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CROCODILE LORE Crocodile Poems

Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802)

New Guinea Crocodile, (c) Valentine Lance
© Valentine Lance

-So from his shell on Delta's showerless isle
Bursts into life the monster of the Nile;
First in translucent lymph with cobweb-threads
The brain's fine floating tissue swells, and spreads;
Nerve after nerve the glistening spine descends,
The red heart dances, the aorta bends;
Through each new gland the purple current glides,
New veins meandering drink the refluent tides;
Edge over edge expands the hardening scale,
And sheaths his slimy skin in silver mail.
-Erewhile, emerging from the brooding sand,
With tyger-paw he prints the brineless strand,
High on the flood with speckled bosom swims,
Helm'd with broad tail, and oar'd with giant limbs;
Rolls his fierce eye-balls, clasps his iron claws,
And champs with gnashing teeth his massy jaws;
Old Nilus sighs along his cane-crown'd shores,
And swarthy Memphis trembles and adores.

Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802)


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