35Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
1] The nautilus is a spiral-shelled mollusk whose web-like membranes were imagined to act as sails. "We need not trouble ourselves about the distinction between this [the pearly Nautilus] and the Paper Nautilus, the Argonauta of the ancients. The name applied to both shows that each has long been compared to a ship, as you may see more fully in Webster's Dictionary or the Encyclopedia, to which he refers. If you will look into Roget's Bridgewater Treatise you will find a figure of one of these shells and a section of it. The last will show you the series of enlarging compartments successively dwelt in by the animal that inhabits the shell, which is built in a widening spiral. [This poem seemed to share with Dorothy Q. Dr. Holmes's interest, if one may judge by the frequency with which he chose it for reading or for autograph albums. He says on receipt of an album from the Princess of Wales, `I copied into it the last verse of a poem of mine called The Chambered Nautilus, as I have often done for plain republican albums.']" (p. 149)
"I have now and then found a naturalist who still worried over the distinction between the Pearly Nautilus and the Paper Nautilus, or Argonauta. As the stories about both are mere fables, attaching to the Physalia, or Portuguese man-of-war, as well as to these two molluscs, it seems over-nice to quarrel with the poetical handling of a fiction sufficiently justified by the name commonly applied to the ship of pearl as well as the ship of paper." (p. 341) Back to Line
25] Perhaps an allusion to Wordsworth's "The World is too much with us": "Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; /Or hear old Triton [the son of Poseidon, god of the sea] blow his wreathèd horn." Back to Line
29] Cf. John 14:2: "In my Father's house are many mansions." Back to Line