[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.
Some printed caracters could not be reproduce in this file and have been described [TN: description].]
THE TEMPLE OF NATURE;
THE ORIGIN OF SOCIETY.
T. Bensley, Printer, Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London.
THE TEMPLE OF NATURE;
THE ORIGIN OF SOCIETY:
WITH PHILOSOPHICAL NOTES.
ERASMUS DARWIN, M.D. F.R.S.
AUTHOR OF THE BOTANIC GARDEN, OF ZOONOMIA, AND OF PHYTOLOGIA.
Unde hominum pecudumque genus, vitaeque volantum, Et quae marmoreo fert monstra sub aequore pontus? Igneus est illis vigor, & caelestis origo.
VIRG. AEn. VI. 728.
LONDON: PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,
BY T. BENSLEY, BOLT COURT, FLEET STREET.
The Poem, which is here offered to the Public, does not pretend to instruct by deep researches of reasoning; its aim is simply to amuse by bringing distinctly to the imagination the beautiful and sublime images of the operations of Nature in the order, as the Author believes, in which the progressive course of time presented them.
The Deities of Egypt, and afterwards of Greece, and Rome, were derived from men famous in those early times, as in the ages of hunting, pasturage, and agriculture. The histories of some of their actions recorded in Scripture, or celebrated in the heathen mythology, are introduced, as the Author hopes, without impropriety into his account of those remote periods of human society.
In the Eleusinian mysteries the philosophy of the works of Nature, with the origin and progress of society, are believed to have been taught by allegoric scenery explained by the Hierophant to the initiated, which gave rise to the machinery of the following Poem.
PRIORY NEAR DERBY,
Jan. 1, 1802.
ORIGIN OF SOCIETY.
PRODUCTION OF LIFE.
I. Subject proposed. Life, Love, and Sympathy 1. Four past Ages, a fifth beginning 9. Invocation to Love 15. II. Bowers of Eden, Adam and Eve 33. Temple of Nature 65. Time chained by Sculpture 75. Proteus bound by Menelaus 83. Bowers of Pleasure 89. School of Venus 97. Court of Pain 105. Den of Oblivion 113. Muse of Melancholy 121. Cave of Trophonius 125. Shrine of Nature 129. Eleusinian Mysteries 137. III. Morning 155. Procession of Virgins 159. Address to the Priestess 167. Descent of Orpheus into Hell 185. IV. Urania 205. GOD the First Cause 223. Life began beneath the Sea 233. Repulsion, Attraction, Contraction, Life 235. Spontaneous Production of Minute Animals 247. Irritation, Appetency 251. Life enlarges the Earth 265. Sensation, Volition, Association 269. Scene in the Microscope; Mucor, Monas, Vibrio, Vorticella, Proteus, Mite 281. V. Vegetables and Animals improve by Reproduction 295. Have all arisen from Microscopic Animalcules 303. Rocks of Shell and Coral 315. Islands and Continents raised by Earthquakes 321. Emigration of Animals from the Sea 327. Trapa 335. Tadpole, Musquito 343. Diodon, Lizard, Beaver, Lamprey, Remora, Whale 351. Venus rising from the Sea, emblem of Organic Nature 371. All animals are first Aquatic 385. Fetus in the Womb 389. Animals from the Mud of the Nile 401. The Hierophant and Muse 421-450.
PRODUCTION OF LIFE.
I. By firm immutable immortal laws Impress'd on Nature by the GREAT FIRST CAUSE, Say, MUSE! how rose from elemental strife Organic forms, and kindled into life; How Love and Sympathy with potent charm Warm the cold heart, the lifted hand disarm; Allure with pleasures, and alarm with pains, And bind Society in golden chains.
Four past eventful Ages then recite, And give the fifth, new-born of Time, to light; 10 The silken tissue of their joys disclose, Swell with deep chords the murmur of their woes; Their laws, their labours, and their loves proclaim, And chant their virtues to the trump of Fame.
IMMORTAL LOVE! who ere the morn of Time, On wings outstretch'd, o'er Chaos hung sublime; Warm'd into life the bursting egg of Night, And gave young Nature to admiring Light!— YOU! whose wide arms, in soft embraces hurl'd Round the vast frame, connect the whirling world! 20 Whether immers'd in day, the Sun your throne, You gird the planets in your silver zone; Or warm, descending on ethereal wing, The Earth's cold bosom with the beams of spring; Press drop to drop, to atom atom bind, Link sex to sex, or rivet mind to mind; Attend my song!—With rosy lips rehearse, And with your polish'd arrows write my verse!— So shall my lines soft-rolling eyes engage, And snow-white fingers turn the volant page; 30 The smiles of Beauty all my toils repay, And youths and virgins chant the living lay.
II. WHERE EDEN'S sacred bowers triumphant sprung, By angels guarded, and by prophets sung, Wav'd o'er the east in purple pride unfurl'd, And rock'd the golden cradle of the World; Four sparkling currents lav'd with wandering tides Their velvet avenues, and flowery sides; On sun-bright lawns unclad the Graces stray'd, And guiltless Cupids haunted every glade; 40 Till the fair Bride, forbidden shades among, Heard unalarm'd the Tempter's serpent-tongue; Eyed the sweet fruit, the mandate disobey'd, And her fond Lord with sweeter smiles betray'd. Conscious awhile with throbbing heart he strove, Spread his wide arms, and barter'd life for love!— Now rocks on rocks, in savage grandeur roll'd, Steep above steep, the blasted plains infold; The incumbent crags eternal tempest shrouds, And livid light'nings cleave the lambent clouds; 50 Round the firm base loud-howling whirlwinds blow, And sands in burning eddies dance below.
[Footnote: Cradle of the world, l. 36. The nations, which possess Europe and a part of Asia and of Africa, appear to have descended from one family; and to have had their origin near the banks of the Mediterranean, as probably in Syria, the site of Paradise, according to the Mosaic history. This seems highly probable from the similarity of the structure of the languages of these nations, and from their early possession of similar religions, customs, and arts, as well as from the most ancient histories extant. The two former of these may be collected from Lord Monboddo's learned work on the Origin of Language, and from Mr. Bryant's curious account of Ancient Mythology.
The use of iron tools, of the bow and arrow, of earthen vessels to boil water in, of wheels for carriages, and the arts of cultivating wheat, of coagulating milk for cheese, and of spinning vegetable fibres for clothing, have been known in all European countries, as long as their histories have existed; besides the similarity of the texture of their languages, and of many words in them; thus the word sack is said to mean a bag in all of them, as [Greek: sakkon] in Greek, saccus in Latin, sacco in Italian, sac in French, and sack in English and German.
Other families of mankind, nevertheless, appear to have arisen in other parts of the habitable earth, as the language of the Chinese is said not to resemble those of this part of the world in any respect. And the inhabitants of the islands of the South-Sea had neither the use of iron tools nor of the bow, nor of wheels, nor of spinning, nor had learned to coagulate milk, or to boil water, though the domestication of fire seems to have been the first great discovery that distinguished mankind from the bestial inhabitants of the forest.]
Hence ye profane!—the warring winds exclude Unhallow'd throngs, that press with footstep rude; But court the Muse's train with milder skies, And call with softer voice the good and wise. —Charm'd at her touch the opening wall divides, And rocks of crystal form the polish'd sides; Through the bright arch the Loves and Graces tread, Innocuous thunders murmuring o'er their head; 60 Pair after pair, and tittering, as they pass, View their fair features in the walls of glass; Leave with impatient step the circling bourn, And hear behind the closing rocks return.
HERE, high in air, unconscious of the storm. Thy temple, NATURE, rears it's mystic form; From earth to heav'n, unwrought by mortal toil, Towers the vast fabric on the desert soil; O'er many a league the ponderous domes extend. And deep in earth the ribbed vaults descend; 70 A thousand jasper steps with circling sweep Lead the slow votary up the winding steep; Ten thousand piers, now join'd and now aloof, Bear on their branching arms the fretted roof.
Unnumber'd ailes connect unnumber'd halls, And sacred symbols crowd the pictur'd walls; With pencil rude forgotten days design, And arts, or empires, live in every line. While chain'd reluctant on the marble ground, Indignant TIME reclines, by Sculpture bound; 80 And sternly bending o'er a scroll unroll'd, Inscribes the future with his style of gold. —So erst, when PROTEUS on the briny shore, New forms assum'd of eagle, pard, or boar; The wise ATRIDES bound in sea-weed thongs The changeful god amid his scaly throngs; Till in deep tones his opening lips at last Reluctant told the future and the past.
[Footnote: Pictur'd walls, l. 76. The application of mankind, in the early ages of society, to the imitative arts of painting, carving, statuary, and the casting of figures in metals, seems to have preceded the discovery of letters; and to have been used as a written language to convey intelligence to their distant friends, or to transmit to posterity the history of themselves, or of their discoveries. Hence the origin of the hieroglyphic figures which crowded the walls of the temples of antiquity; many of which may be seen in the tablet of Isis in the works of Montfaucon; and some of them are still used in the sciences of chemistry and astronomy, as the characters for the metals and planets, and the figures of animals on the celestial globe.]
[Footnote: So erst, when Proteus, l. 83. It seems probable that Proteus was the name of a hieroglyphic figure representing Time; whose form was perpetually changing, and who could discover the past events of the world, and predict the future. Herodotus does not doubt but that Proteus was an Egyptian king or deity; and Orpheus calls him the principle of all things, and the most ancient of the gods; and adds, that he keeps the keys of Nature, Danet's Dict., all which might well accord with a figure representing Time.]
HERE o'er piazza'd courts, and long arcades, The bowers of PLEASURE root their waving shades; 90 Shed o'er the pansied moss a checker'd gloom, Bend with new fruits, with flow'rs successive bloom. Pleas'd, their light limbs on beds of roses press'd, In slight undress recumbent Beauties rest; On tiptoe steps surrounding Graces move, And gay Desires expand their wings above.
