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Animal Rights History Timeline » [1660-1785] Enlightenment: » Anna Barbould

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

The Mouse's Petition,
Found in the Trap Where He Had Been Confined All Night


[1773] Anna Laetitia Barbauld, The Mouse's Petition, Found in the Trap Where He Had Been Confined all Night in Poems {Google Books] (London, 1773; 1777).

OH! here a pensive prisoner's prayer,
For liberty that sighs
And never let thine heart be shut
Against the wretch's cries.

For here forlorn and sad I sit,
Within the wiry grate;
And tremble at th' approaching morn,
Which brings impending fate.

If e'er thy breast with freedom glow'd,
And spurn'd a tyrant's chain,
Let not thy strong oppressive force
A free-born mouse detain.

Oh! do not stain with guiltless blood
They hospitable hearth;
Nor triumph that thy wiles betray'd
A prize do little worth.

The scatter'd gleanings of a feast
My frugal meals supply;
But if thine unrelenting heart,
That slender boon deny,

The cheerful light, the vital air,
Are blessings widely given;
Let nature's commoners enjoy
The common gift of heaven.

The well-taught philosophic mind
To all compassion gives;
Casts round the world an equal eye,
And feels for all that lives.

If mind, as ancient sages taught,
A never dying flame,
Still shifts thro' matter's varying forms,
In every form the same,

Beware, lest in the worm you crush,
A brother's soul you find.
And tremble left thy luckless hand
Dislodge a kindred mind

Or, if this transient gleam of day
Be all of life we share,
Let pity plead within thy breast
That little all to spare.

So may thy hospitable board
With health and peace be crown'd;
And every charm of heartfelt ease
Beneath thy roof be found.

So, when destruction lurks unseen,
Which men like mice may share,
May some kind angel clear thy path,
And break the hidden snare

Animal Rights History Timeline: Enlightenment [1660-1785]

Restoration [1660-1689]
Augustan-Age of Pope [1689-1745]
Age of Sensibility [1745-1785]



Anna Barbauld

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