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Pleasant Ways in Science.

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expression of the Evolution Hypothesis. This conception he clearly adopted, and it pervades his poetry so far as it was written after the publication of the Origin of Species (1859). We must content ourselves with two couplets from Locksley Hall Sixty Years After :

Evolution ever climbing after some ideal good,

And Reversion ever dragging Evolution in the mud.

Many an æon moulded earth before her highest, man, was born,

Many an aon too may pass when earth is manless and forlorn.

To turn back for a moment over the wide intellectual area that has been traversed-Botany, Zoology, Geology, Astronomy-it must be apparent how largely Tennyson was indebted to scientific truth for suggesting new ideas in his poetry, and how much charm and freshness these added to his verse. If all such pleasing references as we have quoted-allusions to scientific fact so skilfully and correctly utilised—were to be excised from his pages, although much would still be left of the highest value, we should miss the individuality which science gave to his work. How far he surpassed all other poets in this regard will be seen when we come to search for similar applications of scientific truth to poetic purposes in other poets.

It has been often affirmed that science and poetry are opposed and that science will ultimately kill poetry. Keats thought that Optics, by explaining the rainbow, had robbed it of its poetic halo of mystery and enrolled it among common things. It is all false, and we have only to point to Tennyson in proof of its falseness. Science is the auxiliary, not the enemy, of poetic art, and creates as many new mysteries as she explains.

CHAPTER V

WORDSWORTH AS A NATURE POET

Words

It is a far cry from Tennyson to Wordsworth as exponents of scientific fact and minute observation. We have seen how lovingly Tennyson dwelt on microscopic details in flowers, and how closely he studied the habits and the notes of birds. worth loved Nature with an ecstatic fervour-an overmastering passion that Tennyson could not boast; his eye and his ear were open to be played upon by every natural appearance in hill, in cloud, in stream and in tree; but his outlook was broader and, in one sense, less intimate. In other words, he was less of a scientist in the modern acceptation of that term than Tennyson. He was always accurate so far as his observation went, but he rather despised too inquisitive examination.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings ;

Our meddling intellect

Misshapes the beauteous forms of things;-
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art ;

Close up those barren leaves;

Come forth and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

In Expostulation and Reply, while expressing the same thought, he insists that we can feed our minds "in a wise passiveness," that it is a mistake to be always seeking, that if we open our hearts in reverence, Nature will enter. Hence he has a certain aversion to the modern botanist who explores every corner of a hillside or a shady wood in his search for rare plants, and, when he has found them, pulls their blossoms to pieces to discern their floral structure. One, all eyes

Philosopher! a fingering slave,

One that would peep and botanise
Upon his mother's grave.

Yet in his preface to "This lawn a carpet all alive," Wordsworth takes a line more sympathetic towards science: "Some are of opinion that the habit of analysing, decomposing, and anatomising is inevitably unfavourable to the perception of beauty. People are led into this mistake by overlooking the fact that such processes are to a certain extent within the reach of a limited intellect: the beauty in form of a plant or an animal is not made less, but more, apparent as a whole by more accurate

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