HERE young DIONE arms her quiver'd Loves, Schools her bright Nymphs, and practises her doves; Calls round her laughing eyes in playful turns, The glance that lightens, and the smile that burns; 100 Her dimpling cheeks with transient blushes dies, Heaves her white bosom with seductive sighs; Or moulds with rosy lips the magic words, That bind the heart in adamantine cords.
Behind in twilight gloom with scowling mien The demon PAIN, convokes his court unseen; Whips, fetters, flames, pourtray'd on sculptur'd stone, In dread festoons, adorn his ebon throne; Each side a cohort of diseases stands, And shudd'ring Fever leads the ghastly bands; 110 O'er all Despair expands his raven wings, And guilt-stain'd Conscience darts a thousand stings.
Deep-whelm'd beneath, in vast sepulchral caves, OBLIVION dwells amid unlabell'd graves; The storied tomb, the laurell'd bust o'erturns, And shakes their ashes from the mould'ring urns.— No vernal zephyr breathes, no sunbeams cheer, Nor song, nor simper, ever enters here; O'er the green floor, and round the dew-damp wall, The slimy snail, and bloated lizard crawl; 120 While on white heaps of intermingled bones The muse of MELANCHOLY sits and moans; Showers her cold tears o'er Beauty's early wreck, Spreads her pale arms, and bends her marble neck.
So in rude rocks, beside the AEgean wave, TROPHONIUS scoop'd his sorrow-sacred cave; Unbarr'd to pilgrim feet the brazen door, And the sad sage returning smil'd no more.
[Footnote: Trophonius scoop'd, l. 126. Plutarch mentions, that prophecies of evil events were uttered from the cave of Trophonius; but the allegorical story, that whoever entered this cavern were never again seen to smile, seems to have been designed to warn the contemplative from considering too much the dark side of nature. Thus an ancient poet is said to have written a poem on the miseries of the world, and to have thence become so unhappy as to destroy himself. When we reflect on the perpetual destruction of organic life, we should also recollect, that it is perpetually renewed in other forms by the same materials, and thus the sum total of the happiness of the world continues undiminished; and that a philosopher may thus smile again on turning his eyes from the coffins of nature to her cradles.]
SHRIN'D in the midst majestic NATURE stands, Extends o'er earth and sea her hundred hands; 130 Tower upon tower her beamy forehead crests, And births unnumber'd milk her hundred breasts; Drawn round her brows a lucid veil depends, O'er her fine waist the purfled woof descends; Her stately limbs the gather'd folds surround, And spread their golden selvage on the ground.
[Footnote: Fam'd Eleusis stole, l. 137. The Eleusinian mysteries were invented in Egypt, and afterwards transferred into Greece along with most of the other early arts and religions of Europe. They seem to have consisted of scenical representations of the philosophy and religion of those times, which had previously been painted in hieroglyphic figures to perpetuate them before the discovery of letters; and are well explained in Dr. Warburton's divine legation of Moses; who believes with great probability, that Virgil in the sixth book of the AEneid has described a part of these mysteries in his account of the Elysian fields.
In the first part of this scenery was represented Death, and the destruction of all things; as mentioned in the note on the Portland Vase in the Botanic Garden. Next the marriage of Cupid and Psyche seems to have shown the reproduction of living nature; and afterwards the procession of torches, which is said to have constituted a part of the mysteries, probably signified the return of light, and the resuscitation of all things.
Lastly, the histories of illustrious persons of the early ages seem to have been enacted; who were first represented by hieroglyphic figures, and afterwards became the gods and goddesses of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Might not such a dignified pantomime be contrived, even in this age, as might strike the spectators with awe, and at the same time explain many philosophical truths by adapted imagery, and thus both amuse and instruct?]
From this first altar fam'd ELEUSIS stole Her secret symbols and her mystic scroll; With pious fraud in after ages rear'd Her gorgeous temple, and the gods rever'd. 140 —First in dim pomp before the astonish'd throng, Silence, and Night, and Chaos, stalk'd along; Dread scenes of Death, in nodding sables dress'd, Froze the broad eye, and thrill'd the unbreathing breast. Then the young Spring, with winged Zephyr, leads The queen of Beauty to the blossom'd meads; Charm'd in her train admiring Hymen moves, And tiptoe Graces hand in hand with Loves. Next, while on pausing step the masked mimes Enact the triumphs of forgotten times, 150 Conceal from vulgar throngs the mystic truth, Or charm with Wisdom's lore the initiate youth; Each shifting scene, some patriot hero trod, Some sainted beauty, or some saviour god.
III. Now rose in purple pomp the breezy dawn, And crimson dew-drops trembled on the lawn; Blaz'd high in air the temple's golden vanes, And dancing shadows veer'd upon the plains.— Long trains of virgins from the sacred grove, Pair after pair, in bright procession move, 160 With flower-fill'd baskets round the altar throng, Or swing their censers, as they wind along. The fair URANIA leads the blushing bands, Presents their offerings with unsullied hands; Pleas'd to their dazzled eyes in part unshrouds The goddess-form;—the rest is hid in clouds.
"PRIESTESS OF NATURE! while with pious awe Thy votary bends, the mystic veil withdraw; Charm after charm, succession bright, display, And give the GODDESS to adoring day! 170 So kneeling realms shall own the Power divine, And heaven and earth pour incense on her shrine.
"Oh grant the MUSE with pausing step to press Each sun-bright avenue, and green recess; Led by thy hand survey the trophied walls, The statued galleries, and the pictur'd halls; Scan the proud pyramid, and arch sublime, Earth-canker'd urn, medallion green with time, Stern busts of Gods, with helmed heroes mix'd, And Beauty's radiant forms, that smile betwixt. 180
[Footnote: The statued galleries, l. 176. The art of painting has appeared in the early state of all societies before the invention of the alphabet. Thus when the Spanish adventurers, under Cortez, invaded America, intelligence of their debarkation and movements was daily transmitted to Montezuma, by drawings, which corresponded with the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The antiquity of statuary appears from the Memnon and sphinxes of Egypt; that of casting figures in metals from the golden calf of Aaron; and that of carving in wood from the idols or household gods, which Rachel stole from her father Laban, and hid beneath her garments as she sat upon the straw. Gen. c. xxxi. v. 34.]
"Waked by thy voice, transmuted by thy wand, Their lips shall open, and their arms expand; The love-lost lady, and the warrior slain, Leap from their tombs, and sigh or fight again. —So when ill-fated ORPHEUS tuned to woe His potent lyre, and sought the realms below; Charm'd into life unreal forms respir'd, And list'ning shades the dulcet notes admir'd.—
"LOVE led the Sage through Death's tremendous porch, Cheer'd with his smile, and lighted with his torch;— 190 Hell's triple Dog his playful jaws expands, Fawns round the GOD, and licks his baby hands; In wondering groups the shadowy nations throng, And sigh or simper, as he steps along; Sad swains, and nymphs forlorn, on Lethe's brink, Hug their past sorrows, and refuse to drink; Night's dazzled Empress feels the golden flame Play round her breast, and melt her frozen frame; Charms with soft words, and sooths with amorous wiles, Her iron-hearted Lord,—and PLUTO smiles.— 200 His trembling Bride the Bard triumphant led From the pale mansions of the astonish'd dead; Gave the fair phantom to admiring light,— Ah, soon again to tread irremeable night!"
[Footnote: Love led the Sage, l. 189. This description is taken from the figures on the Barbarini, or Portland Vase, where Eros, or Divine Love, with his torch precedes the manes through the gates of Death, and reverting his smiling countenance invites him into the Elysian fields.]
[Footnote: Fawns round the God, l. 192. This idea is copied from a painting of the descent of Orpheus, by a celebrated Parisian artist.]
IV. HER snow-white arm, indulgent to my song, Waves the fair Hierophant, and moves along.— High plumes, that bending shade her amber hair, Nod, as she steps, their silver leaves in air; Bright chains of pearl, with golden buckles brac'd, Clasp her white neck, and zone her slender waist; 210 Thin folds of silk in soft meanders wind Down her fine form, and undulate behind; The purple border, on the pavement roll'd, Swells in the gale, and spreads its fringe of gold.
"FIRST, if you can, celestial Guide! disclose From what fair fountain mortal life arose, Whence the fine nerve to move and feel assign'd, Contractile fibre, and ethereal mind:
"How Love and Sympathy the bosom warm, Allure with pleasure, and with pain alarm, 220 With soft affections weave the social plan, And charm the listening Savage into Man."
"GOD THE FIRST CAUSE!—in this terrene abode Young Nature lisps, she is the child of GOD. From embryon births her changeful forms improve, Grow, as they live, and strengthen as they move.
[Footnote: God the first cause, l. 223.
A Jove principium, musae! Jovis omnia plena. VIRGIL.
In him we live, and move, and have our being. ST. PAUL.]
[Footnote: Young Nature lisps, l. 224. The perpetual production and increase of the strata of limestone from the shells of aquatic animals; and of all those incumbent on them from the recrements of vegetables and of terrestrial animals, are now well understood from our improved knowledge of geology; and show, that the solid parts of the globe are gradually enlarging, and consequently that it is young; as the fluid parts are not yet all converted into solid ones. Add to this, that some parts of the earth and its inhabitants appear younger than others; thus the greater height of the mountains of America seems to show that continent to be less ancient than Europe, Asia, and Africa; as their summits have been less washed away, and the wild animals of America, as the tigers and crocodiles, are said to be less perfect in respect to their size and strength; which would show them to be still in a state of infancy, or of progressive improvement. Lastly, the progress of mankind in arts and sciences, which continues slowly to extend, and to increase, seems to evince the youth of human society; whilst the unchanging state of the societies of some insects, as of the bee, wasp, and ant, which is usually ascribed to instinct, seems to evince the longer existence, and greater maturity of those societies. The juvenility of the earth shows, that it has had a beginning or birth, and is a strong natural argument evincing the existence of a cause of its production, that is of the Deity.]
"Ere Time began, from flaming Chaos hurl'd Rose the bright spheres, which form the circling world; Earths from each sun with quick explosions burst, And second planets issued from the first. 230 Then, whilst the sea at their coeval birth, Surge over surge, involv'd the shoreless earth; Nurs'd by warm sun-beams in primeval caves Organic Life began beneath the waves.
