BETA

A Plea for the Dumb Animals.

Ye call them dumb ; and deem it well,1
Howe’er their bursting hearts may swell,2
They have no voice their woes to tell,3
As fabulists have dreamed.4
They cannot cry, “ O Lord, how long5
Wilt Thou, the patient Judge and strong,6
Behold Thy creatures suffer wrong7
Of those Thy blood redeemed ? ”8
Yet are they silent ? need they speech9
His holy sympathies to reach,10
Who by their lips could prophets teach,11
And for their sakes would spare ;12
When, wrestling with his own decree,13
To save repentant Nineveh,14
He found, to strengthen mercy’s plea,15
So many cattle” there ?16
Have they no language ? Angels know,17
Who take account of every blow ;18
And there are angel hearts below19
On whom the Eternal Dove20
His pentecostal gift hath poured,21
And that forgotten speech restored22
That filled the garden of the Lord23
When Nature’s voice was love !24
Oh, blest are they the creatures bless !25
And yet that wealth of tenderness,26
In look, in gesture, in caress,27
By which our hearts they touch,28
Might well the thoughtful spirit grieve,29
Believing—as we must believe30
How little they from man receive,31
To whom they give so much !32
They may be silent, as ye say,33
But woe to them who, day by day,34
Unthinking for what boon they pray,35
Repeat, “ Thy kingdom come,”36
Who, when before the great white Throne37
They plead that mercy may be shown,38
Find awful voices drown their own39
The voices of the dumb !40
Symmetrical tailpiece features a decorated horned head with a foliate pattern emerging from an open mouth on either side. 1/32 page.