Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
A Scientist's Sleepless Hours
(S704: 1913)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A short feature printed on page 569 of the 21 November 1913 issue of Public Opinion. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S704.htm


    DR. ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE, the great scientist whose death we recorded last week, a little while ago wrote to Solomon Eagle, of the New Statesman, saying:--

    "Your article makes me think that you are well acquainted with our early poets, and can tell me--what I have wished to learn for 70 years--the writers of the enclosed two short poems on Love, which have been in my memory since my early youth, but which I have never been able to find in any books I possess or have access to. To me they seem perfect gems of thought and expression, and if you have never met with them perhaps you will print them in your next article in order to discover if any of your readers can solve the problem of their authorship. They seem to me to have the 'ring' of the best Elizabethan poets.

    "I think I have quoted them correctly, as they form a portion of the small stock of my favourite verses with which I beguile my many sleepless hours."

    "The first, called 'Two Kinds of Love,' was by Moore.

    "To sigh, yet feel no pain,
    To weep, yet scarce know why,
    To toy an hour with beauty's chain,
    Then throw it idly by;
    To kneel at every shrine
    Then give the heart to none;
    To feel all other charms divine
    But those we just have won;
    This love--faithless love--
    Such as kindleth hearts that rove.

    "To keep one sacred flame
    Through life unchanged, unmoved,
    To love in wintry age the same
    As first in youth we loved;
    To feel that we adore
    With such refined excess
    That thought the heart would break with more
    It could not love with less;
    This is love--faithful love--
    Such as Saints might feel above!

    "The other poem is an octette, beginning 'Love! I will tell you what it is to love,' and is by C. Swain.

    "Wallace's experience differed from that of Darwin, who complained in later life that the sense of beauty in poetry, which he had possessed as a young man, had been entirely destroyed by his scientific occupations," says Solomon Eagle. "Huxley, on the other hand, when not demonstrating the origin of the vertebrate skull or the improbability of Jehovah, wrote poems himself. Some of them are included in the new volume of his wife's verse; they are irreproachable in sentiment, but in expression they are what one would expect from an Archbishop's wife. However far they are from the 'Ode to a Grecian Urn,' they do attest the presence of the almost universal impulse to pour one's feelings into a metrical vessel.

    Sir Oliver Lodge says, in the Clarion:--

    "It seems to me that Wallace's noble, simple life and high standard of scientific honour are among his best legacies to humanity."


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