amorous" snails and worms (355) is explained in Additional Note VIII: "many insects are hermaphrodite, as shell-snails and dew-worms" athough these "copulate with each other, and are believed not to be able to impregnate themselves." The "living islands" of 362 are frogspawn, left by the mother. 359n repeats the suggestion of I, 295n that, in later evolutionist terminology, "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny."

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 367. Somewhat apruptly, 367-8 shift from the celebration of natural fertility to a concern about overpopulation. 369-74 relate this to man, following the arguments of Thomas Malthus in An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), to the effect that conditions we might take to be unquestionably beneficial—good climate, adequate food and lack of war and disease—would lead to disastrous overpopulation. While accepting Malthus's argument that war, disease and famine are necessary to remove the "superfluous myriads" (374), Darwin shows no sign of accepting his anti-progressive corollary (aimed particularly at radicals such as William Godwin) that all attempts to better the living conditions of the masses are doomed to failure. The "terraquaeous bed" (372) is the earth, comprising the land and sea ("seas and soils," 371) which would both be swamped by "unrestrain'd" (369) population growth.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 375. The sentence from 375-82 would be clearer if commas replaced the semicolons. In summary, 375-79 mean: "Thus, while self-renewing species continually acquire new bodies as the old ones die, and while each individual only lives (metaphorically) for an hour, as some insects actually do, the numbers of births and deaths balance each other." The sentence then changes direction, to emphasize Nature's fecundity in producing both plants and animals ("Life; / Which buds or breathes," 381). "Kindle" (382) can mean "give birth" as well as "catch fire," though the second meaning subliminally helps the beautiful image of the earth coming alive before our eyes as a single vast organism (see too "every pore of Nature," 380), in a way reminiscent of James Lovelock's idea of the earth as "Gaia" (see James Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 383. The juxtaposing of monarchs and mushrooms has a nicely republican ring, as well as reaffirming Darwin's constant theme of the unity of all organic life. The idea that decaying bodies "add to the sum total of human happiness" (387n) by having "every part" of their organic matter recycled, to produce more beings than existed before, has its macabre side. The idea that the new insects and plants which feed off dead bodies feel "finer goads" and "purer flames" (390) can be related to the argument in Phytologia (p. 557) that new organisms are "more irritable and more sensible" than those they feed on, and hence "more pleasurable sensation exists in the world, as the organized matter is taken from a state of less irritability and less sensibility, and converted into a state of greater." In Phytologia, this leads into the argument (earlier encountered in Canto II, 3n of this poem) that "before mankind introduced rational society . . . old age was unknown on earth" since ageing creatures were immediately killed. As a "ray of light" to comfort the Muse (IV, 133), this insistence on the young constantly destroying and feeding off the old is not wholly convincing.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 391. Pleasure is reborn in the greater "irritability" of the young corpse-eaters, impelling their roots to grow and golden butterfly wings to flap.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 393. Phytologia (pp. 558-9) discussed above (my note to 383) describes how a philosophical friend read Darwin's notes in his library, and, perhaps ironically, celebrated the number of new organisms produced from the 40,000 corpses provided by a recent massive defeat of the Russians by the French (probably the Second Battle of Zurich, 1799). Despite the irony, this probably inspired the battle-scene of 393-4. "The wrecks of Death are but a change of forms" (398) sums up the Eleusinian hierophant Urania's response to the Muse's, or Mystery initiate's, fears of death. Again, the enhanced sensitivity ("finer sense," 401) and hence pleasure of the new organisms is stressed.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 403. See I Corinthians, XV. 55. With breathtaking cheek, 403n translates St Paul's notion of "the resurrection of the body" in heaven into Darwin's own idea that "every part" of the dead body's organic matter is reborn in other organisms (see 387n); though it is less clear how the "consciousness of its previous existence" is retained—especially given 417n's apparent approval of Pythagoras's idea of transmigration, where this consciousness is specifically lacking. Perhaps Darwin simply means that, once inducted by him, we know that our own bodies consist of the remains of previous organisms.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 405. By making "Immortal Happiness," rather than the individual being, the subject of a resurrection narrative, Darwin converts Death's victory into that of Life. "Reviviscent" (409) means "returning to life." 410n repeats the point from Phytologia about increase of pleasure, discussed in my note to 383.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 411. As 411n indicates, 411-16 repeat the image of the phoenix from The Economy of Vegetation, IV (377-80, not 389), though only the last lines of the passages are identical. "Consumes" (412) here means "is consumed by fire"; "delighted" stresses the old phoenix's pleasure in its own destruction, also symbolized by the luxurious "spiciness" of its pyre. The star crowning the young phoenix (414) has a cosmic significance in The Economy of Vegetation, where the phoenix-image is used to illustrate the inevitable future implosion of the universe, leading to the recreation of its stars in another "big bang." But stars on the forehead often symbolize the rising "morning star" of future hope in poetry of the period, sometimes (as in Shelley) with radical-atheistic, Luciferian overtones.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 417. As 417n indicates, the "Sage" is Pythagoras, whose doctrine of the transmigration of souls Darwin takes to be based on his scientifically accurate observation of the transferral of organic matter and hence the "spirit of animation" from one body to another (see my note to 403 for further points). The corollary, that we should look on ants ("emmets," 428) and worms as our brothers and sisters, tallies well with Darwin's own sense of the relatedness of all life.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 429. Once again we are addressed as "Sons of Time" as Urania approaches the climax of her speech. The image of the writing ("characters," 430) on our collective tomb has two meanings: the words with which she is about to sum up our life and final destination ("doom"); and the traces of its origins legible from the rocks of our tomb the earth—appropriately starting with the marble from which headstones are made. As touched on in Canto I (265-8), and as described at length in The Economy of Vegetation (Additional Notes XV-XX; XXII-XXIII), "calcareous" rocks such as marble and fluorspar (431) are formed from the shells and corals (including "sea-fan," 434) of sea-creatures. The whole earth was under water until its molten centre ("central fires," 435) erupted in volcanoes and earthquakes which created land (436), since when numerous further strata have been added: "marl" (438) is chalky clay, "zinky stone" (439) zinc ore. From deep bogs to high mountains, all these strata are made from animal or plant remains (442).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 443. The referent of "These" is not quite clear, but either the dead plants and animals, or the minerals they gave rise to, gave the pleasure of life to new organisms through life's ability to combine, re-form and refine their elements. The basic idea of these rather convoluted lines is spelled out in 453n.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 447. The few pages from Phytologia referred to in 450n (pp. 556-60) conclude: "We hence acquire this sublime and interesting idea; that all the calcareous mountains in the world, and all the strata of clay, coal, marl, sand, and iron, which are incumbent on them, are MONUMENTS OF THE PAST FELICITY OF ORGANIZED NATURE!—CONSEQUENTLY OF THE BENEVOLENCE OF THE DEITY!"

