‘The Temple of Nature’ (1802) by Erasmus Darwin

Organic life beneath the shoreless waves 
Was born, and nursed in Ocean’s pearly caves; 
First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass, 
Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass; 
These, as successive generations bloom, 
New powers acquire and larger limbs assume; 
Whence countless groups of vegetation spring, 
And breathing realms of fin, and feet, and wing.
Thus the tall Oak, the giant of the wood, 
Which bears Britannia’s thunders on the flood; 
The Whale, unmeasured monster of the main; 
The lordly lion, monarch of the plain; 
The eagle, soaring in the realms of air, 
Whose eye, undazzled, drinks the solar glare; 
Imperious man, who rules the bestial crowd, 
Of language, reason, and reflection proud, 
With brow erect, who scorns this earthy sod, 
And styles himself the image of his God – 
Arose from rudiments of form and sense, 
An embryon point or microscopic ens!

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