Alexander Humboldt on describing nature.

An extract from Volume II, Cosmos.

"Descriptions of nature, I would again observe, may be defined with sufficient sharpened scientific accuracy, without on that account being deprived of the vivyfying breath of imagination.  The poetic element must emanate from the intuitive perception of the connection between the sensuous and the intellectual, and of the universality and reciprocal limitation and unity of all the vital forms of nature. The more elevated the subject, the more carefully should all external adornments of diction be avoided. The true effect of a picture of nature depends on its composition; every attempt at an artificial appeal from the author must therefore necessarily exert a disturbing influence. He who familiar with the great works of antiquity, and secure in the posession of the riches of his native language, knows how to represent with simplicity of individualising truth that which he has received from his own contemplation, will not fail in producing the impression he seeks to convey;

for in describing the boundlessness of nature, and not the limited circuit of his own mind, he is enabled to leave to others unfettered freedom of feeling."