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I tell a tale which makes me pale
For its dismal recollections,
That coming classes may avail
Themselves of its inflections.


I conned the rocks with anxious eye,
A student meek and docile,
When a distant whisper floated by,
"Oh, come and be a fossil!"


Farewell to Cenozoic Age,
With all its toiling daughters!
Wise Time turned back his yellow page;
I swam in ancient waters.


And first I met in the aching void
The solemn Eozoon,
And only the stem of the salt Crinoid
Vibrated to my moan.


"I'm lonely in the world," I cried,
And shouted o'er and o'er,
But not a Rhizopod replied
From the silent Protozoa.


The Graptolite and the Trilobite
To a gladder temper won me,
But oh, for the Orthoceretite,
And the smile he smiled upon me!


"Thou Brachiopod, art mollusk or worm?"
I asked with a mixed sensation,
But I fled from the frivolous Placoderm,
Nor lingered for conversation.


I blushed to hear the Ganoid wail;
He sobbed, "I'm not a stoic,
And I've lost my vertebrated tail
In the early Mesozoic."


But I scoffed and longed for a Teliost,
With the most intense of wishes;
For my sympathies had all been lost
On those queer Devonian fishes.


The Belemnite and the Polyp weird
Exceedingly did act ill,
And from the Lepidodendron jeered
The bitter Pterodactyl.


I sought to rest on the marshy shore,
Where the Labyrinthodonts amble,
But I heard the hoarse Batrachian roar
'Neath a cryptogamic bramble.


Yet the sedimentary fear I name
And my igneous indignation,
By a metamorphic move, became
A quite distinct formation.


The beast I saw was shy and small,
No elephant or camel,
'Twas only a marsupial,
But oh! it was a mammal!


I leapt for joy, but hope deceives;
With heat he seemed to swelter,
The Cycad 'neath her fronded leaves
In vain proposed a shelter.


He scorned that generous Gymnosperm;
No Conifer revived him;
He vanished, never to return;
His jaw alone survived him.


The sombre Sigillaria sighed;
He would not linger for us,
And only to our calls replied
The winsome Ichthyosaurus.


"Too bad!" the Saurian murmured, "but
He'll surely come tomorrow;"
While down the drear Connecticut
The Dinosaur marched in sorrow.


But soon Herbivores arose,
Nor far behind the Lemur;
And some that had too many toes,
Which gave a proud demeanor.


But now I mourned my task begun,
The country grew so hilly;
I didn't like the Mastodon,
And found the glaciers chilly.


My gentle temper had been wrecked,
That used to be so placid.
I had a headache, the effect
Of much carbonic acid.


"My bones," I said, "from toil you can
Find only one vocation;
Before the coming Age of Man,
Try solidification.


"A modest shale or argillyte
Would make the pleasing closet,
Or in a sober syenite
Your relics I'll deposit."


"Not so," says Fate; "you'll have to wait;
I can't accept your datum.
Geology prepares her late
And most distressing stratum.


"A future race shall seek your place,
Your geologic station,
And find your last imbedded trace
In the examination."