LINNÉ AND THE LOVE OF NATURE
When the boy came to go to school he eared less for his books than for his flowers. Instead of allowing himself to be put through the educational mill of the times he preferred to roam over the fields and, when there came time for reading, to devour the books that would tell him more about his friends, the plants. He thought his teachers unfeeling and rude, and they thought him stupid. His father and mother, who wanted him to become a pastor, were discouraged and came near making him a cobbler. But the boy was not stupid, nor lazy, nor worthless. All the while, his powers of accurate observation were growing and he was storing up the knowledge that would be useful to him in the life that he was to lead. In time his powers came to be recognized and Dr. Rothman, one of his tutors at the school at Wexiö, more sympathetic than the others, assured the father that of all the scholars studying in Wexiö there was no one that gave as much hope as Carl. Thus the way was opened for him to devote himself to the study of natural science and of medicine, instead of theology, but not until after long family discussions. Once the boy heard his father say, "What one has inclination for, that will he have success in" (Det man har lust för, det har man lycka till). The boy asked him if it was really so, for if it was, he could not have success as a pastor, for which he had no inclination. The father suggested how costly his chosen scientific studies would be. The boy replied, "If the proverb has any ground, God will provide the offering. If I have success as I have inclination, so ways-out will not fail me." The father, with tearful eyes, gave his consent: "Then may God grant you success. I shall not force you into that for which you have not inclination." And so the boy set out for the University of Lund, where he won the life-long friendship of Stobæus. Here, and later at the University of Upsala, he read all the books he could find on botany and studied the plants of the gardens as well as of the fields and woods. His knowledge of plants was so unusual that Celsius, who came upon him by chance in the Botanical Garden at Upsala, took him home, and interested himself in the scientific advancement of the student. At the universities Linné put his serious energy on the sciences for which he was fitted, but never did the book learning nor the passion for acquiring knowledge cool his inborn love for the flowers.
If a childhood and youth like Linné's suggests a spring morning, so the passing from that youth into the fullness of life is like the passing into a sunshiny day, a day so beautiful that it never loses the color and the freshness of the dawn. Few lives have been more crowded than Linné's. He had time to study not only his beloved botany, but all the natural sciences, even assaying, and to earn his living as a physician. He had time to go on collecting trips throughout Sweden and parts of Europe; time to identify, name and classify