Poetry Out Loud: Isabella Callery recites “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb


THOUGHTLESS CRUELTY
BY CHARLES LAMB 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. 

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