Thoughtless Cruelty

There, Robert, you have kill’d that fly — ,

And should you thousand ages try

The life you’ve taken to supply,

You could not do it.

You surely must have been devoid

Of thought and sense, to have destroy’d

A thing which no way you annoy’d —

You’ll one day rue it.

Twas but a fly perhaps you’ll say,

That’s born in April, dies in May;

That does but just learn to display

His wings one minute,

And in the next is vanish’d quite.

A bird devours it in his flight —

Or come a cold blast in the night,

There’s no breath in it.

The bird but seeks his proper food —

And Providence, whose power endu’d

That fly with life, when it thinks good,

May justly take it.

But you have no excuses for’t —

A life by Nature made so short,

Less reason is that you for sport

Should shorter make it.

A fly a little thing you rate —

But, Robert do not estimate

A creature’s pain by small or great;

The greatest being

Can have but fibres, nerves, and flesh,

And these the smallest ones possess,

Although their frame and structure less

Escape our seeing.