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The Vivisector took his place,
And he raised the murderous knife;
Whilst the poor dumb brute, with pleading eyes,
Seemed begging for its life
In vain! To make a transverse cut
The doctor took his stand,
And still the trembling dog could not,
But struggling in his bonds he strove
"O, men! O, men! if men ye be,
Sudden the Vivisector paused,
Stood grinning, whispering, mocking imps,
Whilst the quivering moaning victim lay
And the doctors heeded not the shrieks
For the wily fiends had stopped their ears
The Vivisector turned aghast
To see if an imp also held him fast,
Yet none that he
Could at any rate see
Kept him in any captivity.
But, looking round, he sudden espied
Of the table; a face, that he did not know.
('Tis not needful precisely to state where they are);
I have heard much about you, so thought I would take
At the extra-humane and most puerile notion
Men of my mind,
And I hope our acquaintance closer to bind.
May our friendship ne'er end;
I perceived that towards me your feelings did tend,
Pray, allow me to offer the highest degree
Conferred by my own University,
Which I hope that ere long with your presence you'll
For it's founded on purpose to meet your case,
As, pray, what shall you do when you leave this place?"
The Vivisector, the while he spoke,
Felt as though he were going to choke.
He felt chill and ill,
His tongue wouldn't fulfil
Its work, and the words he would have spoken
Died away in accents broken;
And he shuddered and shook, and the word "Vivisection "
Was yelled around him in every direction;
And the whines of the dying dog waxèd faint,
And his death-sobs sank to a mournful plaint
Over the Vivisector's soul.
The room whirled round and round, and the train,
With a fluttering heart, his courage gone.
A face of which he had heard of yore
His troubled thoughts went to and fro;
He shrank from the eye that pierced so keen,
But an awful voice the silence broke,
And then the Vivisector woke.
But the dread words haunted him night and day— Vengeance is mine I will repay.”
They followed him into the silent night,
O Vivisectors, what answer have ye?
Think of the victims whose agonised groan
A DECLINING RACE.
WITH the lower animals, as with man himself, there are numerous examples to be found of an increasing community and of improving circumstances, as well as of decline and extermination. Some groups of animals appear to be rapidly growing and increasing in numbers; other groups have attained in our day the maximum of their development, whilst others appear to be persistently decreasing, and tending in time to pass out of existence altogether. And thus, it happens that the naturalist, on surveying the wide field of animal life, meets with many instances of forms which attained their greatest growth and highest numbers in past or geological periods of this world's history, and which, in the present day, are but sparsely represented among living formfs.
As a rule, the process of extermination proceeds rapidly in its Once having attained the maximum point in numbers and variety, the decline of the form or group rapidly succeeds; and a short term of years-speaking geologically-witnesses the thinning out, or even the final extinction of the organisms. We find several notable exceptions to this general rule, however. The geologist or naturalist can point to many examples in which the exterminating process has proceeded in a comparatively slow and gradual manner; and where, as a consequence, certain animals and plants have "persisted" through long periods of time, and have left their traces as "fossil" organisms through long series of rock-formations. representing vast areas of removal and geological change.
The exact nature and cause of this peculiar exterminative process remains, for the most part, hidden from research. Speculation has, indeed, been rife as to their causes; but nothing definite is known concerning "the reason why" whole races of lower forms, as well as the races of men, tend naturally to pass through gradual and successive stages of growth, devel pneut, maturity, decline, and, finally, of extermination and extinction.
Now, such forms as have been in this way blotted out from the living records, generally leave their traces, as has already been remarked, behind them, in the form of "fossils." The process of Entombment and burial in the earth constitutes, in most instances, the first step towards the preservation of the animal or plant. Gradually, and as time and physical actions roll onwards, the process of infiltration of mineral matters into the soft tissues of
the once living thing is accomplished. The living tissues become in this way petrified. The organism becomes accurately represented as a part of the hard rock; and thus the geologist is enabled to read his Sermons in Stones"-a measure only preparatory to that by which the earnest mind is led to see "good in everything."
No better example of a declining race of animal forms could be selected than that of the Brachiopoda. These forms constitute a very curious and important group of shell-fish or molluscous animals, allied to, but at the same time widely different from, our ordinary cockles, mussels, oysters, and such familiar inhabitants of the deep. The brachiopoda come before us as a class once largely represented in the seas and oceans of past worlds; and in the present, constituting a sparse group of forms, limited in numbers as well as in distribution. Early inhabitants of our world were these brachipods. Through many changes of scene and epoch they have persisted; but with the lapse of years, they have been slowly dwindling away, and a few more years will, in all probability, see the last brachipod disappear from the oceans of to-day.
So interesting are these forms in all their aspects, and so excellent examples do they constitute of the effects of time and physical action upon the animal organism, that a few words concerning their history, will furnish abundant material for contemplation to the thoughtful reader.
The term Brachiopoda, literally translated, means "arm-footed;" and this name has been applied to these molluscs, from the fact of their possessing two long arm-like processes, which stretch away, one from each side of the mouth, but which, when at rest, are coiled up in a peculiar manner within the shell. This latter structure in the brachiopoda is of the "bivalve " description; that is, it resembles the shell of the oyster, mussel, or cockle, in that it is composed of two pieces, or "shells" as we familiarly name them. But all resemblance or connection between the brachiopoda and their shells, and the ordinary and familiar molluscs just mentioned, ceases with the enumeration of this fact. The two groups are essentially and widely different in structure; the brachiopoda being in some respects regarded as a lower class than that in which the oysters, &c., are included.
Let us firstly look at the brachiopod's shell. We find it to exist as a double shell, and the halves of which it is composed lie one on top of the other. The lower shell is generally by far the larger of the two; the upper half, fitting the lower half, just as a lid might fit a comparatively deep cup or bowl. And within this deep lower shell the great bulk of the body and organs is contained. general form and outward appearance some of these shells bear