Let Me Not Be Proud

Here’s another hymn from Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Year of the Flood:

Oh let me not be proud, dear Lord,

Nor rank myself above

The other Primates, through whose genes

We grew into your Love.

A million million years, Your Days,

Your methods pass discerning,

Yet through your blend of DNAs

Came passion, mind, and learning.

We cannot always trace Your path

Through Monkey and Gorilla,

Yet all are sheltered underneath

Your Heavenly Umbrella.

And if we vaunt and pull ourselves

With vanity and pride,

Recall Australopithecus,

Our Animal inside.

So keep us far from worser traits,

Aggression, anger, greed;

Let us not scorn our lowly birth,

Nor yet our Primate seed.

-From the God’s Gardeners’ Oral Hymnbook (Margaret Attwood)

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  • Gary

    Yeah, but it doesn’t answer Hamlet’s statement, “death be not proud”, “suffer the slings and arrows ” or “shuffle off this mortal coil”. “What dreams may come?” That’s what I want to know. I already know I’m an animal.

  • guest

    Looks like I’m going to have to read this book sometime.

    It’s a nice hymn, but…

    Umbrella/Gorilla doesn’t rhyme (in my accent)

    The path to us doesn’t go through the gorilla. Our path split from theirs before they developed a lot of Gorilla-like traits, like knuckle-walking. We share a common ancestor but Gorillas themselves are not an ancestor.

    Aggression, Anger and Greed are a legacy of our evolution just as much as passion, mind and learning. All of them have survival value.

    I’m probably being to literal.

    It actually reminds me, because of the emphasis on scientific terms, of some atheist’s attempts to rewrite carols. This one, for instance:


    or this one, which isn’t atheist, just anti-fundamentalist: