Maurice Maeterlinck (1862- 1949) was a Belgian playwright, poet and essayist who wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.
The Life of the Beeby Maurice Maeterlinck
The real history of the bee begins in the seventeenth century, with the discoveries of the great Dutch savant Swammerdam. It is well, however, to add this detail, but little known: before Swammerdam a Flemish naturalist named Clutius had arrived at certain important truths, such as the sole maternity of the queen and her possession of the attributes of both sexes, but he had left these unproved. Swammerdam founded the true methods of scientific investigation; he invented the microscope, contrived injections to ward off decay, was the first to dissect the bees, and by the discovery of the ovaries and the oviduct definitely fixed the sex of the queen, hitherto looked upon as a king, and threw the whole work, begun in a dazzling sunshine, received its crown in the darkness. To be comprehensive, one should mention also the somewhat subsequent works and investigations of Charles Bonnet and Schirach (who solved the enigma of the royal egg); lets keep to the broad lines, and pass at once to Francois Huber, the master and classic of contemporary apiarian science.
The queens whole life is an entire sacrifice to the manifold, everlasting being whereof she forms part. It is strange to note that it was not always so. We find even today, among the melliferous hymenoptera, all the stages of progressive civilization of our own domestic bee. At the bottom of the scale we find her working alone, in wretchedness, often not seeing her offspring (the prosopis, the Colletes, etc.); sometimes living in the midst of the limited family that she produces annually (as in the case of the bumble-bee). Then she forms temporary associations (the Panurgi, the Dasypodoe, the Hacliti, etc.) and at last we arrive, through successive stages, at the almost perfect but pitiless society of our hives, where the individual is entirely merged in the republic, and the republic in its turn invariably sacrificed to the abstract and immortal city of the future.
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