Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A BALLADE OF EVOLUTION, by GRANT ALLEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A BALLADE OF EVOLUTION, by            
First Line: In the mud of the cambrian main
Last Line: While the needier go to the wall.
Subject(s): Evolution

In the mud of the Cambrian main
Did our earliest ancestors dive:
From a shapeless albuminous grain
We mortals our being derive.
He could split himself up into five,
Or roll himself round like a ball;
For the fittest will always survive,
While the weakliest go to the wall.

As an active ascidian again
Fresh forms he began to contrive,
Till he grew to a fish with a brain
And brought forth a mammal alive.
With his rivals he next had to strive
To woo him a mate and a thrall;
So the handsomest managed to wive,
While the ugliest went to the wall.

At length as an ape he was fain
The nuts of the forest to rive,
Till he took to the low-lying plain,
And proceeded his fellows to knive.
Thus did the cannibal man first arrive
One another to swallow and maul:
And the strongest continued to thrive,
While the weakliest went to the wall.


Prince, in our civilized hive,
Now money's the measure of all;
And the wealthy in coaches can drive
While the needier go to the wall.

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