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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

48           The Germs of Brewhon

in which the truth is shrouded, so we present the reader
with a draped figure, and his own judgment must discriminate
between the clothes and the body. A truth's prosperity is
like a jest's, it lies in the ear of him that hears it. Some may
see our lucubration as we saw it; and others may see nothing
but a drunken dream, or the nightmare of a" distempered .
imagination. To ourselves it as the speaking with unknown
tongues to the early Corinthians ; we cannot fully under-
stand our own speech, and we fear lest there be not a sufficient
number of interpreters present to make our utterance edify,
But there ! (Go on straight to the body of the article.)

The limbs of the lowrer animals have never been modified
by any act of deliberation and forethought on their own part.
Recent researches have thrown absolutely no light upon the
origin of life—upon the initial force which introduced a
sense of identity, and a deliberate faculty into the world;
but they do certainly appear to show very clearly that each
species of the animal and vegetable kingdom has been moulded
into its present shape by chances and changes of many millions
of years, by chances and changes over which the creature
modified had no control whatever, and concerning whose
aim it was alike unconscious and indifferent, by forces which
seem insensate to the pain which they inflict, but by whose
inexorably beneficent cruelty the brave and strong keep
coming to the fore, while the weak and bad drop behind and
perish. There was a moral government of this world before
man came near it—a moral government suited to the capacities
of the governed, and which, unperceived by them, has laid
fast the foundations of courage, endurance and cunning.
It laid them so fast that they became more and more heredi-
tary. Horace says well, fortes creantur fortibus et bonis—
good men beget good children; the rule held even in the
geological period; good ichthyosauri begat good ichthyosauri,
and would to our discomfort have gone on doing so to the
present time, had not better creatures been begetting better
things than ichthyosauri, or famine, or fire, or convulsion
put an end to them. Good apes begat good apes, and at
last when human intelligence stole like a late spring upon
the mimicry of our semi-simious ancestry, the creature
learnt how he could, of his own forethought, add extra-
corporaneous limbs to the members of his body and become