[Footnote: Earths from each sun, l. 229. See Botan. Garden, Vol. I. Cant. I. l. 107.]
"First HEAT from chemic dissolution springs, And gives to matter its eccentric wings; With strong REPULSION parts the exploding mass, Melts into lymph, or kindles into gas. ATTRACTION next, as earth or air subsides, The ponderous atoms from the light divides, 240 Approaching parts with quick embrace combines, Swells into spheres, and lengthens into lines. Last, as fine goads the gluten-threads excite, Cords grapple cords, and webs with webs unite; And quick CONTRACTION with ethereal flame Lights into life the fibre-woven frame.— Hence without parent by spontaneous birth Rise the first specks of animated earth; From Nature's womb the plant or insect swims, And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs. 250
[Footnote: First Heat from chemic, l. 235. The matter of heat is an ethereal fluid, in which all things are immersed, and which constitutes the general power of repulsion; as appears in explosions which are produced by the sudden evolution of combined heat, and by the expansion of all bodies by the slower diffusion of it in its uncombined state. Without heat all the matter of the world would be condensed into a point by the power of attraction; and neither fluidity nor life could exist. There are also particular powers of repulsion, as those of magnetism and electricity, and of chemistry, such as oil and water; which last may be as numerous as the particular attractions which constitute chemical affinities; and may both of them exist as atmospheres round the individual particles of matter; see Botanic Garden, Vol. I. additional note VII. on elementary heat.]
[Footnote: Attraction next, l. 239. The power of attraction may be divided into general attraction, which is called gravity; and into particular attraction, which is termed chemical affinity. As nothing can act where it does not exist, the power of gravity must be conceived as extending from the sun to the planets, occupying that immense space; and may therefore be considered as an ethereal fluid, though not cognizable by our senses like heat, light, and electricity.
Particular attraction, or chemical affinity, must likewise occupy the spaces between the particles of matter which they cause to approach each other. The power of gravity may therefore be called the general attractive ether, and the matter of heat may be called the general repulsive ether; which constitute the two great agents in the changes of inanimate matter.]
[Footnote: And quick Contraction, l. 245. The power of contraction, which exists in organized bodies, and distinguishes life from inanimation, appears to consist of an ethereal fluid which resides in the brain and nerves of living bodies, and is expended in the act of shortening their fibres. The attractive and repulsive ethers require only the vicinity of bodies for the exertion of their activity, but the contractive ether requires at first the contact of a goad or stimulus, which appears to draw it off from the contracting fibre, and to excite the sensorial power of irritation. These contractions of animal fibres are afterwards excited or repeated by the sensorial powers of sensation, volition, or association, as explained at large in Zoonomia, Vol. I.
There seems nothing more wonderful in the ether of contraction producing the shortening of a fibre, than in the ether of attraction causing two bodies to approach each other. The former indeed seems in some measure to resemble the latter, as it probably occasions the minute particles of the fibre to approach into absolute or adhesive contact, by withdrawing from them their repulsive atmospheres; whereas the latter seems only to cause particles of matter to approach into what is popularly called contact, like the particles of fluids; but which are only in the vicinity of each other, and still retain their repulsive atmospheres, as may be seen in riding through shallow water by the number of minute globules of it thrown up by the horses feet, which roll far on its surface; and by the difficulty with which small globules of mercury poured on the surface of a quantity of it can be made to unite with it.]
[Footnote: Spontaneous birth, l. 247. See additional Note, No. I.]
"IN earth, sea, air, around, below, above, Life's subtle woof in Nature's loom is wove; Points glued to points a living line extends, Touch'd by some goad approach the bending ends; Rings join to rings, and irritated tubes Clasp with young lips the nutrient globes or cubes; And urged by appetencies new select, Imbibe, retain, digest, secrete, eject. In branching cones the living web expands, Lymphatic ducts, and convoluted glands; 260 Aortal tubes propel the nascent blood, And lengthening veins absorb the refluent flood; Leaves, lungs, and gills, the vital ether breathe On earth's green surface, or the waves beneath. So Life's first powers arrest the winds and floods, To bones convert them, or to shells, or woods; Stretch the vast beds of argil, lime, and sand, And from diminish'd oceans form the land!
[Footnote: In branching cones, l. 259. The whole branch of an artery or vein may be considered as a cone, though each distinct division of it is a cylinder. It is probable that the amount of the areas of all the small branches from one trunk may equal that of the trunk, otherwise the velocity of the blood would be greater in some parts than in others, which probably only exists when a part is compressed or inflamed.]
[Footnote: Absorb the refluent flood, l. 262. The force of the arterial impulse appears to cease, after having propelled the blood through the capillary vessels; whence the venous circulation is owing to the extremities of the veins absorbing the blood, as those of the lymphatics absorb the fluids. The great force of absorption is well elucidated by Dr. Hales's experiment on the rise of the sap-juice in a vine-stump; see Zoonomia, Vol. I. Sect. XXIII.]
[Footnote: And from diminish'd oceans, l. 268. The increase of the solid parts of the globe by the recrements of organic bodies, as limestone rocks from shells and bones, and the beds of clay, marl, coals, from decomposed woods, is now well known to those who have attended to modern geology; and Dr. Halley, and others, have endeavoured to show, with great probability, that the ocean has decreased in quantity during the short time which human history has existed. Whence it appears, that the exertions of vegetable and animal life convert the fluid parts of the globe into solid ones; which is probably effected by combining the matter of heat with the other elements, instead of suffering it to remain simply diffused amongst them, which is a curious conjecture, and deserves further investigation.]
"Next the long nerves unite their silver train, And young SENSATION permeates the brain; 270 Through each new sense the keen emotions dart, Flush the young cheek, and swell the throbbing heart. From pain and pleasure quick VOLITIONS rise, Lift the strong arm, or point the inquiring eyes; With Reason's light bewilder'd Man direct, And right and wrong with balance nice detect. Last in thick swarms ASSOCIATIONS spring, Thoughts join to thoughts, to motions motions cling; Whence in long trains of catenation flow Imagined joy, and voluntary woe. 280
[Footnote: And young Sensation, l. 270. Both sensation and volition consist in an affection of the central part of the sensorium, or of the whole of it; and hence cannot exist till the nerves are united in the brain. The motions of a limb of any animal cut from the body, are therefore owing to irritation, not to sensation or to volition. For the definitions of irritation, sensation, volition, and association, see additional Note II.]
"So, view'd through crystal spheres in drops saline, Quick-shooting salts in chemic forms combine; Or Mucor-stems, a vegetative tribe, Spread their fine roots, the tremulous wave imbibe. Next to our wondering eyes the focus brings Self-moving lines, and animated rings; First Monas moves, an unconnected point, Plays round the drop without a limb or joint; Then Vibrio waves, with capillary eels, And Vorticella whirls her living wheels; 290 While insect Proteus sports with changeful form Through the bright tide, a globe, a cube, a worm. Last o'er the field the Mite enormous swims, Swells his red heart, and writhes his giant limbs.
[Footnote: Or Mucor-stems, l. 283. Mucor or mould in its early state is properly a microscopic vegetable, and is spontaneously produced on the scum of all decomposing organic matter. The Monas is a moving speck, the Vibrio an undulating wire, the Proteus perpetually changes its shape, and the Vorticella has wheels about its mouth, with which it makes an eddy, and is supposed thus to draw into its throat invisible animalcules. These names are from Linneus and Muller; see Appendix to Additional Note I.]
V. "ORGANIC LIFE beneath the shoreless waves Was born and nurs'd in Ocean's pearly caves; First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass, Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass; These, as successive generations bloom, New powers acquire, and larger limbs assume; 300 Whence countless groups of vegetation spring, And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.
[Footnote: Beneath the shoreless waves, l. 295. The earth was originally covered with water, as appears from some of its highest mountains, consisting of shells cemented together by a solution of part of them, as the limestone rocks of the Alps; Ferber's Travels. It must be therefore concluded, that animal life began beneath the sea.
Nor is this unanalogous to what still occurs, as all quadrupeds and mankind in their embryon state are aquatic animals; and thus may be said to resemble gnats and frogs. The fetus in the uterus has an organ called the placenta, the fine extremities of the vessels of which permeate the arteries of the uterus, and the blood of the fetus becomes thus oxygenated from the passing stream of the maternal arterial blood; exactly as is done by the gills of fish from the stream of water, which they occasion to pass through them.
But the chicken in the egg possesses a kind of aerial respiration, since the extremities of its placental vessels terminate on a membranous bag, which contains air, at the broad end of the egg; and in this the chick in the egg differs from the fetus in the womb, as there is in the egg no circulating maternal blood for the insertion of the extremities of its respiratory vessels, and in this also I suspect that the eggs of birds differ from the spawn of fish; which latter is immersed in water, and which has probably the extremities of its respiratory organ inserted into the soft membrane which covers it, and is in contact with the water.]
[Footnote: First forms minute, l. 297. See Additional Note I. on Spontaneous Vitality.]
"Thus the tall Oak, the giant of the wood, Which bears Britannia's thunders on the flood; The Whale, unmeasured monster of the main, The lordly Lion, monarch of the plain, The Eagle soaring in the realms of air, Whose eye undazzled drinks the solar glare, Imperious man, who rules the bestial crowd, Of language, reason, and reflection proud, 310 With brow erect who scorns this earthy sod, And styles himself the image of his God; Arose from rudiments of form and sense, An embryon point, or microscopic ens!
"Now in vast shoals beneath the brineless tide, On earth's firm crust testaceous tribes reside; Age after age expands the peopled plain, The tenants perish, but their cells remain; Whence coral walls and sparry hills ascend From pole to pole, and round the line extend. 320
[Footnote: An embryon point, l. 314. The arguments showing that all vegetables and animals arose from such a small beginning, as a living point or living fibre, are detailed in Zoonomia, Sect. XXXIX. 4. 8. on Generation.]
[Footnote: Brineless tide, l. 315. As the salt of the sea has been gradually accumulating, being washed down into it from the recrements of animal and vegetable bodies, the sea must originally have been as fresh as river water; and as it is not saturated with salt, must become annually saline. The sea-water about our island contains at this time from about one twenty-eighth to one thirtieth part of sea salt, and about one eightieth of magnesian salt; Brownrigg on Salt.]
[Footnote: Whence coral walls, l. 319. An account of the structure of the earth is given in Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Additional Notes, XVI. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXIII. XXIV.]
"Next when imprison'd fires in central caves Burst the firm earth, and drank the headlong waves; And, as new airs with dread explosion swell, Form'd lava-isles, and continents of shell; Pil'd rocks on rocks, on mountains mountains raised, And high in heaven the first volcanoes blazed; In countless swarms an insect-myriad moves From sea-fan gardens, and from coral groves; Leaves the cold caverns of the deep, and creeps On shelving shores, or climbs on rocky steeps. 330 As in dry air the sea-born stranger roves, Each muscle quickens, and each sense improves; Cold gills aquatic form respiring lungs, And sounds aerial flow from slimy tongues.
[Footnote: Drunk the headlong waves, l. 322. See Additional Note III.]
[Footnote: An insect-myriad moves, l. 327. After islands or continents were raised above the primeval ocean, great numbers of the most simple animals would attempt to seek food at the edges or shores of the new land, and might thence gradually become amphibious; as is now seen in the frog, who changes from an aquatic animal to an amphibious one; and in the gnat, which changes from a natant to a volant state.
At the same time new microscopic animalcules would immediately commence wherever there was warmth and moisture, and some organic matter, that might induce putridity. Those situated on dry land, and immersed in dry air, may gradually acquire new powers to preserve their existence; and by innumerable successive reproductions for some thousands, or perhaps millions of ages, may at length have produced many of the vegetable and animal inhabitants which now people the earth.
As innumerable shell-fish must have existed a long time beneath the ocean, before the calcareous mountains were produced and elevated; it is also probable, that many of the insect tribes, or less complicate animals, existed long before the quadrupeds or more complicate ones, which in some measure accords with the theory of Linneus in respect to the vegetable world; who thinks, that all the plants now extant arose from the conjunction and reproduction of about sixty different vegetables, from which he constitutes his natural orders.
As the blood of animals in the air becomes more oxygenated in their lungs, than that of animals in water by their gills; it becomes of a more scarlet colour, and from its greater stimulus the sensorium seems to produce quicker motions and finer sensations; and as water is a much better vehicle for vibrations or sounds than air, the fish, even when dying in pain, are mute in the atmosphere, though it is probable that in the water they may utter sounds to be heard at a considerable distance. See on this subject, Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Canto IV. l. 176, Note.]
"So Trapa rooted in pellucid tides, In countless threads her breathing leaves divides, Waves her bright tresses in the watery mass, And drinks with gelid gills the vital gas; Then broader leaves in shadowy files advance, Spread o'er the crystal flood their green expanse; 340 And, as in air the adherent dew exhales, Court the warm sun, and breathe ethereal gales.
[Footnote: So Trapa rooted, l. 335. The lower leaves of this plant grow under water, and are divided into minute capillary ramifications; while the upper leaves are broad and round, and have air bladders in their footstalks to support them above the surface of the water. As the aerial leaves of vegetables do the office of lungs, by exposing a large surface of vessels with their contained fluids to the influence of the air; so these aquatic leaves answer a similar purpose like the gills of fish, and perhaps gain from water a similar material. As the material thus necessary to life seems to be more easily acquired from air than from water, the subaquatic leaves of this plant and of sisymbrium, oenanthe, ranunculus aquatilis, water crow-foot, and some others, are cut into fine divisions to increase the surface, whilst those above water are undivided; see Botanic Garden, Vol. II. Canto IV. l. 204. Note.
Few of the water plants of this country are used for economical purposes, but the ranunculus fluviatilis may be worth cultivation; as on the borders of the river Avon, near Ringwood, the cottagers cut this plant every morning in boats, almost all the year round, to feed their cows, which appear in good condition, and give a due quantity of milk; see a paper from Dr. Pultney in the Transactions of the Linnean Society, Vol. V.]
"So still the Tadpole cleaves the watery vale With balanc'd fins, and undulating tail; New lungs and limbs proclaim his second birth, Breathe the dry air, and bound upon the earth. So from deep lakes the dread Musquito springs, Drinks the soft breeze, and dries his tender wings, In twinkling squadrons cuts his airy way, Dips his red trunk in blood, and man his prey. 350
[Footnote: So still the Tadpole, l. 343. The transformation of the tadpole from an aquatic animal into an aerial one is abundantly curious, when first it is hatched from the spawn by the warmth of the season, it resembles a fish; it afterwards puts forth legs, and resembles a lizard; and finally losing its tail, and acquiring lungs instead of gills, becomes an aerial quadruped.
The rana temporaria of Linneus lives in the water in spring, and on the land in summer, and catches flies. Of the rana paradoxa the larva or tadpole is as large as the frog, and dwells in Surinam, whence the mistake of Merian and of Seba, who call it a frog fish. The esculent frog is green, with three yellow lines from the mouth to the anus; the back transversely gibbous, the hinder feet palmated; its more frequent croaking in the evenings is said to foretell rain. Linnei Syst. Nat. Art. rana.
Linneus asserts in his introduction to the class Amphibia, that frogs are so nearly allied to lizards, lizards to serpents, and serpents to fish, that the boundaries of these orders can scarcely be ascertained.]
[Footnote: The dread Musquito springs, l. 347. See Additional Note IV.]
"So still the Diodons, amphibious tribe, With two-fold lungs the sea or air imbibe; Allied to fish, the lizard cleaves the flood With one-cell'd heart, and dark frigescent blood; Half-reasoning Beavers long-unbreathing dart Through Erie's waves with perforated heart; With gills and lungs respiring Lampreys steer, Kiss the rude rocks, and suck till they adhere; The lazy Remora's inhaling lips, Hung on the keel, retard the struggling ships; 360 With gills pulmonic breathes the enormous Whale, And spouts aquatic columns to the gale; Sports on the shining wave at noontide hours, And shifting rainbows crest the rising showers.
[Footnote: So still the Diodon, l. 351. See Additional Note V.]
[Footnote: At noontide hours, l. 363. The rainbows in our latitude are only seen in the mornings or evenings, when the sun is not much more than forty-two degrees high. In the more northern latitudes, where the meridian sun is not more than forty-two degrees high, they are also visible at noon.]
"So erst, ere rose the science to record In letter'd syllables the volant word; Whence chemic arts, disclosed in pictured lines, Liv'd to mankind by hieroglyphic signs; And clustering stars, pourtray'd on mimic spheres, Assumed the forms of lions, bulls, and bears; 370 —So erst, as Egypt's rude designs explain, Rose young DIONE from the shoreless main; Type of organic Nature! source of bliss! Emerging Beauty from the vast abyss! Sublime on Chaos borne, the Goddess stood, And smiled enchantment on the troubled flood; The warring elements to peace restored, And young Reflection wondered and adored."
[Footnote: As Egypt's rude design, l. 371. See Additional Note VI.]
[Footnote: Rose young Dione, l. 372. The hieroglyphic figure of Venus rising from the sea supported on a shell by two tritons, as well as that of Hercules armed with a club, appear to be remains of the most remote antiquity. As the former is devoid of grace, and of the pictorial art of design, as one half of the group exactly resembles the other; and as that of Hercules is armed with a club, which was the first weapon.
The Venus seems to have represented the beauty of organic Nature rising from the sea, and afterwards became simply an emblem of ideal beauty; while the figure of Adonis was probably designed to represent the more abstracted idea of life or animation. Some of these hieroglyphic designs seem to evince the profound investigations in science of the Egyptian philosophers, and to have outlived all written language; and still constitute the symbols, by which painters and poets give form and animation to abstracted ideas, as to those of strength and beauty in the above instances.]
Now paused the Nymph,—The Muse responsive cries, Sweet admiration sparkling in her eyes, 380 "Drawn by your pencil, by your hand unfurl'd, Bright shines the tablet of the dawning world; Amazed the Sea's prolific depths I view, And VENUS rising from the waves in YOU!
"Still Nature's births enclosed in egg or seed From the tall forest to the lowly weed, Her beaux and beauties, butterflies and worms, Rise from aquatic to aerial forms. Thus in the womb the nascent infant laves Its natant form in the circumfluent waves; 390 With perforated heart unbreathing swims, Awakes and stretches all its recent limbs; With gills placental seeks the arterial flood, And drinks pure ether from its Mother's blood. Erewhile the landed Stranger bursts his way, From the warm wave emerging into day; Feels the chill blast, and piercing light, and tries His tender lungs, and rolls his dazzled eyes; Gives to the passing gale his curling hair, And steps a dry inhabitant of air. 400
[Footnote: Awakes and stretches, l. 392. During the first six months of gestation, the embryon probably sleeps, as it seems to have no use for voluntary power; it then seems to awake, and to stretch its limbs, and change its posture in some degree, which is termed quickening.]
[Footnote: With gills placental, l. 393. The placenta adheres to any side of the uterus in natural gestation, or of any other cavity in extra-uterine gestation; the extremities of its arteries and veins probably permeate the arteries of the mother, and absorb from thence through their fine coats the oxygen of the mother's blood; hence when the placenta is withdrawn, the side of the uterus, where it adhered, bleeds; but not the extremities of its own vessels.]
[Footnote: His dazzled eyes, l. 398. Though the membrana pupillaris described by modern anatomists guards the tender retina from too much light; the young infant nevertheless seems to feel the presence of it by its frequently moving its eyes, before it can distinguish common objects.]
"Creative Nile, as taught in ancient song, So charm'd to life his animated throng; O'er his wide realms the slow-subsiding flood Left the rich treasures of organic mud; While with quick growth young Vegetation yields Her blushing orchards, and her waving fields; Pomona's hand replenish'd Plenty's horn, And Ceres laugh'd amid her seas of corn.— Bird, beast, and reptile, spring from sudden birth, Raise their new forms, half-animal, half-earth; 410 The roaring lion shakes his tawny mane, His struggling limbs still rooted in the plain; With flapping wings assurgent eagles toil To rend their talons from the adhesive soil; The impatient serpent lifts his crested head, And drags his train unfinish'd from the bed.— As Warmth and Moisture blend their magic spells, And brood with mingling wings the slimy dells; Contractile earths in sentient forms arrange, And Life triumphant stays their chemic change." 420
[Footnote: As warmth and moisture, l. 417.
In eodem corpore saepe Altera pars vivit; rudis est pars altera tellus. Quippe ubi temperiem sumpsere humorque calorque, Concipiunt; & ab his oriuntur, cuncta duobus.
OVID. MET. l. 1. 430.
This story from Ovid of the production of animals from the mud of the Nile seems to be of Egyptian origin, and is probably a poetical account of the opinions of the magi or priests of that country; showing that the simplest animations were spontaneously produced like chemical combinations, but were distinguished from the latter by their perpetual improvement by the power of reproduction, first by solitary, and then by sexual generation; whereas the products of natural chemistry are only enlarged by accretion, or purified by filtration.]
Then hand in hand along the waving glades The virgin Sisters pass beneath the shades; Ascend the winding steps with pausing march, And seek the Portico's susurrant arch; Whose sculptur'd architrave on columns borne Drinks the first blushes of the rising morn, Whose fretted roof an ample shield displays, And guards the Beauties from meridian rays. While on light step enamour'd Zephyr springs, And fans their glowing features with his wings, 430 Imbibes the fragrance of the vernal flowers, And speeds with kisses sweet the dancing Hours.
Urania, leaning with unstudied grace, Rests her white elbow on a column's base; Awhile reflecting takes her silent stand, Her fair cheek press'd upon her lily hand; Then, as awaking from ideal trance, On the smooth floor her pausing steps advance, Waves high her arm, upturns her lucid eyes, Marks the wide scenes of ocean, earth, and skies; 440 And leads, meandering as it rolls along Through Nature's walks, the shining stream of Song.
First her sweet voice in plaintive accents chains The Muse's ear with fascinating strains; Reverts awhile to elemental strife, The change of form, and brevity of life; Then tells how potent Love with torch sublime Relights the glimmering lamp, and conquers Time. —The polish'd walls reflect her rosy smiles, And sweet-ton'd echoes talk along the ailes. 450
END OF CANTO I.
ORIGIN OF SOCIETY.
REPRODUCTION OF LIFE.
I. Brevity of Life 1. Reproduction 13. Animals improve 31. Life and Death alternate 37. Adonis emblem of Mortal Life 45. II. Solitary reproduction 61. Buds, Bulbs, Polypus 65. Truffle; Buds of trees how generated 71. Volvox, Polypus, Taenia, Oysters, Corals, are without Sex 83. Storge goddess of Parental Love; First chain of Society 92. III. Female sex produced 103. Tulip bulbs, Aphis 125. Eve from Adam's rib 135. IV. Hereditary diseases 159. Grafted trees, bulbous roots degenerate 167. Gout, Mania, Scrofula, Consumption 177. Time and Nature 185. V. Urania and the Muse lament 205. Cupid and Psyche, the deities of sexual love 221. Speech of Hymen 239. Second chain of Society 250. Young Desire 251. Love and Beauty save the world 257. Vegetable sexes, Anthers and Stigmas salute 263. Vegetable sexual generation 271. Anthers of Vallisneria float to the Stigmas 279. Ant, Lampyris, Glow-Worm, Snail 287. Silk-Worm 293. VI. Demon of Jealousy 307. Cocks, Quails, Stags, Boars 313. Knights of Romance 327. Helen and Paris 333. Connubial love 341. Married Birds, nests of the Linnet and Nightingale 343. Lions, Tigers, Bulls, Horses 357. Triumphal car of Cupid 361. Fish, Birds, Insects 371. Vegetables 389. March of Hymen 411. His lamp 419. VII. Urania's advice to her Nymphs 425. Dines with the Muse on forbidden Fruit 435. Angels visit Abraham 447-458.
REPRODUCTION OF LIFE.
I. "How short the span of LIFE! some hours possess'd, Warm but to cool, and active but to rest!— The age-worn fibres goaded to contract, By repetition palsied, cease to act; When Time's cold hands the languid senses seize, Chill the dull nerves, the lingering currents freeze; Organic matter, unreclaim'd by Life, Reverts to elements by chemic strife. Thus Heat evolv'd from some fermenting mass Expands the kindling atoms into gas; 10 Which sink ere long in cold concentric rings, Condensed, on Gravity's descending wings.
[Footnote: How short the span of Life, l. 1. The thinking few in all ages have complained of the brevity of life, lamenting that mankind are not allowed time sufficient to cultivate science, or to improve their intellect. Hippocrates introduces his celebrated aphorisms with this idea; "Life is short, science long, opportunities of knowledge rare, experiments fallacious, and reasoning difficult."—A melancholy reflection to philosophers!]
[Footnote: The age-worn fibres, l. 3. Why the same kinds of food, which enlarge and invigorate the body from infancy to the meridian of life, and then nourish it for some years unimpaired, should at length gradually cease to do so, and the debility of age and death supervene, would be liable to surprise us if we were not in the daily habit of observing it; and is a circumstance which has not yet been well understood.
Before mankind introduced civil society, old age did not exist in the world, nor other lingering diseases; as all living creatures, as soon as they became too feeble to defend themselves, were slain and eaten by others, except the young broods, who were defended by their mother; and hence the animal world existed uniformly in its greatest strength and perfection; see Additional Note VII.]
"But REPRODUCTION with ethereal fires New Life rekindles, ere the first expires; Calls up renascent Youth, ere tottering age Quits the dull scene, and gives him to the stage; Bids on his cheek the rose of beauty blow, And binds the wreaths of pleasure round his brow; With finer links the vital chain extends, And the long line of Being never ends. 20
[Footnote: But Reproduction, l. 13. See Additional Note VIII.]
"Self-moving Engines by unbending springs May walk on earth, or flap their mimic wings; In tubes of glass mercurial columns rise, Or sink, obedient to the incumbent skies; Or, as they touch the figured scale, repeat The nice gradations of circumfluent heat. But REPRODUCTION, when the perfect Elf Forms from fine glands another like itself, Gives the true character of life and sense, And parts the organic from the chemic Ens.— 30 Where milder skies protect the nascent brood, And earth's warm bosom yields salubrious food; Each new Descendant with superior powers Of sense and motion speeds the transient hours; Braves every season, tenants every clime, And Nature rises on the wings of Time.
[Footnote: Unbending springs, l. 21. See Additional Note I. 4.]
"As LIFE discordant elements arrests, Rejects the noxious, and the pure digests; Combines with Heat the fluctuating mass, And gives a while solidity to gas; 40 Organic forms with chemic changes strive, Live but to die, and die but to revive! Immortal matter braves the transient storm, Mounts from the wreck, unchanging but in form.—
[Footnote: Combines with Heat, l. 39. It was shown in note on line 248 of the first Canto, that much of the aerial and liquid parts of the terraqueous globe was converted by the powers of life into solid matter; and that this was effected by the combination of the fluid, heat, with other elementary bodies by the appetencies and propensities of the parts of living matter to unite with each other. But when these appetencies and propensities of the parts of organic matter to unite with each other cease, the chemical affinities of attraction and the aptitude to be attracted, and of repulsion and the aptitude to be repelled, succeed, and reduce much of the solid matters back to the condition of elements; which seems to be effected by the matter of heat being again set at liberty, which was combined with other matters by the powers of life; and thus by its diffusion the solid bodies return into liquid ones or into gasses, as occurs in the processes of fermentation, putrefaction, sublimation, and calcination. Whence solidity appears to be produced in consequence of the diminution of heat, as the condensation of steam into water, and the consolidation of water into ice, or by the combination of heat with bodies, as with the materials of gunpowder before its explosion.]
[Footnote: Immortal matter, l. 43. The perpetual mutability of the forms of matter seems to have struck the philosophers of great antiquity; the system of transmigration taught by Pythagoras, in which the souls of men were supposed after death to animate the bodies of a variety of animals, appears to have arisen from this source. He had observed the perpetual changes of organic matter from one creature to another, and concluded, that the vivifying spirit must attend it.]
"So, as the sages of the East record In sacred symbol, or unletter'd word; Emblem of Life, to change eternal doom'd, The beauteous form of fair ADONIS bloom'd.— On Syrian hills the graceful Hunter slain Dyed with his gushing blood the shuddering plain; 50 And, slow-descending to the Elysian shade, A while with PROSERPINE reluctant stray'd; Soon from the yawning grave the bursting clay Restor'd the Beauty to delighted day; Array'd in youth's resuscitated charms, And young DIONE woo'd him to her arms.— Pleased for a while the assurgent youth above Relights the golden lamp of life and love; Ah, soon again to leave the cheerful light, And sink alternate to the realms of night. 60
[Footnote: Emblem of Life, l. 47. The Egyptian figure of Venus rising from the sea seems to have represented the Beauty of organic Nature; which the philosophers of that country, the magi, appear to have discovered to have been elevated by earthquakes from the primeval ocean. But the hieroglyphic figure of Adonis seems to have signified the spirit of animation or life, which was perpetually wooed or courted by organic matter, and which perished and revived alternately. Afterwards the fable of Adonis seems to have given origin to the first religion promising a resurrection from the dead; whence his funeral and return to life were celebrated for many ages in Egypt and Syria, the ceremonies of which Ezekiel complains as idolatrous, accusing the women of Israel of lamenting over Thammus; which St. Cyril interprets to be Adonis, in his Commentaries on Isaiah; Danet's Diction.]
