The Philosopher and the Monkey.

O little philosopher monkey-faced,1
Peer in your crucible, pant and glow,2
Pound your powder, and pash your paste,3
But still remember how glad you raced.4
In the woods of Monkey-land long ago.5
That was ages and ages past,6
You’ve left the Claws and the Tail behind ;7
Slowly you’ve thriven, slowly cast8
Skin after skin off, until at last9
Behold !  the flower of a human mind !10
Tender flower of a plant that dies,11
Slender flower with a light of its own,12
This is the thing you’d anatomise ?13
Little philosopher, pray be wise,14
Remember, and let the flower alone.15
You cry : “ I’ve examined the fourfoot kind,16
Followed the chain up, link by link,17
Now to dissect the magic of Mind,18
I shall never slumber, until I find19
The mechanism by which we think !20
Turn a key, and the watch will go,21
Move a muscle, the bird takes wing,22
All motion of any kind below23
Is something mechanical, and so24
The mind is moved at the pull of a string.25
Which, is the question ?  I must pause26
On the brink of the mystery, turning pale :27
How to catch the invisible laws ?28
How does a lion open his jaws ?29
How does a monkey wag his Tail ?”30
Little philosopher, hark to me :31
Walking once on my garden ground,32
I found my monkey beneath a tree,33
With a musical-box upon his knee,34
Wagging his tail in delight at the sound.35
Ah ! che la morté !” was the tune,36
Tangling the heart of the brute in a mesh :37
’Twas summer time, and the month was June,38
Low down in the west was the scythe of the moon39
On a sunset pink as a maiden’s flesh.40
Then I watch’d the monkey glow and burn,41
Lifting the lid of the box peep in :42
Then, bit by bit, with a visage stern,43
Holding each piece to his ear in turn,44
He broke it up,—and began to grin.45
Ah, the music !  ’Twas fled, ’twas fled !46
Each part of the wonderful whole was dumb,47
The flower was plucked, and the bloom was shed,48
Well might the monkey scratch his head,49
And staring down at the strings, look glum.50
Little philosopher, stay, O stay !51
Let the works of the mind-watch go !52
Claws and tail have been cast away,53
But peep in the looking-glass to-day,54
Remember Monkey-land long ago.55