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The Temple of Nature

By Erasmus Darwin




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 Slaughterhouse 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. 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.



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,1 who learn'd in Nature's laws
With nice distinction marks effects and cause;
Who views the insatiate Grave with eye sedate,
Nor fears thy voice, inexorable Fate!                          10

{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,2 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;
{131} Who with bright lamp alarms the midnight hour,
Climbs the green stem, and slays the sleeping flower.

"Fell Oestrus buries3 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 Ichneumon4 for her embryon young
Gores with sharp horn the caterpillar throng.
{132} The cruel larva mines its silky course,
And tears the vitals of its fostering nurse.
While fierce Libellula5 with jaws of steel
Ingulfs an insect-province at a meal;
Contending bee-swarms6 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;
{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 rapacious7 with descending blow
Darts on the scaly brood, that swims below;
{134} The crawling crocodiles,8 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-house9 the warring world!

{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 hunger10 by defect oppress,
Repletion, heat, and labour by excess,
{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 Ebriety11 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,
{137} E'en o'er the grave12 a deeper shadow flings,
And maddening Conscience darts a thousand stings.

" 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's13 trains suggest
Ideal ills,14 that harrow up the breast,
{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.15                      100
Unthinking crowds thy forms, Imposture, gull,
A Saint in sackcloth, or a Wolf in wool.16
{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,
{140} Her rapid shafts with airs volcanic17 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!18                  130
{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
{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,19 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.

{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 landscape20 all its lights unfold;                 160 
Huge rocks opposing o'er the stream project
Their naked bosoms, and the beams reflect;
{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 measure 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 vibrations floats,
We drink delighted21 the melodious notes.
{145} But when young Beauty on the realms above
Rends 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;
{146} With fruits and foliage decks the barren waste,
And brightens Life with sentiment and taste;                  190
Pleased o'er the level and the rude 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 unfading 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;
{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 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;
{148} Give 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

{149} "Inspired by thee, with scientific wand
Pleased ARCHIMEDES mark'd the figured sand;22
Siezed 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 guided23 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.

{150} "Led by VOLITION on the banks of Nile
Where bloom'd the waving flax24 on Delta's isle,
Pleased ISIS taught the fibrous stems 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 taught25 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.
{151} Now, happier lot! enlighten'd realms possess
The learned labours of the immortal Press;26                  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;
{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;27
{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 voice28 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.

{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 bestows29
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;
{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 mating 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;
{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 fibre30 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
By laws unknown -- WHO GIVES, AND WHO RESUMES.

"Each pregnant Oak ten thousand acorns forms
Profusely scatter'd by autumnal storms;
{157} Ten thousand seeds31 each pregnant poppy sheds
Profusely scatter'd from its waving heads;                    350
The countless Aphides,32 prolific tribe,
With greedy trunks the honey'd sap33 imbibe;
{158} Swarm on each leaf with eggs or embryons big,
And pendant 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,34
Breathes with new lungs, or tries his nascent limbs;          360
Her countless shoals the amphibious frog forsakes,
And living islands float upon the lakes.
{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.
-- And 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
{160} Which buds or breathes35 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 life36 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
{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,37 "O Death!" exulting cries,
`Where is thy sting? O Grave! thy victories?'

{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 dawn38 of Life's returning day.                410

"So when Arabia's Bird,39 by age oppress'd,
Consumes delighted on his spicy nest;
A filial Phoenix 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.

{163} "So erst the Sage40 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
{164} The marble mountain,41 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,
{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 MONUMENTS42 OF PAST DELIGHT;                       450
{166} Shout round the globe, how Reproduction strives
With vanquish'd Death, -- and Happiness survives;
How Life increasing43 peoples every clime,
And young renascent nature conquers Time;
{167} -- And high in golden characters record
The immense munificence of NATURE'S LORD! --

"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.

{168} IV. Now sinks the golden sun, -- the vesper song
Demands the tribute of URANIA'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 GODDESS 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;
{169}Soft-warbling flutes the ruby lip commands,
And cymbals ring with high uplifted hands.

To CHAOS next44 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.

