Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Darwinism
 
Agnes Mary Frances Darmesteter (b. 1857)
 
 
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 stems grew rude,        5
  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-bough
  For ages long the unquiet ape        10
Swung happy in his airy house
  And plucked the apple and sucked the grape.
 
Until in him at length there stirred
  The old, unchanged, remote distress,
That pierced his world of wind and bird        15
  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.        20
 
Long since.… And now the same unrest
  Goads to the same invisible goal,
Till some new gift, undreamed, unguessed,
  End the new travail of the soul.
 

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