Of Animals

The philosopher was anatomizing some small forest creatures and meditating on the ways in which their humours and organs were variously disposed, when a poet came upon him and stayed his hand.

“Ho! Get your own dinner!” said the philosopher. But the poet’s eyes filled with tears as he chanted:

“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.

“They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.”

“Then you obviously haven’t met my cat,” said the philosopher.

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