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.
Other works by Charles Lamb ...