Thoughtless Cruelty

Original Text: 
The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, ed. E. V. Lucas, III (London: Methuen, 1903): 410. PR 4860 A2 1968 Robarts Library. Lucas' text made from Andrew W. Tuer's facsimiles.
2And should you thousand ages try
3The life you've taken to supply,
4    You could not do it.
5You surely must have been devoid
6Of thought and sense, to have destroy'd
7A thing which no way you annoy'd --
8    You'll one day rue it.
9Twas but a fly perhaps you'll say,
10That's born in April, dies in May;
11That does but just learn to display
12    His wings one minute,
13And in the next is vanish'd quite.
14A bird devours it in his flight --
15Or come a cold blast in the night,
16    There's no breath in it.
17The bird but seeks his proper food --
18And Providence, whose power endu'd
19That fly with life, when it thinks good,
20    May justly take it.
21But you have no excuses for't --
22A life by Nature made so short,
23Less reason is that you for sport
24    Should shorter make it.
25A fly a little thing you rate --
26But, Robert do not estimate
27A creature's pain by small or great;
28    The greatest being
29Can have but fibres, nerves, and flesh,
30And these the smallest ones possess,
31Although their frame and structure less
32    Escape our seeing.

Notes

1] Lucas attributes this poem questionably to Mary Lamb (496). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1809
Publication Notes: 
Poetry for Children, Entirely Original, 2 vols. (London: M. J. Godwin, 1809)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.
Rhyme: