Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LIZARDS; FROM YRIARTE, by JOHN GODFREY SAXE

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THE LIZARDS; FROM YRIARTE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A famous naturalist, whose knife
Last Line: "which so much interest can create!"
Subject(s): Criticism & Critics; Lizards

A FAMOUS Naturalist, whose knife
Made cruel work with insect life,
Dissecting muscle, vein, and nerve,
Remorseless, -- with intent to serve
The cause of Science, and no thought
Of all the suffering he wrought, --
Two lizards in his garden caught,
And straight proceeded to dissect
The biggest one, and then inspect
The severed parts, head, tail, and skin,
And all the mysteries within;
And as each part is made to pass
Beneath his microscopic glass,
He takes his pen, and in a book
Records each scientific look,
For future use; then takes his pen,
And with his glass begins again.
Weary at length, he stops to hear
Remarks of friends. Some only sneer
At what they deem mere waste of time,
If not -- for cruelty -- a crime;
While others marvel much to learn
(As at the glass they take their turn)
What mighty things are lodged within
The compass of a lizard's skin!
While thus they talk of what the eye
Of Science caused them to descry
In the dead lizard, sooth to say,
His living brother ran away!
Arrived at home, he quickly sends
An invitation to his friends
To come and hear what wondrous things
From his late tour the traveler brings;
Then tells the story you have heard
(Above), omitting not a word
Of all that to his friend occurred.
"Strange as it seems," the lizard cries,
"'T is true! I saw it with these eyes!
Now if such things in us there be
As men of Science stare to see,
And straightway write the items down, --
Say, shall we heed the stupid clown
Who calls us lizards 'vermin'? Nay!
Whatever envious folks may say,
We're clearly noble. Let us claim
The rank that suits the lizard's name!"


When keen Reviewers criticise
The stuff that puny authors write
(Which worms alone should analyze),
They only give the fools delight,
Who cry, "The book is surely great
Which so much interest can create!"

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