It's a few years now since I started the @cdarwin Twitter stream – http://twitter.com/cdarwin – tweeting snippets from the diary Darwin wrote as he travelled around the world on HMS Beagle. In Beagle time it's now February 1836 and this year he returns to England, first to London and then to Down House (now a public museum), never to set foot outside the country again.
Carefully reading his diary to select excerpts to tweet, or choosing snatches from contemporaneous letters for those times when he wasn't pouring observations into his diary, has been the closest I've ever come to a historic figure. Three things strike me about him when he was so young, just in his mid-twenties: his careful observation; his thoughtfulness about what he had observed; and his temperance.
He didn't idly notice things and let them pass by and he didn't make assertions without evidence and reason. He recorded the geology, the fauna and flora, the people, the climate; and then he pondered them to arrive at conclusions.
And his temperance. A cardinal virtue, temperance; moderation and restraint in both thought and feeling. Darwin was an equable chap, almost always controlled and calm. You could do worse than take him as a model.
The Low Anthem combines folk and blues arrangements with the elegance of chamber music and the fervo