Sunday, October 7, 2012

Solomon Redivivus, 1886 by Constance Naden

WHAT am I? Ah, you know it,
I am the modern Sage,
Seer, savant, merchant, poet—
I am, in brief, the Age.

Look not upon my glory
Of gold and sandal‐wood,
But sit and hear a story
From Darwin and from Buddh.

Count not my Indian treasures,
All wrought in curious shapes,
My labours and my pleasures,
My peacocks and my apes;

For when you ask me riddles,
And when I answer each,
Until my fifes and fiddles
Burst in and drown our speech,

Oh then your soul astonished
Must surely faint and fail,
Unless, by me admonished,
You hear our wondrous tale.

We were a soft Amœba
In ages past and gone,
Ere you were Queen Of Sheba,
And I King Solomon.

Unorganed, undivided,
We lived in happy sloth,
And all that you did I did,
One dinner nourished both:

Till you incurred the odium
Of fission and divorce—
A severed pseudopodium
You strayed your lonely course.

When next we met together
Our cycles to fulfil,
Each was a bag of leather,
With stomach and with gill.

But our Ascidian morals
Recalled that old mischance,
And we avoided quarrels
By separate maintenance.

Long ages passed—our wishes
Were fetterless and free,
For we were jolly fishes,
A‐swimming in the sea.

We roamed by groves of coral,
We watched the youngsters play—
The memory and the moral
Had vanished quite away.

Next, each became a reptile,
With fangs to sting and slay;
No wiser ever crept, I’ll
Assert, deny who may.

But now, disdaining trammels
Of scale and limbless coil,
Through every grade of mammals
We passed with upward toil.

Till, anthropoid and wary
Appeared the parent ape,
And soon we grew less hairy,
And soon began to drape.

So, from that soft Amœba,
In ages past and gone,
You’ve grown the Queen of Sheba,
And I King Solomon.

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