Mourne, Ammonites, mourn o’er his funeral urn, Whose neck we must grace no more;
Gneiss, granite, and slate – he settled your date, And his ye must now deplore.
Weep, caverns, weep, with infiltering drip, Your recesses he’ll cease to explore;
For mineral veins or organic remains,
No stratum again will he bore.
His wit shone like crystal – his knowledge profound From gravel t granite descended;
No trap could deceive him, no slip confound, No specimen, true or pretended.
Where shall we our great professor inter, That in peace may rest his bones?
If we hew him a rocky sepulchre, He’ll get up and break the stones,
And examine each stratum that lies around, For he’s quite in his element underground.
If with mattock and spade his body we lay In the common alluvial soil;
He’ll start up and snatch those tools away Of his own geological toil;
In a stratum so young the professor disdains That embedded should be his organic remains.
Then exposed to the drip of some case-hardening Spring,
His carcass let stalactite cover;
And to Oxford the petrified sage let s bring, When duly encrusted all over;
There, ‘mid mammoths and crocodiles, high on the shelf, Let him stand as monument raised to himself.
An excellent general history of the clergy is The Anglican Parochial Clergy – its Celebration by Michael Hinton. A Field guide to the English Country Parson by Thomas Hinde covers that fascinating subject finely and concisely. The Flesh is Weak is an intimate history of the Church of England and a delight for those with some appetite for ecclesiastical tittle-tattle, scandal and eccentricity. ‘Eccentricity’, thought