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Wordsworth and Science


To the solid ground of nature trusts the Mind that builds for aye; Convinced that there, there only, she can lay Secure foundations. FOR seventy-five years the first lines of this quotation have appeared on the cover of NATURE. For long enough the quotation was inaccurate; not until 1929 and 1934 were the errors brought to the notice of the Editor and put right. When the lines first appeared in this setting, Wordsworth had been dead for nearly twenty years. Had he been alive he could scarcely have approved the use to which his words were put. To the scientific reader of NATURE (after he has permitted himself perhaps a fleeting smile at the double entendre) the words may well convey a sentiment gratifying to his self-esteem. But there is little in the sonnet from which they are taken to justify that feeling, and less in Wordsworth's writings as a whole.


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WIGGLESWORTH, V. Wordsworth and Science. Nature 153, 367–368 (1944).

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