Charles Darwin: ' scope given to the imagination'

"In calling up images of the past, I find that the plains 

of Patagonia frequently cross before my eyes; yet these

plains are pronounced by all wretched and useless. They can be

described only by negative characters; without habitations,

without water, without trees, without mountains, they support

merely a few dwarf plants. Why then, and the case is not peculiar

to myself, have those arid wastes taken so firm a hold on my

memory? Why have not the still more level, the greener and more fertile

Pampas, which are serviceable to mankind, produced an equal

impression? I can scarcely analyze these feelings; but it must

be partly owing to the free scope given to the imagination.

The plains of Patagonia are boundless, for they are scarcely

passable, and hence unknown; they bear the stamp of having lasted,

as they are now, for ages, and there appears to be no limit to

their duration during future time. If, as the ancients supposed,

the flat earth was surrounded by an impassable breadth of water,

or by deserts heated to an intolerable excess, who would not look

at these last boundaries to man's knowledge with deep but

ill-defined feelings?"

Charles Darwin.