Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE TO A PIG WHILE HIS NOSE WAS BEING ROASTED, by ROBERT SOUTHEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ODE TO A PIG WHILE HIS NOSE WAS BEING ROASTED, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hark! Hark! That pig - that pig! The hideous note
Last Line: To think that for your master's good you die?
Variant Title(s): Ode To A Pig, Who Nose Was Being Bored
Subject(s): