BY ERASMUS DARWIN  (ENGLAND, 1791)
WITH PUBLIC-DOMAIN PICTURE OF ERASMUS DARWIN

erasmus darwin

When Love Divine, with brooding wings unfurl’d,
Called from the rude abyss the living World,

‘Let there be light!,’ proclaimed the Almighty Lord,
Astonished Chaos heard the potent word;
Through all his realms the kindling ether runs
And the mass starts into a million Suns.

Earths round each Sun with quick explosions burst,
And second Planets issue from the first;
Bend as they journey with projectile force,
In bright ellipses their reluctant course;
Orbs wheel in orbs, round centres centres roll,
And form, self-balanced, one revolving whole--
Onward they move, amid their bright abode,
Space without bound, the bosom of their God!

“The Botanic Garden” (written in 1791), from which these lines are excerpted, was the best-selling poem in English throughout the 1790s. Its author was Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of evolutionist Charles Darwin.

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