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 453. 453n throws useful light on the lines 443-6, as well as on the poem's key claim that pleasure is perpetually increasing. It then switches abruptly to considering the eventual future re-collapse of the universe before its re-emergence in another big bang. The idea is treated poetically in The Economy of Vegetation (IV, 371-80)—where 369n ascribes it to Herschel's observations that nebulae are approaching each other, and "must finally coalesce in one mass"—but it is perhaps understandable that Darwin omits it from Urania's attempts to cheer the Muse up, while feeling honour-bound to mention it in a footnote.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 457. Finishing her triumphant oration, Urania takes us back to the very start of the poem, echoing I, 22 where Immortal Love girds the planets in a silver zone (458) and concluding with a "Q.E.D."-like verbatim repetition of the poem's very first line (462; I, 1).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 463. We return to the now-convinced Muse and virgins in the temple ("fane," 465). The "applausive thunder" may simply be their applause, or (as "holy echoes" suggests, 466) the actual thunder with which classical gods such as Zeus would express their approval of human doings. The illumination of the figure of Nature herself (467-8) may likewise be a special sign of her approval, or an indication that she is now seen with full appreciation by the Muse and her train.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 469. We are reminded that Urania's lesson has lasted a day, from the "breezy dawn" of I, 155, to the present sunset when, as priestess, she is due to deliver the evening hymn ("vesper song"). Summoning the visiting and the (presumably) indigenous virgins (471), she approaches the temple proper: though we seemed to already be there in 467-8, its centre is now presented more fully as a multi-storeyed church choir ("quire," 480), whose congregation surrounds the large figure of the goddess on a series of levels (479).

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 481. Though the first hymn is to Heaven, it is noticeable that no specific content is indicated: all the emphasis falls on the sublimity of the music, as in the description of Cecilia (329-36). "Chant alternate" (482) and "responsive symphony" (484) suggest the polyphony of choral music. The "brow" and "lip" of 486-7 are each really plural although, by an accepted convention, the singular "the" picks them out for particular attention.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 489. The next hymn is, by contrast, rich in content. Though nominally concerning Chaos, it covers much of the material of Canto I, particularly 227-34, 321-30, 371-400. The "vast inane" (491) is the empty void; the suns' "tresses" are their rays. The "isles" (496) which constituted the first land "began" (497) with streams and groves in the sense that their sustaining supplies of water and plant-life predated the presence of the land animals culminating in man. The equation of land with Paradise (498) reminds us that Darwin is shadowing the biblical creation story here, as in the emphasis on the big bang's inaugural creation of light.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 499. The "Celestial Love" celebrated here is at once the "Immortal Love" of I, 15-32, the "Sentimental Love" of II, 177-206 (associated in II, 178n with the "celestial" Eros), and the "Beauty, Grace, and Love" which inspire the patriot, nun and prison reformer to virtue (IV, 196-222). The "brighter climes above" (500) are obviously intended to suggest the Christian afterlife, but within the context of the rest of the poem seem to indicate the higher mental and emotional levels of human consciousness. Apart from this single phrase, the passage only discusses Love's psychological impact on the living, producing the virtue which attracts the young, comforts the old, makes death seem less terrible and is still remembered after it (501-4). Conversely, the awareness of lack of virtue strikes the guilty through their consciences, and tyrants are generally overthrown as a result of their crimes (505-8): the aftermath of the French Revolution gave plenty of examples to choose from, including most dramatically the executions of Louis XVI and Robespierre. While "realms unknown" (507) suggests the Christian Hell, "furies" could simply imply a level of mental torment that ordinary people cannot imagine.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 509. The invisible harps (509) and angelic voices (510) joining the choir again suggest genuinely divine concurrence, though the exact nature of the deity remains unclear.

EDITOR'S NOTE: l. 515. An accepted Latinate construction allows a "with" to be understood: "With the voices mute and harp-strings still, Silence hovers." Urania ascends the altar-steps, swings the censer of burning incense with "illumined hands" (520) both lit by the flame and more generally enlightened, and bows to the Goddess Nature, from whom she now fully withdraws the veil she partly lifted in I, 165. Orthodox readers may wish to see Nature as the veil shrouding the divine truth of the Godhead, but the more straightforward reading is that Nature, fully understood, is herself the ultimate divine principle.

About this Page

Published @ RC

October 2006