Darwin, Erasmus. The Botanic Garden; a Poem, in Two Parts. Part I. Containing the Economy of Vegetation. Part II. The Loves of the Plants. With Philosophical Notes. London, Printed for J. Johnson, 1791

Erasmus Darwin, 1731-1802, grandfather of Charles Darwin, was a physician, scientist and poet who resided at Lichfield, then at Derby. He was one of the group who first translated Linnaeus’ work into English, The Botanic Garden, and a book called Phytologia, or the Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening..., 1800, containing information on the draining of wet lands and construction of ploughs.

Originally published anonymously, The Botanic Garden is a poem about nature in which the voice of the "botanic muse" tours plant species describing the sexual system of over 80 plants, giving examples of Linnean classes and orders. It was published in two parts. The second part was originally published in 1789 as "Loves of the Plants." The first part "The Economy of Vegetation" originally appeared in 1791. Darwin plagiarized some poetry of Anna Seward in the first part, believing he was paying her a compliment; apparently they remained friends anyway. He made quite a lot of money on this work; it was reprinted many times. It is a significant work because "elaborate poetic diction is most incongruously applied to crude facts of science" and because it contains some plates from drawings of Henry Fuseli and some engravings by William Blake.

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