Darwin’s Tangled Bank in Verse | PLOS Biologue

I love the ending of Darwin’s Origin of species.

“It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank”

Here it is in verse



Editor’s note: PLOS Biology is delighted to post this ode to nature on behalf of PLOS cofounder Mike Eisen. The title page of the 1859 edition of Darwin’s Origin. My daughter has to memorize a poem for a school performance, and asked me if I knew a good poem about nature. There are, of course, many good ones, but I really wanted her to have the most poetic thing ever written about nature – the last paragraph of Darwin’s Origin of Species – rendered in verse. So I gave it a try. The Tangled Bank Contemplate a tangled bank Clothed with many kinds of plant Insects and birds flitting about Worms crawling through the damp Reflect that these elaborate And differently constructed forms Have been produced by such a simple set Of ever acting norms Growth, reproduction and inheritance Variation to transmit Natural selection then leading to Extinction of the less fit From the war of nature From famine and from death Follow the most exalted species To have ever drawn a breath There is grandeur in

Source: Darwin’s Tangled Bank in Verse | PLOS Biologue

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