II. "HENCE ere Vitality, as time revolves, Leaves the cold organ, and the mass dissolves; The Reproductions of the living Ens From sires to sons, unknown to sex, commence. New buds and bulbs the living fibre shoots On lengthening branches, and protruding roots; Or on the father's side from bursting glands The adhering young its nascent form expands; In branching lines the parent-trunk adorns, And parts ere long like plumage, hairs, or horns. 70
"So the lone Truffle, lodged beneath the earth, Shoots from paternal roots the tuberous birth; No stamen-males ascend, and breathe above, No seed-born offspring lives by female love. From each young tree, for future buds design'd Organic drops exsude beneath the rind; While these with appetencies nice invite, And those with apt propensities unite; New embryon fibrils round the trunk combine With quick embrace, and form the living line: 80 Whose plume and rootlet at their early birth Seek the dry air, or pierce the humid earth.
[Footnote: So the lone Truffle, l. 71. Lycoperdon tuber. This plant never rises above the earth, is propagated without seed by its roots only, and seems to require no light. Perhaps many other fungi are generated without seed by their roots only, and without light, and approach on the last account to animal nature.]
[Footnote: While these with appetencies, l. 77. See Additional Note VIII.]
"So safe in waves prolific Volvox dwells, And five descendants crowd his lucid cells; So the male Polypus parental swims, And branching infants bristle all his limbs; So the lone Taenia, as he grows, prolongs His flatten'd form with young adherent throngs; Unknown to sex the pregnant oyster swells, And coral-insects build their radiate shells; 90 Parturient Sires caress their infant train, And heaven-born STORGE weaves the social chain; Successive births her tender cares combine, And soft affections live along the line.
[Footnote: Prolific Volvox, l. 83. The volvox globator dwells in the lakes of Europe, is transparent, and bears within it children and grandchildren to the fifth generation; Syst. Nat.]
[Footnote: The male polypus, l. 85. The Hydra viridis and fusca of Linneus dwell in our ditches and rivers under aquatic plants; these animals have been shown by ingenious observers to revive after having been dried, to be restored when mutilated, to be multiplied by dividing them, and propagated from portions of them, parts of different ones to unite, to be turned inside outwards and yet live, and to be propagated by seeds, to produce bulbs, and vegetate by branches. Syst. Nat.]
[Footnote: The lone Taenia, l. 87. The tape-worm dwells in the intestines of animals, and grows old at one extremity, producing an infinite series of young ones at the other; the separate joints have been called Gourd-worms, each of which possesses a mouth of its own, and organs of digestion. Syst. Nat.]
[Footnote: The pregnant oyster, l. 89. Ostrea edulis dwells in the European oceans, frequent at the tables of the luxurious, a living repast! New-born oysters swim swiftly by an undulating movement of fins thrust out a little way from their shells. Syst. Nat. But they do not afterwards change their place during their whole lives, and are capable of no other movement but that of opening the shell a little way: whence Professor Beckman observes, that their offspring is probably produced without maternal organs; and that those, who speak of male and female oysters, must be mistaken: Phil. Magaz. March 1800. It is also observed by H. I. le Beck, that on nice inspection of the Pearl oysters in the gulf of Manar, he could observe no distinction of sexes. Nicholson's Journal. April 1800.]
[Footnote: And coral insects, l. 90. The coral habitation of the Madrepora of Linneus consists of one or more star-like cells; a congeries of which form rocks beneath the sea; the animal which constructs it is termed Medusa; and as it adheres to its calcareous cavity, and thence cannot travel to its neighbours, is probably without sex. I observed great masses of the limestone in Shropshire, which is brought to Newport, to consist of the cells of these animals.]
[Footnote: And heaven-born Storge, l. 92. See Additional Note IX.]
"On angel-wings the GODDESS FORM descends, Round her fond broods her silver arms she bends; White streams of milk her tumid bosom swell, And on her lips ambrosial kisses dwell. Light joys on twinkling feet before her dance With playful nod, and momentary glance; 100 Behind, attendant on the pansied plain, Young PSYCHE treads with CUPID in her train.
III. "IN these lone births no tender mothers blend Their genial powers to nourish or defend; No nutrient streams from Beauty's orbs improve These orphan babes of solitary love; Birth after birth the line unchanging runs, And fathers live transmitted in their sons; Each passing year beholds the unvarying kinds, The same their manners, and the same their minds. 110 Till, as erelong successive buds decay, And insect-shoals successive pass away, Increasing wants the pregnant parents vex With the fond wish to form a softer sex; Whose milky rills with pure ambrosial food Might charm and cherish their expected brood. The potent wish in the productive hour Calls to its aid Imagination's power, O'er embryon throngs with mystic charm presides, And sex from sex the nascent world divides, 120 With soft affections warms the callow trains, And gives to laughing Love his nymphs and swains; Whose mingling virtues interweave at length The mother's beauty with the father's strength.
[Footnote: A softer sex, l. 114. The first buds of trees raised from seed die annually, and are succeeded by new buds by solitary reproduction; which are larger or more perfect for several successive years, and then they produce sexual flowers, which are succeeded by seminal reproduction. The same occurs in bulbous rooted plants raised from seed; they die annually, and produce others rather more perfect than the parent for several years, and then produce sexual flowers. The Aphis is in a similar manner hatched from an egg in the vernal months, and produces a viviparous offspring without sexual intercourse for nine or ten successive generations; and then the progeny is both male and female, which cohabit, and from these new females are produced eggs, which endure the winter; the same process probably occurs in many other insects.]
[Footnote: Imagination's power, l. 118. The manner in which the similarity of the progeny to the parent, and the sex of it, are produced by the power of imagination, is treated of in Zoonomia. Sect. 39. 6. 3. It is not to be understood, that the first living fibres, which are to form an animal, are produced by imagination, with any similarity of form to the future animal; but with appetencies or propensities, which shall produce by accretion of parts the similarity of form and feature, or of sex, corresponding with the imagination of the father.]
[Footnote: His nymphs and swains, l. 122. The arguments which have been adduced to show, that mankind and quadrupeds were formerly in an hermaphrodite state, are first deduced from the present existence of breasts and nipples in all the males; which latter swell on titillation like those of the females, and which are said to contain a milky fluid at their birth; and it is affirmed, that some men have given milk to their children in desert countries, where the mother has perished; as the male pigeon is said to give a kind of milk from his stomach along with the regurgitated food, to the young doves, as mentioned in Additional Note IX. on Storge.
Secondly, from the apparent progress of many animals to greater perfection, as in some insects, as the flies with two wings, termed Diptera; which have rudiments of two other wings, called halteres, or poisers; and in many flowers which have rudiments of new stamina, or filaments without anthers on them. See Botanic Garden, Vol. II. Curcuma, Note, and the Note on l. 204 of Canto I. of this work. It has been supposed by some, that mankind were formerly quadrupeds as well as hermaphrodites; and that some parts of the body are not yet so convenient to an erect attitude as to a horizontal one; as the fundus of the bladder in an erect posture is not exactly over the insertion of the urethra; whence it is seldom completely evacuated, and thus renders mankind more subject to the stone, than if he had preserved his horizontality: these philosophers, with Buffon and Helvetius, seem to imagine, that mankind arose from one family of monkeys on the banks of the Mediterranean; who accidentally had learned to use the adductor pollicis, or that strong muscle which constitutes the ball of the thumb, and draws the point of it to meet the points of the fingers; which common monkeys do not; and that this muscle gradually increased in size, strength, and activity, in successive generations; and by this improved use of the sense of touch, that monkeys acquired clear ideas, and gradually became men.
Perhaps all the productions of nature are in their progress to greater perfection! an idea countenanced by modern discoveries and deductions concerning the progressive formation of the solid parts of the terraqueous globe, and consonant to the dignity of the Creator of all things.]
"So tulip-bulbs emerging from the seed, Year after year unknown to sex proceed; Erewhile the stamens and the styles display Their petal-curtains, and adorn the day; The beaux and beauties in each blossom glow With wedded joy, or amatorial woe. 130 Unmarried Aphides prolific prove For nine successions uninform'd of love; New sexes next with softer passions spring, Breathe the fond vow, and woo with quivering wing.
"So erst in Paradise creation's LORD, As the first leaves of holy writ record, From Adam's rib, who press'd the flowery grove, And dreamt delighted of untasted love, To cheer and charm his solitary mind, Form'd a new sex, the MOTHER OF MANKIND. 140 —Buoy'd on light step the Beauty seem'd to swim, And stretch'd alternate every pliant limb; Pleased on Euphrates' velvet margin stood, And view'd her playful image in the flood; Own'd the fine flame of love, as life began, And smiled enchantment on adoring Man. Down her white neck and o'er her bosom roll'd, Flow'd in sweet negligence her locks of gold; Round her fine form the dim transparence play'd, And show'd the beauties, that it seem'd to shade. 150 —Enamour'd ADAM gaz'd with fond surprise, And drank delicious passion from her eyes; Felt the new thrill of young Desire, and press'd The graceful Virgin to his glowing breast.— The conscious Fair betrays her soft alarms, Sinks with warm blush into his closing arms, Yields to his fond caress with wanton play, And sweet, reluctant, amorous, delay.
[Footnote: The mother of mankind, l. 140. See Additional Note X.]
IV. "WHERE no new Sex with glands nutritious feeds, Nurs'd in her womb, the solitary breeds; 160 No Mother's care their early steps directs, Warms in her bosom, with her wings protects; The clime unkind, or noxious food instills To embryon nerves hereditary ills; The feeble births acquired diseases chase, Till Death extinguish the degenerate race.
[Footnote: Acquired diseases, l. 165. See Additional Note XI.]
"So grafted trees with shadowy summits rise, Spread their fair blossoms, and perfume the skies; Till canker taints the vegetable blood, Mines round the bark, and feeds upon the wood. 170 So, years successive, from perennial roots The wire or bulb with lessen'd vigour shoots; Till curled leaves, or barren flowers, betray A waning lineage, verging to decay; Or till, amended by connubial powers, Rise seedling progenies from sexual flowers.
[Footnote: So grafted trees, l. 167. Mr. Knight first observed that those apple and pear trees, which had been propagated for above a century by ingraftment were now so unhealthy, as not to be worth cultivation. I have suspected the diseases of potatoes attended with the curled leaf, and of strawberry plants attended with barren flowers, to be owing to their having been too long raised from roots, or by solitary reproduction, and not from seeds, or sexual reproduction, and to have thence acquired those hereditary diseases.]
