Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Origin of Species. A New Song.

HAVE you heard of this question the Doctors among,
Whether all living things from a Monad have sprung?
This has lately been said, and it now shall be sung,
Which nobody can deny.

Not one or two ages sufficed for the feat,
It required a few millions the change to complete,
But now the thing’s done, and it looks rather neat,
Which nobody can deny.

The original Monad, our great great grandsire,
To little or nothing at first did aspire,
But at last to get offspring he took a desire,
Which nobody can deny.

This Monad becoming a father or mother,
By budding or bursting produced such another,
And shortly there followed a sister or brother,
Which nobody can deny.

But Monad no longer designates them well,
They’re a cluster of Molecules now, or a Cell,
But which of the two, Doctors only can tell,
Which nobody can deny.

These beings increasing, grew buoyant with life,
And each to itself was both husband and wife,
And at first, strange to say, the two lived without strife,
Which nobody can deny.

But such crowding together soon troublesome grew,
And they though a division of labour would do,
So their sexual system was parted in two,
Which nobody can deny.

Thus Plato supposes that severed by fate,
Human halves run about each in search of its mate,
Never pleased till they gain their original state,
Which nobody can deny.

Execresences fast were now trying to shoot,
Some put out a feeler, some put out a foot,
Some set up a mouth, and some struck down a root,
Which nobody can deny.

Some wishing to walk manufactured a limb,
Some rigged out a fin, with a purpose to swim,
Some opened an eye, some remained dark and dim,
Which nobody can deny.

Some hydras, and sponges, and starfishes breed,
And flies, fleas, and lobsters, in order succeed,
While Ichthyosauruses follow the lead,
Which nobody can deny.

From reptiles and fishes to birds we ascend,
And quadrupeds next their dominions extend,
Till we rise up to monkeys and men, where we end,
Which nobody can deny.

Some creatures are bulky, some creatures are small,
As nature sends food for the few, or for all,
And the weakest, we know ever go to the wall,
Which nobody can deny.

A deer with a neck that is longer by half
Than the rest of the family, try not to laugh,
By stretching and stretching becomes a giraffe,
Which nobody can deny.

A very tall pig, with a very long nose,
Send forth a proboscis quite down to his toes,
And he then by name of an elephant goes,
Which nobody can deny.

The four-footed beast that we now call a whale,
Held his hind legs so close that they grew to a tail,
Which he uses for thrashing the sea like a flail,
Which nobody can deny.

Pouters, tumblers, and fantails, are from the same source,
The racer and hack may be traced to our Horse;
So men were developed from monkeys of course,
Which nobody can deny.

An ape with a pliable thumb and big brain,
When the gift of the gab he had managed to gain,
As a lord of creation established his claim,
Which nobody can deny.

But I’m sadly afraid, if we do not take care,
A relapse to low life may our prospects impair,
So of beastly propensities let us beware,
Which nobody can deny.

Their lofty position our children may lose,
And reduced to all fours must then narrow their views,
Which would wholly unfit them for filling our shoes,
Which nobody can deny.

Their vertebrae next might be taken away,
When they’d sink to a shell-fish, or spider, some day,
Or the pitiful part of a polypus play,
Which nobody can deny.

Thus losing humanity’s nature and name,
And descending through varying stages of shame,
They’d return to the Monad from which we all came,
Which nobody can deny.


Blackwood's Magazine, May 1861, reprinted in Daubeny, Fugitive Poems, pp. 145-150.

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