Punch,  45 (1863), 177.

Elegy on the Porpoise

The Sturgeon


Poetry, Drollery


Zoological Gardens, Zoology, Animal Behaviour, Animal Development, Evolution

    An elegy on the death of the porpoise at the Zoological Society Gardens. The sturgeon expresses joy at the news that the 'great, black, oily', and blind porpoise has been taken away from his 'basin'. Questioning why Francis T Buckland put the porpoise in his home, he emphasises his own status as 'King of the Fish' and feels he should have been housed in a marble tank in the gardens of Windsor Castle and that he should not be exposed to fellows of the Zoological Society who 'talk zoological muddle' or to 'swells' and plebeians. Reiterates his hostile feelings about the porpoise, lamenting the fact that 'swells' only want to look at the porpoise's corpse. Urges Buckland in future to put sick porpoises in tanks with other fishes, pointing out that although he is a king, he cannot cure by touch. Insists that the porpoise is not a fish 'but a highly deweloped man. / Improved, of course, with a tail and fins, on the famous Westiges plan'. In a postscript he denies being related to Charles H Spurgeon, whom he believes looks more like a porpoise.

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