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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. F. Lubbock   [after 2 July] 18751

From the Insects to their friend, Charles Darwin.

We saw that you were watching us,

We felt you were our friend,

And as we, in a general way,

Come to a fearful end,

It suddenly occurred to us

That we would have a look

At what you said about us,

So we crawled upon your book.

We now have buzzed all over it,

And find that, as we feared,

Voracious Plants could tell us

How our friends have disappeared.

(I never trusted Drosera,

Since I went there with a friend,

And saw its horrid tentacles

Beginning all to bend.2

I flew away, but he was caught,

I saw him squeezed quite flat—

I don’t go any more to Plants

With habits such as that.)

We are very much obliged to you

For now of course we shan’t

Be taken in and done for

By any clever Plant.

But this has to be considered:

It isn’t much we need,

But if we daren’t go to any plant,

On what are we to feed?

We feel that you, in pointing out

The dangers that we run,

Have meant to do the kindest thing

To us that could be done.

Therefore, to your abode in Down,

With joyful buzz and hum,

From every quarter of the globe,

We Insects all will come.

Great plates of honey you will set

For us upon your lawn,

We’ll feast away & bless the day

That ever you were born!

E F Lubbock



The date is established by the allusion to Insectivorous plants, which was published on 2 July 1875.
CD described the inflection of the tentacles in Drosera (sundew) when an insect or some other object came into contact with the leaves in Insectivorous plants, pp. 9–13.


Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


A poem on Insectivorous Plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Ellen Frances Hordern/Ellen Frances Lubbock
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
Lubbock family (private collection)
Physical description
ALS 4pp (photocopy)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10039F,” accessed on 12 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23