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Anthology of Poetry - 19th/early 20th Centuries

John Greenleaf WHITTIER (1807-1892)

But, by all thy nature's weakness,
Hidden faults and follies known,
Be thou, in rebuking evil,
Conscious of thine own.

Philip J.BAILEY (1816-1902)

from 'Festus'

All animals are living hieroglyphs,
The dashing dog, and stealthy stepping cat,
Hawk, bull, and all that breathe mean something more
To the true eye than their shapes show; for all
Were made in love, and made to be beloved,
Thus must he think as to earth's lower life,
Who seeks to win the world to thought and love.

Christina ROSSETTI (1830-1894)

from 'A Nursery Rhyme Book'

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

from 'To What Purpose this Waste?'

And other eyes than ours
Were made to look on flowers,
Eyes of small birds and insects small:
The deep sun-blushing rose
Round which the prickles close
Opens her bosom to them all.
The tiniest living thing
That soars on feathered wing,
Or crawls among the long grass out of sight
Has just as good a right
To its appointed portion of delight
As any King.

Sir Edwin ARNOLD (1832-1904)

Sir Lewis MORRIS (1833-1907)

Shall I Indeed Delight

Shall I indeed delight,
To take you, helpless kinsman, fast and bound,
And while ye lick my hand
Lay bare your veins and nerves in one red wound,
Divide the sentient brain;
And while the raw flesh quivers with the pain,
A calm observer stand,
And drop in some keen acud, and watch it bite
The writhing life; wrench the still beating heart,
And with calm voice meanwhile discourse, and bland,
To boys who jeer or sicken as they gaze,
Of the great goddess Science and her gracious ways?

Thomas HARDY (1840-1928)

"Peace upon earth!" was said. We sing it
And pay a million priests to bring it.
After two thousand years of mass
We've got as far as poison-gas.

Ella Wheeler WILCOX (1850-1919)

So Many Gods

So many Gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Voice of the Voiceless

Oh, never a brute in the forest
and never a snake in the fen
Or ravening bird, starvation stirred,
has hunted its prey like men.

For hunger and fear and passion
alone drive beasts to slay,
But wonderful man, the crown of the plan,
tortures and kills for play.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I am the voice of the voiceless;
Through me the dumb shall speak,
Till the deaf world's ear be made to hear
The wrongs of the wordless weak.

From street, from cage and from kennel,
From stable and zoo, the wail
Of my tortured kin proclaims the sin
Of the mighty against the frail.

Oh shame on the mothers of mortals,
Who have not stooped to teach
Of the sorrow that lies in dear, dumb eyes,
The sorrow that has no speech.

The same force framed the sparrow
That fashioned man the king;
The God of the whole gave a spark of soul
To furred and feathered thing.

And I am my brother's keeper,
And I will fight his fight,
And speak the word for beast and bird,
Till the world shall set things right.

H.D.RAWNSLEY (1851-1920)

from 'The Stag Impaled'

With head thrown back and heaving flank distressed
It hears the hounds - the hunter's bugle ring;
What hand shall save the tame unantlered thing?
What covert give the harmless creature rest?
Down the loing vale and o'er the woodland crest,
Across the flood with piteous fear for wing
It speeds, the leaps and with a desperate spring
Hangs mute, impaled, the fence spear in its breast.

When shall the heart of gentler England prove
Its pure compassion for all needless pain,
When shall we learn the bond of brotherhood
'Twixt man and these wild creatures of the wood,
And nobler days of sport bring nobler gain
For manhood sworn to pity and to love?

Henry S.SALT (1851-1939)

George Bernard SHAW (1856-1950)

Sir William WATSON (1858-1935)

from 'Vivisection'

Thou noble hound, with thy immortal gift
Of loving whom thou servest ...
If none entitled is to bind me down ...
None hath title to so ravage you.

John BARLAS (Evelyn Douglas) (1860-1914)

Love Sonnet

The poor dumb creatures of the field, that call
So sadly to their young; whose narrow mind,
Consciously helpless, looks up to mankind
Through piteous pleading eyes; that live in thrall,
Or, stricken in the shambles, groaning fall -
Thinking of these, how little grace they find,
And then of thee who never wast unkind,
And of our love, I could weep for them all,
This is the gift of Love, that we, so blest,
Should feel for the afflicted; that we twain
Should be united against wrong and pain,
The slaughtered lamb, the wild bird's rifled nest,
And, most of all, the fraud and force that stain
Homes of the human poor and the oppressed.

W.H.DAVIES (1871-1940)

The Rabbit

Not even when the early birds
Danced on my roof with showery feet
Such music as will come from rain -
Not even then could I forget
The rabbit in his hours of pain;
Where, lying in an iron trap,
He cries all through the deafened night -
Until his smiling murderer comes,
To kill him in the morning light.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Hunters, hunters,
Follow the chase,
I saw the fox's eyes,
Not in his face
But on it, big with fright -
Haste, hunters, haste!

Say, hunters, say
Is it a noble sport?
As rats that bite
Babies in cradles, so,
Such rats and men
Take their delight.

- - - - - - - - - - -

from 'Sheep'

They sniffed, poor things, for their green fields,
They cried so loud I could not sleep;
For fifty thousand shillings down
I would not sail again with sheep.

Ralph HODGSON (1871-1962)

Stupidity Street

I saw with open eyes
Singing birds sweet
Sold in the shops
For the people to eat,
Sold in the shops of
Stupidity Street.

I saw in vision
The worm in the wheat,
And in the shops nothing
For people to eat;
Nothing for sale in
Stupidity Street.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

The Bells of Heaven

'Twould ring the bells of Heaven
The wildest peals for years,
If Parson lost his senses
And people came to theirs,
And he and they together
Knelt down with angry prayers
For tamed and shabby tigers,
And dancing dogs and bears,
And wretched, blind pit-ponies
And little hunted hares.

Walter DE LA MARE (1873-1956)


Hi! Handsome hunting man,
Fire your little gun,
Bang! Now that animal
Is dead and dumb and done.
Never more to peep again, creep again, leap again,
Eat or sleep or drink again, oh, what fun!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I can't abear

I can't abear a butcher,
I can't abide his meat,
The ugliest shop of all is his,
The ugliest in the street;
Bakers' are warm, cobblers' dark
Chemists' burn watery lights;
But oh, the sawdust butchers shop
That ugliest of sights.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tit for Tat

Have you been catching fish, Tom Noddy?
Have you snared a weeping hare?
Have you whistled "No Nunny" and gunned a poor bunny,
Or blinded a bird of the air?

Have you trod like a murderer through the green woods,
Through the dewy deep dingles and glooms,
While every small creature screamed shrill to Dame Nature
"He comes - and he comes!"?

Wonder I very much do,Tom Noddy,
If ever, when off you roam,
An ogre from space will stoop a lean face,
And lug you home:

Lug you home over his fence, Tom Noddy,
Of thorn-sticks nine yards high,
With your bent knees strung round his old iron gun
And your head a dan-dangling by:

And hung you up stiff on a hook, Tom Noddy,
From a stone-cold pantry shelf,
Whence your eyes will glare in an empty stare,
Till you are cooked yourself!

Ellen GLASGOW (1874-1945)

A Creed

In fellowship of living things
In kindred claims of Man and Beast,
In common courtesy that brings
Help from the greatest to the least,
In love that all life shall receive,
Lord, I believe.

Anna Hempstead BRANCH (1875-1937)

To a Dog

If there is no God for thee,
Then there is no God for me.

Edgar A. GUEST (1881-1959)


They cannot ask for kindness
Or for mercy plead,
Yet cruel is our blindness
Which does not see their need,
World-over, town or city,
God trusts us with this task:
To give our love and pity
To those who cannot ask.

James STEPHENS (1882-1950)

Little Things

Little things that run and quail,
And die, in silence and despair!

Little things, that fight and fail,
And fall, on sea, and earth, and air!

All trapped and frightened little things,
The mouse, the coney, hear our prayer!

And we forgive those done to us -
The lamb, the linnet, and the hare -

Forgive us all our tresspasses,
Little creatures, everywhere!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Snare

I hear a sudden cry of pain!
There is a rabbit in a snare:
Now I hear the cry again,
But I cannot tell from where.

But I cannot tell from where
He is calling out for aid!
Crying on the frightened air,
Making everything afraid!

Making everything afraid!
Wrinkling up his little face!
And he cries again for aid;
- and I cannot find the place!

And I cannot find the place
Where his paw is in the snare!
Little One! Oh, Little One!
I am searching everywhere!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Cage

It tried to get from out the cage;
Here and there it ran, and tried
At the edges and the side,
In a busy, timid rage.

Trying yet to find the key
Into freedom, trying yet,
In a timid rage to get
To its old tranquillity.

It did not know, it did not see,
It did not turn an eye, or care
That a man was watching there
While it raged so timidly.

It ran without a sound, it tried,
In a busy, timid rage,
To escape from out the cage
By the edges and the side.

Henry Bailey STEVENS (1891-1976)

The Bull Calf

Well, sonny! Come along,
Swinging your little tail!
This is the price you have to pay
For being born a male.

Moo, moo, old cow!
And start a hunger-strike,
Lots of us have to do
Things that we don't like.

Lots of us have to suffer;
Don't let it spoil your meal,
This is the price you have to pay;
Somebody wants some veal.

Don't take it too hard, old cow;
I'm sorry you've got so wild;
But somebody's got an appetite
And wants to eat your child.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lines to be Said after Soup

With lentils, tomatoes and rice,
Olives and nuts and bread,
Why do I have to gnaw on a slice
Of something bloody and dead?

With honey, bananas and pear,
Oranges and corn and beet,
Why do I feel I must tear
Into some carcass meat?

How does my nose go astray?
What in my instinct warps,
That I have to ravish and slay
In order to feed on a corpse?


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