The Book of Lies





There is no help — but hotch pot! — in the skies
When Astacus sees Crab and Lobster rise.
Man that has spine, and hopes of heaven-to-be,
Lacks the Amoeba's immortality.
What protoplasm gains in mobile mirth
Is loss of the stability of earth.
Matter and sense and mind have had their day:
Nature presents the bill, and all must pay.
If, as I am not, I were free to choose,
How Buddhahood would battle with The Booze!
My certainty that destiny is "good"
Rests on its picking me for Buddhahood.
Were I a drunkard, I should think I had
Good evidence that fate was "bloody bad".


The title is a euphemism for homo sapiens.

The crab and the lobster are higher types of crustacae than the crayfish.

The chapter is a short essay in poetic form on Determinism. It hymns the great law of Equilibrium and Compensation, but cynically criticises all philosophers, hinting that their view of the universe depends on their own circumstances. The sufferer from toothache does not agree with Doctor Pangloss, that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds". Nor does the wealthiest of our Dukes complain to his cronies that "Times is cruel 'ard".

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