Sublime notes record CELESTIAL LOVE,
And high rewards in brighter climes above;                    500
{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,
{171} High in the midst with blazing censer stands,
And scatters incense with illumined hands:                    520
Thrice to the GODDESS bows with solemn pause,
With trembling awe the mystic veil withdraws,
And, meekly kneeling on the gorgeous shrine,
Lifts her ecstatic eyes to TRUTH DIVINE!



{129}1. Blest is the Sage, l. 7.
Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas;
Quique metus omnes, et inexorabile fatum,
Subject pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari.
VIRG. Georg. II. 490.

{130} 2. The towering eagle, l. 19.
Torva leæna lupum sequitur, lupus ipse capellam,
Florentem cytisum sequitur lasciva capella. VIRG.

3. Fell Oestrus buries, l. 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.

4. The wing'd Ichneumon, l. 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 {132} 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.

5. While fierce Libellula, l. 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.

6. Contending bee-swarms, l. 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.

{133} 7. The shark rapacious, l. 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 {134} 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.

8. The crawling crocodiles, l. 59. As this animal lives chiefly at the bottom of 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.

9. One great slaughter-house, l. 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 {135} 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.

10. 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; {136} 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.

11. Here laughs Ebriety. l. 77.

        Sævior armis
Luxuria incubuit, victumque ulciscitur orbem. HORAC.

{137} 12. E'en over the grave, l. 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 in 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.

13. And last association, l. 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 {138} 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.

14. Ideal ills, l. 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 accidently produced, the disagreeable sensation of the teeth follows by association of ideas; this is further elucidated in Zoonomia, Vol. I. Sect. XVI. 10.

15. Enrich his heir, l. 100.

Cum furor haud dubius, cum sit manifesta phrenitis,
Ut locuples moriaris, egenti vivere fato. JUVENAL.

16. A Wolf in wool, l. 102. A wolf in sheep's clothing.

{140} 17. With airs volcanic, l. 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. l. 65. while the diseases properly termed contagious originate from the putrid effluvia of decomposing animal or vegetable matter.

18. Sentimental pain, l. 130. Children should be taught in their early education to feel for all the remedial evils, which they observe in others; but they should at the same time be taught sufficient firmness {141} 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.

{142} 19. From wandering atoms, l. 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.

{143} 20. The varied landscape, l. 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 association 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, l. 230 [21] of this work. The two former of these sources of pleasure arise from irritation, the last from association.

{144} 21. We drink delighted, l. 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 quantities {145} 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.

{149} 22. Mark'd the figur'd sand, l. 242. The ancient orators seem to have spoken disrespectfully of the mechanic philosophers. Cicero mentioning Archimedes, calls him Homunculus e pulvere et radio, alluding to the custom of drawing problems on the sand with a staff.

23. So Savery guided, l. 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 Worces[t]er had before proposed to use for this purpose the expansive power of steam; see Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Canto I. l. 253. Note.

{150} 24. The waving flax, l. 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.

25. So Arkwright taught, l. 261. See Botanic Garden, Vol. II. Canto II. l. 87, Note.

{151} 26. The immortal Press, l. 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.

{152} 27. Her expressive verb, l. 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. l. 371, of this work.

{153} 28. Call'd by thy voice, l. 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 ornament 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.

{154} 29. Polish'd wit bestows, l. 309. Mr. Locke defines wit to consist of an assemblage of ideas, brought together with quickness and variety, wherin 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. l. 145. [14] 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.

{156} 30. The goaded fibre, l. 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.

{157} 31. Ten thousand seeds, l. 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.

32. The countless Aphides, l. 351. The aphises, pucerons, or vine-fretters, 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 unnumerable eggs laid by the tenth generation for the renovation of their progeny in the ensuing spring.

33. 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. 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.

34. The tadpole swims, l. 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.

{160} 35. 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. l. 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.

36. Born to new life, l. 387. From the innumerable births 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.

{161} 37. Thus sainted Paul, l. 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.

{162} 38. And lights the dawn, l. 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.

39. So when Arabia's bird, l. 411. The story of the Phoenix 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. l. 389.

{163} 40. So erst the Sage. l. 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 {164} 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.

41. The marble mountain, l. 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.

{165} 42. Are mighty monuments. l. 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, {166} 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.

43. How Life Increasing, l. 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 produce {167} 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!

44. To Chaos next, l. 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. l. 31.