Poetry, Chemistry, and Wisdom
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Humphry Davy was the friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the preeminent chemical discoverer and lecturer of his day. Chemical and natural philosophers of the nineteenth century were willy-nilly the heirs of the Romantic movement as well as the Enlightenment represented by Antoine Lavoisier; and in Britain (as in the German lands) this meant thinking dynamically, conceiving forces rather than matter to be fundamental. Those who aspired like Davy to combine poetry and dynamical natural philosophy would move beyond Understanding to Reason, achieving true wisdom and becoming sages.