A Botanic Garden of Planets

I’ve been reading, with rapidly growing delight and astonishment, an amazing poem called The Botanic Garden , which was written by Erasmus Darwin in 1789. It is a truly wonderful work which depicts the Universe as a vast laboratory set up by a Divine Creator through verses that generate a thrilling sense of  momentum and vitality. Take this example, a passage from the First Canto, dealing with the creation of the stars and planets:

‘Let there be Light!’, proclaimed the Almighty Lord,
Astonish’d Chaos heard the potent word: – 
Through all his realms the kindly 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 bend their reluctant course; 
Orbs wheel in orbs, round centres centres roll, 
And form, self-balanced, one revolving Whole.

It doesn’t quite fit with modern theories of star and planet formation, but it’s certainly beautifully expressed!

One Response to “A Botanic Garden of Planets”

  1. […] In the Dark: A Botanic Garden of Planets […]

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