"E'en where unmix'd the breed, in sexual tribes Parental taints the nascent babe imbibes; Eternal war the Gout and Mania wage With fierce uncheck'd hereditary rage; 180 Sad Beauty's form foul Scrofula surrounds With bones distorted, and putrescent wounds; And, fell Consumption! thy unerring dart Wets its broad wing in Youth's reluctant heart.
[Footnote: And, fell Consumption, l. 183.
... Haeret lateri lethalis arundo. VIRGIL.]
"With pausing step, at night's refulgent noon, Beneath the sparkling stars, and lucid moon, Plung'd in the shade of some religious tower, The slow bell counting the departed hour, O'er gaping tombs where shed umbrageous Yews On mouldering bones their cold unwholesome dews; 190 While low aerial voices whisper round, And moondrawn spectres dance upon the ground; Poetic MELANCHOLY loves to tread, And bend in silence o'er the countless Dead; Marks with loud sobs infantine Sorrows rave, And wring their pale hands o'er their Mother's grave; Hears on the new-turn'd sod with gestures wild The kneeling Beauty call her buried child; Upbraid with timorous accents Heaven's decrees, And with sad sighs augment the passing breeze. 200 'Stern Time,' She cries, 'receives from Nature's womb Her beauteous births, and bears them to the tomb; Calls all her sons from earth's remotest bourn, And from the closing portals none return!'
V. URANIA paused,—upturn'd her streaming eyes, And her white bosom heaved with silent sighs; With her the MUSE laments the sum of things, And hides her sorrows with her meeting wings; Long o'er the wrecks of lovely Life they weep, Then pleased reflect, "to die is but to sleep;" 210 From Nature's coffins to her cradles turn, Smile with young joy, with new affection burn.
And now the Muse, with mortal woes impress'd, Thus the fair Hierophant again address'd. —"Ah me! celestial Guide, thy words impart Ills undeserved, that rend the nascent heart! O, Goddess, say, if brighter scenes improve Air-breathing tribes, and births of sexual love?"— The smiling Fair obeys the inquiring Muse, And in sweet tones her grateful task pursues. 220
"Now on broad pinions from the realms above Descending CUPID seeks the Cyprian grove; To his wide arms enamour'd PSYCHE springs, And clasps her lover with aurelian wings. A purple sash across HIS shoulder bends, And fringed with gold the quiver'd shafts suspends; The bending bow obeys the silken string, And, as he steps, the silver arrows ring. Thin folds of gauze with dim transparence flow O'er HER fair forehead, and her neck of snow; 230 The winding woof her graceful limbs surrounds, Swells in the breeze, and sweeps the velvet grounds; As hand in hand along the flowery meads His blushing bride the quiver'd hero leads; Charm'd round their heads pursuing Zephyrs throng, And scatter roses, as they move along; Bright beams of Spring in soft effusion play, And halcyon Hours invite them on their way.
[Footnote: Enamoured Psyche, l. 223. A butterfly was the ancient emblem of the soul after death as rising from the tomb of its former state, and becoming a winged inhabitant of air from an insect creeping upon earth. At length the wings only were given to a beautiful nymph under the name of Psyche, which is the greek word for the soul, and also became afterwards to signify a butterfly probably from the popularity of this allegory. Many allegorical designs of Cupid or Love warming a butterfly or the Soul with his torch may be seen in Spence's Polymetis, and a beautiful one of their marriage in Bryant's Mythology; from which this description is in part taken.]
"Delighted HYMEN hears their whisper'd vows, And binds his chaplets round their polish'd brows, 240 Guides to his altar, ties the flowery bands, And as they kneel, unites their willing hands. 'Behold, he cries, Earth! Ocean! Air above, 'And hail the DEITIES OF SEXUAL LOVE! 'All forms of Life shall this fond Pair delight, 'And sex to sex the willing world unite; 'Shed their sweet smiles in Earth's unsocial bowers, 'Fan with soft gales, and gild with brighter hours; 'Fill Pleasure's chalice unalloy'd with pain, 'And give SOCIETY his golden chain.' 250
"Now young DESIRES, on purple pinions borne, Mount the warm gales of Manhood's rising morn; With softer fires through virgin bosoms dart, Flush the pale cheek, and goad the tender heart. Ere the weak powers of transient Life decay, And Heaven's ethereal image melts away; LOVE with nice touch renews the organic frame, Forms a young Ens, another and the same; Gives from his rosy lips the vital breath, And parries with his hand the shafts of death; 260 While BEAUTY broods with angel wings unfurl'd O'er nascent life, and saves the sinking world.
[Footnote: While Beauty broods, l. 261.
Alma Venus! per te quoniam genus omne animantum Concipitur, visitque exortum lumina coeli. LUCRET.]
"HENCE on green leaves the sexual Pleasures dwell, And Loves and Beauties crowd the blossom's bell; The wakeful Anther in his silken bed O'er the pleased Stigma bows his waxen head; With meeting lips and mingling smiles they sup Ambrosial dewdrops from the nectar'd cup; Or buoy'd in air the plumy Lover springs, And seeks his panting bride on Hymen-wings. 270
[Footnote: From the nectar'd cup, l. 268. The anthers and stigmas of flowers are probably nourished by the honey, which is secreted by the honey-gland called by Linneus the nectary; and possess greater sensibility or animation than other parts of the plant. The corol of the flower appears to be a respiratory organ belonging to these anthers and stigmas for the purpose of further oxygenating the vegetable blood for the production of the anther dust and of this honey, which is also exposed to the air in its receptacle or honey-cup; which, I suppose, to be necessary for its further oxygenation, as in many flowers so complicate an apparatus is formed for its protection from insects, as in aconitum, delphinium, larkspur, lonicera, woodbine; and because the corol and nectary fall along with the anthers and stigmas, when the pericarp is impregnated.
Dr. B. S. Barton in the American Transactions has lately shown, that the honey collected from some plants is intoxicating and poisonous to men, as from rhododendron, azalea, and datura; and from some other plants that it is hurtful to the bees which collect it; and that from some flowers it is so injurious or disagreeable, that they do not collect it, as from the fritillaria or crown imperial of this country.]
"The Stamen males, with appetencies just, Produce a formative prolific dust; With apt propensities, the Styles recluse Secrete a formative prolific juice; These in the pericarp erewhile arrive, Rush to each other, and embrace alive. —Form'd by new powers progressive parts succeed, Join in one whole, and swell into a seed.
[Footnote: With appetencies just, l. 271. As in the productions by chemical affinity one set of particles must possess the power of attraction, and the other the aptitude to be attracted, as when iron approaches a magnet; so when animal particles unite, whether in digestion or reproduction, some of them must possess an appetite to unite, and others a propensity to be united. The former of these are secreted by the anthers from the vegetable blood, and the latter by the styles or pericarp; see the Additional Note VIII. on Reproduction.]
"So in fond swarms the living Anthers shine Of bright Vallisner on the wavy Rhine; 280 Break from their stems, and on the liquid glass Surround the admiring stigmas as they pass; The love-sick Beauties lift their essenced brows, Sigh to the Cyprian queen their secret vows, Like watchful Hero feel their soft alarms, And clasp their floating lovers in their arms.
[Footnote: Of bright Vallisner, l. 280. Vallisneria, of the class of dioecia. The flowers of the male plant are produced under water, and as soon as their farina or dust is mature, they detach themselves from the plant, rise to the surface and continue to flourish, and are wafted by the air or borne by the current to the female flowers. In this they resemble those tribes of insects, where the males at certain seasons acquire wings, but not the females, as ants, coccus, lampyris, phalaena, brumata, lichanella; Botanic Garden, Vol. II. Note on Vallisneria.]
"Hence the male Ants their gauzy wings unfold, And young Lampyris waves his plumes of gold; The Glow-Worm sparkles with impassion'd light On each green bank, and charms the eye of night; 290 While new desires the painted Snail perplex, And twofold love unites the double sex.
[Footnote: And young Lampyris, l. 288. The fire-fly is at some seasons so luminous, that M. Merian says, that by putting two of them under a glass, she was able to draw her figures of them by night. Whether the light of this and of other insects be caused by their amatorial passion, and thus assists them to find each other; or is caused by respiration, which is so analogous to combustion; or to a tendency to putridity, as in dead fish and rotten wood, is still to be investigated; see Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Additional Note IX.]
"Hence, when the Morus in Italia's lands To spring's warm beam its timid leaf expands; The Silk-Worm broods in countless tribes above Crop the green treasure, uninform'd of love; Erewhile the changeful worm with circling head Weaves the nice curtains of his silken bed; Web within web involves his larva form, Alike secured from sunshine and from storm; 300 For twelve long days He dreams of blossom'd groves, Untasted honey, and ideal loves; Wakes from his trance, alarm'd with young Desire, Finds his new sex, and feels ecstatic fire; From flower to flower with honey'd lip he springs, And seeks his velvet loves on silver wings.
[Footnote: Untasted honey, l. 302. The numerous moths and butterflies seem to pass from a reptile leaf-eating state, and to acquire wings to flit in air, with a proboscis to gain honey for their food along with their organs of reproduction, solely for the purpose of propagating their species by sexual intercourse, as they die when that is completed. By the use of their wings they have access to each other on different branches or on different vegetables, and by living upon honey probably acquire a higher degree of animation, and thus seem to resemble the anthers of flowers, which probably are supported by honey only, and thence acquire greater sensibility; see Note on Vallisneria, l. 280 of this Canto.
A naturalist, who had studied this subject, thought it not impossible that the first insects were the anthers and stigmas of flowers, which had by some means loosened themselves from their parent plant, like the male flowers of vallisneria, and that other insects in process of time had been formed from these, some acquiring wings, others fins, and others claws, from their ceaseless efforts to procure food or to secure themselves from injury. He contends, that none of these changes are more incomprehensible than the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies; see Botanic Garden, Vol. I. Additional Note XXXIX.]
