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Poem by Charles Lamb


Thoughtless Cruelty


There, Robert, you have killed 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 destroyed
A thing which no way you annoyed-
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 vanished 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 endued
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. 



Charles Lamb


Charles Lamb's other poems:
  1. Incorrect Speaking
  2. Love, Death, and Reputation
  3. The Two Boys
  4. Beauty and the Beast
  5. Blindness


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