taken charge of any single genus, as the gnats or the mosquitoes, would have been enough, he thought, for the life-work of a judicious man.
We smile at this as extravagance, and yet we have, by the direct confession of the great leader of modern science, the noble and large-minded Darwin
, an instance of almost complete atrophy of one whole side of the mind at the very time when its scientific action was at its highest point.
Up to the age of thirty, Darwin
tells us, he took intense delight in poetry --Milton
, and Shelley-while he read Shakespeare
with supreme enjoyment.
Pictures and music also gave him much pleasure.
But at sixty-seven he writes that “for many years he cannot endure to read a line of poetry” ; that he has lately tried Shakespeare
, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated him; and that he has almost lost all taste for pictures and music.
This he records, not with satisfaction, but with “great regret” ; 1
he would gladly have it otherwise, but cannot.
It is simply that one whole side of his intellectual being was paralyzed; a loss which all the healthy enjoyment of the