Friday, 5 April 2013

Vegetarianism by Maude Egerton King

From My book of songs and sonnets (King, M., Percival & Co., London, 1893), this poem is cited as "dedicated to a very gentle friend", I wonder who that was?  It covers five pages, here is the beginning:

"When I tell how sad a thing
    Wears my heart out year by year,
Sight of creatures suffering,
    Martyrdoms of service here,

Seldom paying wrong for wrong,
   Dumb before a human rage,
Toiling hard and toiling long
  To be slain in useless age,

Elaborate diaper,
from Arbor Vitae, Blount, G.,
A.C. Fifield, London, 3rd edition, 1910

Never sacred from abuse,
  While a breath of helpless life
Holds them fit for slavish use,
  Or for science with her knife,

You will never ask again
   Why I made my view, and chose
Ne'er to add by death or pain
   To a cup that overflows

See the little god of self,
  Custom waiting on his greed;
Craves he feast of flesh or pelf,
  All is sanctioned by his need.

Ceaseless toil of men and beasts
  Is his worship's heavy price;
And the cities teem with priests
  Slaying hourly sacrifice.

No such load of death and toil
  Can my single life redress,
But at least I need not spoil
  Any live thing's happiness...."

Frieze from
Arbor Vitae, ibid

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