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DARWINISM, by                    
First Line: When first the unflowering fern-forest
Last Line: End the new travail of the soul.
Alternate Author Name(s): Duclaux, Madame Emile; Darmesteter, Mary; Robinson, A. Mary F.
Subject(s): Darwin, Charles (1809-1882); Evolution

WHEN first the unflowering Fern-forest
Shadowed the dim lagoons of old,
A vague, unconscious, long unrest
Swayed the great fronds of green and gold.

Until the flexible stem grew rude,
The fronds began to branch and bower,
And lo! upon the unblossoming wood
There breaks a dawn of apple-flower.

Then on the fruitful forest-boughs
For ages long the unquiet ape
Swung happy in his airy house
And plucked the apple, and sucked the grape.

Until at length in him there stirred
The old, unchanged, remote distress,
That pierced his world of wind and bird
With some divine unhappiness.

Not love, nor the wild fruits he sought,
Nor the fierce battles of his clan
Could still the unborn and aching thought,
Until the brute became the man.

Long since; and now the same unrest
Goads to the same invisible goal,
Till some new gift, undream'd, unguess'd,
End the new travail of the soul.

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