Pitiful

When God made man to live his hour,
And hitch his wagon to a star,
He made a being without power
To see His creatures as they are.
He made a masterpiece of will,
Superb above its mortal lot,
Invincible by any ill…
Imagination He forgot!

This man of God, with every wish
To earn the joy of Kingdom Come,
Will prison up the golden fish
In bowl no bigger than a drum.
And though he'll wither from remorse
When he refuses Duty's call,
He'll cut the tail off every horse
And carve each helpless animal.

No spur to humour doth he want,
In wit the earth he overlords,
Yet drives the hapless elephant
To clown and tumble on “the boards.”
This man, of every learning chief,
So wise that he can read the skies,
Can fail to read the wordless grief
That haunts a prisoned monkey's eyes.

He'll prate of “Mercy to the weak,”
And strive to lengthen human breath,
But starve the little gaping beak,
And hunt the timid hare to death.
Though, with a spirit wild as wind
The world at liberty he'd see,
He cannot any reason find
To set the tameless tiger free.

Such healing victories he wins,
And drugs away the mother's pangs,
But sets his god-forsaken ‘gins’
To mangle rabbits with their fangs.
Devote, he'd travel all the roads.
To track and vanquish all the pains,
And yet—the wagon overloads,
The watch-dog to his barrel chains.

He'll soar the heavens in his flight,
To measure Nature's majesty;
Yet take his children to delight
In captive eagle's tragedy.
This man, in knowledge absolute,
Who right and love and honour woos,
Yet keeps the pitiful poor brute
To mope and languish in his Zoos.

You creatures wild, of field and air,
Keep far from men, where'er they go!
God set no speculation there—
Alack! We know not what we do!
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