How may I excuse myself for continuing to talk about my affairs and for continuing to write zoological memoirs during the greatest War of all time?
Well, here are some precedents:—
Goethe sat down to study the geography of China, while his fatherland agonised at Leipsig.
Hegel wrote the last lines of the Phenomenology of Spirit within sound of the guns of Jena.
While England was being rent in twain by civil war, Sir Thomas Browne, ensconced in old Norwich, reflected on Cambyses and Pharaoh and on the song the Sirens sang.
Lacépède composed his Histoire des Poissons during the French Revolution.
Then there were Diogenes and Archimedes.
This defence of course implicates me in an unbounded opinion of the importance of my own work. "He is quite the little poet," some one said of Keats. "It is just as if a man remarked of Buonaparte," said Keats, in a pet, "that he's quite the little general."