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Double Ballade Of Primitive Man

Andrew Lang 1844 (Selkirk, Scottish Borders) – 1912 (Banchory)

He lived in a cave by the seas,
He lived upon oysters and foes,
But his list of forbidden degrees,
An extensive morality shows;
Geological evidence goes
To prove he had never a pan,
But he shaved with a shell when he chose, -
'Twas the manner of Primitive Man.

He worshipp'd the rain and the breeze,
He worshipp'd the river that flows,
And the Dawn, and the Moon, and the trees,
And bogies, and serpents, and crows;
He buried his dead with their toes
Tucked-up, an original plan,
Till their knees came right under their nose, -
'Twas the manner of Primitive Man.

His communal wives, at his ease,
He would curb with occasional blows;
Or his State had a queen, like the bees
(As another philosopher trows):
When he spoke, it was never in prose,
But he sang in a strain that would scan,
For (to doubt it, perchance, were morose)
'Twas the manner of Primitive Man!

On the coasts that incessantly freeze,
With his stones, and his bones, and his bows;
On luxuriant tropical leas,
Where the summer eternally glows,
He is found, and his habits disclose
(Let theology say what she can)
That he lived in the long, long agos,
'Twas the manner of Primitive Man!

From a status like that of the Crees,
Our society's fabric arose, -
Develop'd, evolved, if you please,
But deluded chronologists chose,
In a fancied accordance with Mos
es, 4000 B. C. for the span
When he rushed on the world and its woes, -
'Twas the manner of Primitive Man!

But the mild anthropologist,--HE'S
Not RECENT inclined to suppose
Flints Palaeolithic like these,
Quaternary bones such as those!
In Rhinoceros, Mammoth and Co.'s,
First epoch, the Human began,
Theologians all to expose, -
'Tis the MISSION of Primitive Man.

ENVOY.

MAX, proudly your Aryans pose,
But their rigs they undoubtedly ran,
For, as every Darwinian knows,
'Twas the manner of Primitive Man!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:39 min read
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Andrew Lang

Andrew Richard Lang FRS CBE was a British scientist and crystallographer. more…

All Andrew Lang poems | Andrew Lang Books

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