VI. "The Demon, Jealousy, with Gorgon frown Blasts the sweet flowers of Pleasure not his own, Rolls his wild eyes, and through the shuddering grove Pursues the steps of unsuspecting Love; 310 Or drives o'er rattling plains his iron car, Flings his red torch, and lights the flames of war.
Here Cocks heroic burn with rival rage, And Quails with Quails in doubtful fight engage; Of armed heels and bristling plumage proud, They sound the insulting clarion shrill and loud, With rustling pinions meet, and swelling chests, And seize with closing beaks their bleeding crests; Rise on quick wing above the struggling foe, And aim in air the death-devoting blow. 320 There the hoarse stag his croaking rival scorns, And butts and parries with his branching horns; Contending Boars with tusk enamell'd strike, And guard with shoulder-shield the blow oblique; While female bands attend in mute surprise, And view the victor with admiring eyes.—
[Footnote: There the hoarse stag, l. 321. A great want of one part of the animal world has consisted in the desire of the exclusive possession of the females; and these have acquired weapons to combat each other for this purpose, as the very thick shield-like horny skin on the shoulder of the boar is a defence only against animals of his own species, who strike obliquely upwards, nor are his tushes for other purposes, except to defend himself, as he is not naturally a carnivorous animal. So the horns of the stag are sharp to offend his adversary, but are branched for the purpose of parrying or receiving the thrusts of horns similar to his own, and have therefore been formed for the purpose of combating other stags for the exclusive possession of the females, who are observed, like the ladies in the times of chivalry, to attend the car of the victor.
The birds, which do not carry food to their young, and do not therefore marry, are armed with spurs for the purpose of fighting for the exclusive possession of the females, as cocks and quails. It is certain that these weapons are not provided for their defence against other adversaries, because the females of these species are without this armour; Zoonomia, Sect. XXXIX. 4, 8.]
"So Knight on Knight, recorded in romance, Urged the proud steed, and couch'd the extended lance; He, whose dread prowess with resistless force, O'erthrew the opposing warrior and his horse, 330 Bless'd, as the golden guerdon of his toils, Bow'd to the Beauty, and receiv'd her smiles.
"So when fair HELEN with ill-fated charms, By PARIS wooed, provoked the world to arms, Left her vindictive Lord to sigh in vain For broken vows, lost love, and cold disdain; Fired at his wrongs, associate to destroy The realms unjust of proud adulterous Troy, Unnumber'd Heroes braved the dubious fight, And sunk lamented to the shades of night. 340
"Now vows connubial chain the plighted pair, And join paternal with maternal care; The married birds with nice selection cull Soft thistle-down, gray moss, and scattered wool, Line the secluded nest with feathery rings, Meet with fond bills, and woo with fluttering wings. Week after week, regardless of her food, The incumbent Linnet warms her future brood; Each spotted egg with ivory lips she turns, Day after day with fond expectance burns, 350 Hears the young prisoner chirping in his cell, And breaks in hemispheres the obdurate shell. Loud trills sweet Philomel his tender strain, Charms his fond bride, and wakes his infant train; Perch'd on the circling moss, the listening throng Wave their young wings, and whisper to the song.
[Footnote: The incumbent Linnet, l. 348. The affection of the unexperienced and untaught bird to its egg, which induces it to sit days and weeks upon it to warm the enclosed embryon, is a matter of great difficulty to explain; See Additional Note IX. on Storge. Concerning the fabrication of their nests, see Zoonomia, Sect. XVI. 13. on instinct.]
[Footnote: Hears the young prisoner, l. 351. The air-vessel at the broad end of an incubated egg gradually extends its edges along the sides of the shell, as the chick enlarges, but is at the same time applied closer to the internal surface of the shell; when the time of hatching approaches the chick is liable to break this air-bag with its beak, and thence begin to breathe and to chirp; at this time the edges of the enlarged air-bag extend so as to cover internally one hemisphere of the egg; and as one half of the external shell is thus moist, and the other half dry, as soon as the mother hearing the chick chirp, or the chick itself wanting respirable air, strikes the egg, about its equatorial line, it breaks into two hemispheres, and liberates the prisoner.]
[Footnote: And whisper to the song, l. 356. A curious circumstance is mentioned by Kircherus de Musurgia, in his Chapter de Lusciniis. "That the young nightingales, that are hatched under other birds, never sing till they are instructed by the company of other nightingales." And Johnston affirms, that the nightingales that visit Scotland, have not the same harmony as those of Italy, (Pennant's Zoology, octavo, p. 255), which would lead us to suspect, that the singing of birds, like human music, is an artificial language rather than a natural expression of passion.]
"The Lion-King forgets his savage pride, And courts with playful paws his tawny bride; The listening Tiger hears with kindling flame The love-lorn night-call of his brinded dame. 360 Despotic LOVE dissolves the bestial war, Bends their proud necks, and joins them to his car; Shakes o'er the obedient pairs his silken thong, And goads the humble, or restrains the strong.— Slow roll the silver wheels,—in beauty's pride Celestial PSYCHE blushing by his side.— The lordly Bull behind and warrior Horse With voice of thunder shake the echoing course, Chain'd to the car with herds domestic move, And swell the triumph of despotic LOVE. 370
"Pleased as they pass along the breezy shore In twinkling shoals the scaly realms adore, Move on quick fin with undulating train, Or lift their slimy foreheads from the main. High o'er their heads on pinions broad display'd The feather'd nations shed a floating shade; Pair after pair enamour'd shoot along, And trill in air the gay impassion'd song. With busy hum in playful swarms around Emerging insects leave the peopled ground, 380 Rise in dark clouds, and borne in airy rings Sport round the car, and wave their golden wings. Admiring Fawns pursue on dancing hoof, And bashful Dryads peep from shades aloof; Emerging Nereids rise from coral cells, Enamour'd Tritons sound their twisted shells; From sparkling founts enchanted Naiads move, And swell the triumph of despotic LOVE.
[Footnote: With undulating train, l. 373. The side fins of fish seem to be chiefly used to poise them; as they turn upon their backs immediately when killed, the air-bladder assists them perhaps to rise or descend by its possessing the power to condense the air in it by muscular contraction; and it is possible, that at great depths in the ocean the air in this receptacle may by the great pressure of the incumbent water become condensed into so small a space, as to cease to be useful to the animal, which was possibly the cause of the death of Mr. Day in his diving ship. See note on Ulva, Botan. Gard. V. II.
The progressive motion of fish beneath the water is produced principally by the undulation of their tails. One oblique plain of a part of the tail on the right side of the fish strikes the water at the same time that another oblique plain strikes it on the left side, hence in respect to moving to the right or left these percussions of the water counteract each other, but they coincide in respect to the progression of the fish; this power seems to be better applied to push forwards a body in water, than the oars of boats, as the particles of water recede from the stroke of the oar, whence the comparative power acquired is but as the difference of velocity between the striking oar and the receding water. So a ship moves swifter with an oblique wind, than with a wind of the same velocity exactly behind it; and the common windmill sail placed obliquely to the wind is more powerful than one which directly recedes from it. Might not some machinery resembling the tails of fish be placed behind a boat, so as to be moved with greater effect than common oars, by the force of wind or steam, or perhaps by hand?]
[Footnote: On pinions broad display'd, l. 375. The progressive motion of birds in the air is principally performed by the movement of their wings, and not by that of their tails as in fish. The bird is supported in an element so much lighter than itself by the resistance of the air as it moves horizontally against the oblique plain made by its breast, expanded tail and wings, when they are at rest; the change of this obliquity also assists it to rise, and even directs its descent, though this is owing principally to its specific gravity, but it is in all situations kept upright or balanced by its wings.
As the support of the bird in the air, as well as its progression, is performed by the motion of the wings; these require strong muscles as are seen on the breasts of partridges. Whence all attempts of men to fly by wings applied to the weak muscles of their arms have been ineffectual; but it is not certain whether light machinery so contrived as to be moved by their feet, might not enable them to fly a little way, though not so as to answer any useful purpose.]
"Delighted Flora, gazing from afar, Greets with mute homage the triumphal car; 390 On silvery slippers steps with bosom bare, Bends her white knee, and bows her auburn hair; Calls to her purple heaths, and blushing bowers, Bursts her green gems, and opens all her flowers; O'er the bright Pair a shower of roses sheds, And crowns with wreathes of hyacinth their heads.— —Slow roll the silver wheels with snowdrops deck'd, And primrose bands the cedar spokes connect; Round the fine pole the twisting woodbine clings, And knots of jasmine clasp the bending springs; 400 Bright daisy links the velvet harness chain, And rings of violets join each silken rein; Festoon'd behind, the snow-white lilies bend, And tulip-tassels on each side depend. —Slow rolls the car,—the enamour'd Flowers exhale Their treasured sweets, and whisper to the gale; Their ravelled buds, and wrinkled cups unfold, Nod their green stems, and wave their bells of gold; Breathe their soft sighs from each enchanted grove, And hail THE DEITIES OF SEXUAL LOVE. 410
"ONWARD with march sublime in saffron robe Young HYMEN steps, and traverses the globe; O'er burning sands, and snow-clad mountains, treads, Blue fields of air, and ocean's briny beds; Flings from his radiant torch celestial light O'er Day's wide concave, and illumes the Night. With dulcet eloquence his tuneful tongue Convokes and captivates the Fair and Young; His golden lamp with ray ethereal dyes The blushing cheek, and lights the laughing eyes; 420 With secret flames the virgin's bosom warms, And lights the impatient bridegroom to her arms; With lovely life all Nature's frame inspires, And, as they sink, rekindles all her fires."
VII. Now paused the beauteous Teacher, and awhile Gazed on her train with sympathetic smile. 'Beware of Love! she cried, ye Nymphs, and hear 'His twanging bowstring with alarmed ear; 'Fly the first whisper of the distant dart, 'Or shield with adamant the fluttering heart; 430 'To secret shades, ye Virgin trains, retire, 'And in your bosoms guard the vestal fire.' —The obedient Beauties hear her words, advised, And bow with laugh repress'd, and smile chastised.