The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
This scene, in which the Doctor jabs
Towards a chalk-white stiff
Is famous. Now they’ve found your dabs:
It makes us think What If?
What if you’d taken up your brush
To paint today’s cadaver,
Would all the watchers keep their hush,
Or would they drool and slaver?
We look at all those startled eyes,
That seem to flinch or wince:
Respectful, full of sheer surprise.
And now they’ve found your prints.
You did do allegorical –
The Senses, one by one;
You also did ‘historical’ –
Europa’s Rape. Old son,
Suppose your Dr. Tulp alive,
And you here with your skill –
Here’s meat for the good Doctor’s knives –
Europa, looking ill.
A bunch of swerve-eyed lunatics
With low or beetling brows
Have knocked Europa, and for six.
And this of course allows
This rambling rant upon your name,
A glimpse inside the May tents.
It’s quite unworthy of your fame.
But then they’ve found your latents.