Festival overview

Rosie Hill “Margaret Cavendish”

The Natural Philosophy of Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)


‘Tis the year 1666, and my heart is overflowing with hope for the scientific revolution. Upon reaching the age of three and forty, I sought to express myself through natural philosophy in the publication of a fictional piece of my own making, entitled The Blazing World. This modern utopia has filled me with anticipation for a new and scientific world, as I delve deeper into the mysteries of life. Though I am a woman, whose discoveries are perhaps as small and unimportant as the atom, within it, I see another world. Indeed, my studies have shown me the irrelevance of size; for there are worlds within worlds. In further support of my strange philosophy of nature, does not the Bible say, we are all creatures of God, great or small? Indeed, noble reader, science is a wonderful form of liberty and free thinking. My refusal, despite pleading attempts from my husband, to write under the name of another, eventually appeared in the form of triumph upon publication of The Blazing World. For why should not the weaker sex publish novels, just as men do? While I take not the form of the great Henry the Fifth, or the illustrious Charles the Second, I will endeavour to be, Margaret the First. Furthermore I am no great conqueror of land, but for the small utopia I have created. The fates have spurned me in true life, and so I have sought fortune in a mystical world, one to which I am the sole mistress. Bear witness, noble reader, to the story of The Blazing world….

Once, upon a lonely and most foreign isle lived a young lady who caught the eye of a merchant, passing through. He beheld in her, true love, seeing within her emerald eyes the very image of his own heart, but could not hope to claim her for his own, but for the restraints of his low birth and unfamiliar origin. As might be expected, with the passing of time his feelings grew strong and overpower’d him; and so one fateful day he stole her away, in a light vessel. In response to such a sin, God, in his wisdom, saw fit to bring forth a tempest. The waters took a most brutal course, as a violent torrent arose and sent the merchant to his watery grave. Nature, dear reader, can be cruel but most changeable, as the waves calmed and carried the young lady in safety to the furthest reaches of the known world: the North Pole. In despair, she hastened toward the ice-filled land. Upon this snow-covered terrain were strange bear-like creatures, which came towards her in an upright fashion such as Man. In fear and sorrow, she allowed them to carry her in their paws to their icy city, where they inhabited underground caves. The animals greeted her warmly, and noticing her natural intolerance to the cold, lead her to a place of milder temper.

On her swift journey through the strange land, she observed many ships made in their entirety of gold, which belonged to the Emperor. They were extremely well made and impervious to leaks, chinks or clefts, and having no mortal enemies, guns had no place upon these wondrous ships. The snowy isle was one of complete tranquillity save one: nature. The Bear-men engaged in daily battles with the natural world, having perfected engines which could triumph over the mightiest of winds. In view of such naval preparation, they climbed aboard the superior of the ships and continued their journey to the place of their Emperor, regardless of nature’s storms. Though the Lady felt fearful, unaware of the outcome of this strange adventure, she found civility in her fellow creatures and took it upon herself to learn their language. She was able to perceive the meaning of some words and signs of the Bear-men as their journey continued, and they signalled to her, having passed Islands of great quantity, that they were advancing towards the imperial heart of the kingdom. Upon arrival, the Lady was compelled to transfer herself to a boat of more humble size, to enter the kingdom through a modest passage, which allowed only for the smallest of boats. The light vessel wound precariously through the labyrinth of rocks, eventually coming to the imperial city, which was constructed entirely of gold. The palace was itself over a mile long, and seemingly infinite in its construction. In the midst of it, were the rooms of the Emperor, adorned with diamonds, rubies and pearls, which worked together to represent the blazing-stars. The kingdom could conceive of none other than blazing stars in the natural world and took from their perception a name for their kingdom: The Blazing World.

As soon as the Lady had but made the acquaintance of the Emperor, he made her his wife, perceiving her to be a goddess, and endorsed her with all the powers necessary to rule and govern the kingdom. Upon noticing the Emperor’s youthful condition, she was desirous to know of his secret, and asked him to reveal the truth of the infamous tales that told of his eternal youth. The Emperor replied that he owed his eternal youth to the powers of an extremely rare gum, which after a century had passed, dissolved into oil. If used daily, for a decent length of time, the oil worked to reduce the natural process of age. After a period of nine months, the reversal of nature was complete; and the individual assumed the permanent form of one as old as one and twenty.

Following his explanation of the magical gum, the Emperor expressed his wish that the Empress now partake of it, in view of her imperial privileges. But, it will be noted, that the Empress was wise, and graciously refused. Her Christian conscience made her humble towards the inevitable processes of nature and wary of the wrath of God. As time passed they ruled together in perfect peace and harmony, in which time the Empress erected schools and institutions of science with which to study the powers of nature. It was not until exactly one year hence that in view of the circumstances, God saw fit to end the power of the gum, in punishment for the Emperor’s sins against nature. In due course, his body, which had lived for more than five centuries, began to shrivel and decay. After a few short hours the Emperor had turned to dust, having once again entered the cycle of nature. The Empress and her subjects mourned his death and conducted all the correct rites of passage for one borne so high. Meanwhile, Mother Nature expressed her views cruelly, by continuing to flourish in the event of the Emperor’s death. The world continued in its natural course, and so it was to this end that the Empress continued her solitary rule of the kingdom…

As we return from our fictional journey, fair reader, ‘tis time we bring our story to a close, as I relinquish my fictional use of prose. In a world whereupon science has master’d such a hold, human beings are inclined to battle for supreme control. But let it be known that attempted control of our natural fate is indeed the folly of the human race. I have written my views for all to see, and end with my own humble philosophy. Farewell.



2 Responses to “Rosie Hill “Margaret Cavendish””

  1. Hello. excellent job. I did not anticipate this. This is a remarkable story. Thanks!

  2. Raphael Afan says:

    Very good written information. It will be useful to everyone who employess it, as well as me. Keep up the good work – for sure i will check out more posts.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!