Walt Whitman knew people would smile when he wrote, in 1855, "Hurrah for positive science! Long live exact demonstration!" But he had a sincere love for science, considering it a worthy companion to poetry in his central mission of "showing the connection between reality and the soul." A little later in his career he wrote this, a good candidate for a geologist's motto:
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first,
Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on, there are divine things well envelop'd,
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell.
"Song of the Open Road"