Thomas Henry Huxley is well remembered as a larger than life character: Mr Darwin’s Bulldog, meticulous comparative anatomist, and patron for all of science. He was an intellectual and eloquent chap, not someone you would challenge in a public arena. Huxley knew how to use his weapon of choice to work the crowd, make them love him and then, and when they were ready, strike down his fatal blow: his weapon of choice being, of course, his words.
On 1st March 1887 Huxley wrote a letter to his wife. He was resting in the small village of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, taking time away from his ever mounting work. Along with the letter, Huxley wrote a poem.
Despite Huxley’s invincible persona, he was still a man. He was a husband, a father, a friend.
The title of Huxley’s poem to his wife, From Shanklin, reveals a rare glimpse of Huxley’s softer side only seen by his family and friends. It makes me smile to know that behind his extremely tough public face, he was a caring, loving husband.
Discover more about his poem, From Shanklin, here.