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The Temple of Nature; or, the Origin of Society A Poem, with Philosophical Notes   By: (1731-1802)

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[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;

OR,

THE ORIGIN OF SOCIETY.

T. Bensley, Printer, Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London.

THE TEMPLE OF NATURE;

OR,

THE ORIGIN OF SOCIETY:

A POEM,

WITH PHILOSOPHICAL NOTES.

BY

ERASMUS DARWIN, M.D. F.R.S.

AUTHOR OF THE BOTANIC GARDEN, OF ZOONOMIA, AND OF PHYTOLOGIA.

Unde hominum pecudumque genus, vitæque volantum, Et quæ marmoreo fert monstra sub æquore pontus? Igneus est illis vigor, & cælestis origo.

VIRG. Æn. VI. 728.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,

BY T. BENSLEY, BOLT COURT, FLEET STREET.

1803.

PREFACE.

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.

CANTO I.

PRODUCTION OF LIFE.

CONTENTS.

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.

CANTO I.

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... Continue reading book >>




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