The Leather Bot-tel

Looking through some old digitalized magazines, I stumbled upon this 1901 satiric poem on Darwin’s On the Descent of Man.

The point is absolutely clear: Darwin proves that we essentially all are leather wine sacks meant to pour in booze. And, to be honest, for me it’s the first admissible Darwinian naturalistic fallacy.

How many wondrous things there be of which we can’t the reason see!
And this one, I used to think, that most men like a drop of drink!
But there comes Darwin with his plan, and shows the true Descent of Man,
And that explains it all full well, for man was once – a leather bot-tel.

There are Molusca rather small, that Naturalists Ascadia call;
Who, being just a bag like skin, subsist on water pouring in;
And these you’ll find, if you will seek, derive their name from heathen Greek;
For Scott and Scapula show full well that As-kos means – a leather bot-tel.

Now Darwin proves as clear as mud, that, endless ages ere the flood,
The Coming Man’s primeval form, was simply an Ascidian worm;
And having then the habit got, of passing liquor down his throat,
He keeps it still, and shows full well that man was once – a leather bot-tel.

*When Bachus’ feasts come dully round, Athenians peasants beat the ground;
And danced and leapt, to ease their toil, ‘mid leather bottles smeared with oil;
From which they slid, with broad gramasce, and falling filled with mirth the place,
And so they owned and honoured well their great grand aire – the leather bot-tel.

*The toper loves to sit and swill of wine, or grog, or beer, his fill;
And, as he doth but little eat, it serves him both for drink and meat;
But don’t, I pray, be to strait-laced or blame it pure Ascidian taste;
For Darwin’s theory shows full well, the toper is – a leather bot-tel.

*The Dean of Christ-Church does not shrink, to give five reasons we should drink;
“Good wine, a friend, onbeing dry, or lest we should be by-and-by;”
Then adds the fifth in humorous sport, as “any other reason” fot’t;
But all his reasonings show full well, the Dean was just – a leather bot-tel.

*Nay, those who fain strong drink would stop, don’t ay, we should not drink a drop
But water, milk, or “eau sucree”, we’re free to tipple all the day;
Sam Johnson’s self, as you may see, drank many myriad cups of tea;
And all this drinking shows full well, that man’s at best – a leather bot-tel.

“The thirsty earth drinks up the rain” the plants, too, drink the moistened plain
“The sea itself, which one would think, would have but little need of drink,
Drinks twice ten thousand rivers up ; “while beasts and fishes share the cup;
The Sun, too, drinks, the Moon as well; so Nature’s all – a leather bot-tel.

I hope even Darwin don’t say Nay, when asked at times to wet his clay;
And I for one would drink his health, and wish him sense and wit and wealth,
And if good liquor he doth brew, I”drink to old Erasmus too;
And gladly join to show full well that man is still – a leather bot-tel.

1901 Notes and Quiries


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