Culture Darwinism

Coffee! Darwin’s granddaughter tosses the fat white woman to the snarks … but then …

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A  friend references this poem, written by one of Charles Darwin’s granddaughters, comfortably seated in a train, which gives you some idea of the family’s values in general:

O fat white woman whom nobody loves,

Why do you walk through the fields in gloves, …

to which G. K. Chesterton riposted.

How do you know but what someone who loves

Always to see me in nice white gloves

At the end of the field you are rushing by,

Is waiting for his Old Dutch?

– “The Fat White Woman Speaks”

You need to see the whole of both short poems to get the full flavour, and I don’t know for sure that either is in the public domain.

Note: Old Dutch = “duchess” – a term of endearment. A duchess is a high ranking noblewoman.

Also: Here’s some stuff on Darwin and racism.

5 Replies to “Coffee! Darwin’s granddaughter tosses the fat white woman to the snarks … but then …

  1. 1
    DaveW says:

    Here’s a poem by Darwin’s grand-father, Erasmus.

    “No gods, no masters, for Science is now our decree. Just facts, just factors, in the temple of truth we’re free. Our savior, our deliver, a priest in white robes.
    The Scientists, the experts, in them lie out greatest hopes.”

  2. 2
    DLH says:

    Both poems are listed at:
    Poets duke it out and

    Justine Picardie explores Cornford’s character:

    Pictures of Frances Cornford reveal her to have been dark-eyed and slender; the opposite, in fact, of a pale portly lady. . . . Like her grandfather and father, Frances suffered from debilitating episodes of depression; her first breakdown occurred at 17, after the death of her mother, and lasted for several years, though by 1909 she had recovered sufficiently to marry Francis Cornford, a young Cambridge Classics don.

    The Darwinian tendency to melancholy – entwined with a puritanical attitude to eating – is revealed in the account of a family picnic to celebrate Frances’ marriage. . . .

    What a dreary heritage!

  3. 3
    PaulBurnett says:

    Creationist complaints about Darwin being a racist never seem to mention that for the majority of Darwin’s life, including while “Origin” was being written and published, that institutionalized racism in the form of slavery was legal in the United States and was a firmly established part of American society (at least in the southern US). Similarly, the English society in which Darwin and his family were embedded was shockingly racist by 21st century standards.

    Creationists should stop judging Darwin’s racism by 21st century political correctness standards.

  4. 4
    Clive Hayden says:

    Chesterton’s response:

    Why do you rush through the field in trains,
    Guessing so much and so much?
    Why do you flash through the flowery meads,
    Fat-head poet that nobody reads….

    Haha. Poet that nobody reads….

  5. 5
    sxussd13 says:

    How about the response from Housman:

    O Why Do You Walk (a Parody)

    O why do you walk through the fields in boots,
    Missing so much and so much?
    O fat white woman whom nobody shoots,
    Why do you walk through the fields in boots,
    When the grass is soft as the breast of coots
    And shivering-sweet to the touch?

    Alfred Edward Housman

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