The Lower Life

It might seem matter for regret
That Evolution has not yet
Fulfilled our wishes.
The birds soar higher far than we,
The fish outswim us in the sea,
The simple fishes.

But, evolutionists reflect,
We have the pull in intellect,
And that's undoubted:
Yet still we cry: " Can this atone
For fins or pinions of our own,
Not to be scouted?"

We hold that Evolution's plan,
To give as little as she can,
Is sometimes trying.
Fair share of brains, indeed, we win;
But why not throw the swimming in,
Why not the flying?

But ah, she gives not more or less.
We pay for all that we possess,
We weep and waver,
While Evolution, still the same,
With knights or pawns pursues the game,
And shows no favour.

As onward yet life's currents roll,
The gaining of a higher goal
Increaseth sorrow;
And what we win at its own cost
We win; and what we lose is lost,
Nor can we borrow.

If we have freedom, we lose peace.
If self-renunciation, cease
To care for pleasure.
If we have Truth — important prize!
We wholly must away with lies,
Or in a measure.

Is wisdom, then, the only test,
Of lot superlatively blest?
There have been others.
Our aeon too will pass, and then
Are monads so much less than men?
Alas, my brothers!

This higher life is curious stuff,
Too high, yet not quite high enough,
A mingled vial!
This higher life is sold too dear —
Would I could give a lower sphere
An equal trial!

Ah, could I be a fish indeed,
Of lucky horoscope, and creed
'Mong blissful waves to glide or rest,
I'd choose the lot I found the best,
Or fish or Aryan!

Or could I be a bird and fly
Through forests all unhaunted by
The shooting season,
I'd tell you which I voted for,
The flight of airy pinions, or
The March of Reason!
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