Unlike his evolutionist grandfather Erasmus, whose scientific verse was (somewhat surprisingly, I have to say) admired by Wordsworth and Coleridge, Charles Darwin was not known as a poet, but he produced a lyrical crescendo in the last paragraph of On the Origin of Species.
Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death,* the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
There's a lot packed into this famous peroration, and I want to sign off by taking it line by line.
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