Eprint note: This got published in AnthroQuest some years ago, but its publication status doesn't mean much, I guess :-)

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A folivore's soliloquy

Tuber or not tuber, - that is the question:-
Whether 'tis fitter in the stomach to suffer
The mistakes and errors of outrageous foraging,
Or to take hoe against a field of truffles,
And, by eating, end them? --To forage, to sleep,-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-burn and the thousand natural upsets
That digestive tracts are heir to; 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To forage, to sleep;
To sleep! perchance to be ill--ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of digestion what secondary compound may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal vigilance,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long eating;
For who would bear the toxins and digestibility inhibitors of plants,
The Rutaceae's terpenoids, the Apocynaceae's phenolics,
The pangs of despised alkaloids, the excessive fiber's delay,
The insolence of competitors, and the thorns
That patient merit of the unwary takes,
When he himself might his carnivorous diet make
With a bare herbivore body? who would racemes bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary bulk,
But that the dread of undependable forage,-
The unpredictable base, from whose bourn
No obligate carnivore may stray,-- puzzles the genes,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus evolution does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of herbivory
Is sicklied over with the pale cast of dietary conservatism;
And adaptations of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of adaptive radiation. --Soft you now!
The fair Ceres. --Goddess, in thy orisons
Be all my appetites remembered.

--- Jim Moore, with apologies to the author of the original
and thanks to Jeanne Sept and Annie Vincent for the inspiration.