By J. David Pleins
George John Romanes, shut buddy and colleague of Darwin, is still a misunderstood determine within the heritage of evolutionary technology. even if his clinical contributions were valued, his spiritual trip has been both ignored or misjudged. in general students merely recognize the various paintings on theism he did on the very finish of his lifestyles and customarily blame his spouse for doctoring the list together with her pieties. His large poetry writing, a lot of it spiritual, hasn't ever been explored and his "Memorial Poem" to Darwin has been thoroughly missed. the hot discovery of the unique typescript of the poem, misplaced for greater than a century and reprinted during this ebook for the 1st time, permits us to go into the brain of a tremendous Darwinian as we watch him fight to place jointly religion and technology on a good basis.
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Extra info for In Praise of Darwin: George Romanes and the Evolution of a Darwinian Believer
Perhaps evolutionary descent and inheritance makes for a kind of immortality? Like the first quatrain, the third is peppered with words for life to reinforce this newfound hope in an “Eternal life” that is shared by kindred minds. The poet races through time, reflecting on past deeds, the sweet now, and future heirs; in the process he begins to catch a glimpse of Darwin’s vision of the immortal energies at work in the world: Life itself is what lives on. 2. The web of things on every side Is joined by lines we may not see; And, great or narrow, small or wide, 32 In Praise of Darwin What has been governs what shall be.
To make the plea more personal, he radically shifts the form of the poems by abandoning the 10-line structure of the preceding to craft pieces of 12, 14, and 16 lines. In this way, he begins to shape and tell the story of his own spiritual journey. 22 Thus, the 12-line poems read as three stanzas of four lines each. The 14-line poems or sonnets always end with a rhymed couplet, adopting the Shakespearean form. The 16-line poems simply add a fourth quatrain which is often indented a bit to set off the concluding thought.
The combination of “Great Spirit,” “overwhelmed,” and “Obedient” would seem to echo the angel’s appearance to Mary the mother of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God … Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 31–8, KJV). ” The mourner yearns for a relationship with the divine; but how is spiritual consolation possible in a Darwinian universe? He seeks to stand on more solid ground by taking refuge in the “promise” in the second quatrain.