The Mouse's Petition
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The MOUSE's PETITION*
Found in the TRAP where he had been confin'd all Night.
Parcere subjectis, & debellare superbos. VIRGIL
- OH! hear a pensive captive's prayer,
- For liberty that sighs ;
- And never let thine heart be shut
- Against the prisoner'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
- Thy hospitable hearth ;
- Nor triumph that thy wiles betray'd
- A prize so little worth.
- The scatter'd gleanings of a feast
- My scanty meals supply ;
- But if thine unrelenting heart
- That slender boon deny,
- The chearful light, the vital air,
- Are blessings widely given ;
- Let nature's commoners enjoy
- The common gifts 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 lest 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 unseen destruction lurks,
- Which men like mice may share,
- May some kind angel clear thy path,
- And break the hidden snare.
- To Doctor PRIESTLEY.