‘Tis true my form is something odd
But blaming me is blaming God
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.
If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span
I would be measured by the soul
The mind’s the standard of the man.
From ‘False greatness’ (1706) by Isaac Watts, as quoted by Joseph Merrick in the pamphlet accompanying the sideshow exhibit ‘The Elephant Man’.
Leslie Rice, 2022