Charles Lamb (1775-1834)
1There, Robert, you have kill'd that fly -- ,
2And should you thousand ages try
3The life you've taken to supply,
4 You could not do it.
5You surely must have been devoid
6Of thought and sense, to have destroy'd
7A thing which no way you annoy'd --
8 You'll one day rue it.
9Twas but a fly perhaps you'll say,
10That's born in April, dies in May;
11That does but just learn to display
12 His wings one minute,
13And in the next is vanish'd quite.
14A bird devours it in his flight --
15Or come a cold blast in the night,
16 There's no breath in it.
17The bird but seeks his proper food --
18And Providence, whose power endu'd
19That fly with life, when it thinks good,
20 May justly take it.
21But you have no excuses for't --
22A life by Nature made so short,
23Less reason is that you for sport
24 Should shorter make it.
25A fly a little thing you rate --
26But, Robert do not estimate
27A creature's pain by small or great;
28 The greatest being
29Can have but fibres, nerves, and flesh,
30And these the smallest ones possess,
31Although their frame and structure less
32 Escape our seeing.
1] Lucas attributes this poem questionably to Mary Lamb (496).
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, ed. E. V. Lucas, III (London: Methuen, 1903): 410. PR 4860 A2 1968 Robarts Library. Lucas' text made from Andrew W. Tuer's facsimiles.
First publication date:
Publication date note: Poetry for Children, Entirely Original, 2 vols. (London: M. J. Godwin, 1809)
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 4:2002/2/17
Rhyme: aaab cccb ...
Other poems by Charles Lamb