Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and
Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener.
During one of these, various philosophical doctrines were
discussed, and among others the nature of the principle of life,
and whether there was any probability of its ever being
discovered and communicated. They talked of the experiments of
Dr. Darwin, (I speak not of what the Doctor really did, or said
that he did, but, as more to my purpose, of what was then spoken
of as having been done by him,) who preserved a piece of
vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary means it
began to move with voluntary motion. Not thus, after all, would
life be given. Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism
had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a
creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued
with vital warmth.