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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ernst Meitzen   17 January 1873


the 17 Jany 1873.

Mr. Darwin, Professor and Dr., at Down near Bromley. Kent.

Most honored Sir

I beg pardon that I venture to send you a very small work of mine.1 It is an exposition I spoke in prose in a scientific union at Cologne in April of the year 1860 before we were so happy to know in Germany your honored name and works. In 1872 after having read your very highly esteemed books I proposed to myself to expresse the same discourse by a poetry, because I imagined that all natural things are forming the fundament of poetry, and that our natural science is no other then the very truth of nature. Even thus it seemed me highly necessary (for combating the most fatal reproach that is made to our science) to unite with it in poetical terms the high and pious idea of a Creator and to show, that continually from the first indian philosophs till the european science the same theory (though more perceived than known) has silently worked over all religions of peoples.— For the purpose to enter in general public mind it seemed me the very short and agreeable form of poetry the sole practicable.

I ignore how far may be your intelligence for germain language and rhyms; at all adventures I may assure you that the germain critics in that regard have been without any blame. It is made in Alexandrins with rhyms only on the end of each strophe.

Perhaps you may judge, that I had hazarded to much in imagination, and established for true, what in no manner can be proved till to-day by visible arguments; to that I must utter that this is my conviction issued from my vocation and very long occupations with Chimistry, Botanik and Mikroskopy, and that I think it in time to pronounce it without the slightest danger that future science could deny anything of it.

May the small book be so very happy to be read by you, and may I have the most desired honour to receive some words of judgement, however it would be, by your own pen.

Your most devoted | servant | Dr. Meitzen

Excuse my very troublesome imperfection of my writing in English. | Dr. M.

Cologne on Rhine | Wallrafplace 10.


There is a copy of Meitzen’s Bhawani: natürliche Schopfungs-Anschauung (Natural view of creation: Meitzen 1872) in the Darwin Library–Down. Bhawani or Bhavani is a Hindu goddess (the name means ‘giver of life’).


Meitzen, Ernst. 1872. Bhawani. Leipzig: E. H. Manen.


Sends his book [Bhawani (1872)], which is a poem in praise of evolutionary theory and showing its roots in ancient India.

Letter details

Letter no.
August (Ernst) Meitzen
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 115
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8738,” accessed on 23 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21