Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HEDGE-HOG SEEN IN A FREQUENTED PATH, by CHARLOTTE SMITH

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THE HEDGE-HOG SEEN IN A FREQUENTED PATH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Wherefore should man or thoughtless boy
Last Line: May cry -- ah! Noli me tangere.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Charlotte Turner
Subject(s): Hedgehogs

Wherefore should man or thoughtless boy
Thy quiet harmless life destroy,
Innoxious urchin? -- for thy food
Is but the beetle and the fly,
And all thy harmless luxury
The swarming insects of the wood.

Should man to whom his God has given
Reason, the brightest ray of heaven,
Delight to hurt, in senseless mirth,
Inferior animals? -- and dare
To use his power in waging war
Against his brethren of the earth?

Poor creature! to the woods resort,
Lest lingering here, inhuman sport
Should render vain thy thorny case;
And whelming water, deep and cold,
Make thee thy spiny ball unfold,
And shew thy simple negro face!

Fly from the cruel; know than they
Less fierce are ravenous beasts of prey,
And should perchance these last come near thee[,]
And fox or martin cat assail,
Thou, safe within thy coat of mail,
May cry -- Ah! noli me tangere.

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