Page:Insects - Their Ways and Means of Living.djvu/27

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PREFACE


In the early days of zoology there were naturalists who spent much time out of doors observing the ways of the birds, the insects, and the other creatures of the fields and woods. These men were not steeped in technical learning. Nature was a source of inspiration and a delight to them; her manifestations were to be taken for granted and not questioned too closely. A mind able to accept appearances for truth can express itself in the words of everyday language—for language was invented long ago when people did not bother themselves much with facts—and some of those early writers, inspired direct from nature, have left us a delightful literature based on their observations and reflections on the things of nature. The public has liked to read the works of these men because they tell of interesting things in an interesting way and in words that can be understood.

At the same time there was another class of nature students who did not care particularly what an animal did, but who wanted to know how it was made. The devotees of this cult looked at things through microscopes; they dissected all kinds of creatures in order to learn their construction and their structural relationships. But they found many things on the inside of animais that had never been named, so for these things they invented names; and when their books were printed the public could not read them because of the strange words they contained. Moreover, since nature does not usually embellish her hidden works, the anatomists could not enhance their writings with descriptive metaphors in the way the outdoor naturalists could. Consequently, the students of structure have never come into favor with the reading public, and their works are denounced as dry and tedious.

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