The Diurnal River
E L A
Exploration, Botany, Wonder, Physical Geography, Piety
Begins: 'When first the new world met the eager view, / Of him from Europe, strange was his delight; / All things were fresh, a wonder in his sight— / A simple weed is "Marvel of Peru!"'. A footnote, apparently taken from Rousseau 1785, substantiates this claim, noting: 'The plants and animals which were sent to Europe, had pompous names given them: one of these is the Marvel of Peru, the only wonder of which is the variety of colors in the flower'. The poem recounts that a mountain river in the new world, fed by melting snows, was reported to be diurnal in its flow. The poet observes an analogy with life: earth gives no sustenance 'in the season of affliction's night'. By contrast, the divine 'fount [...] flows fullest in the darkest hour'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]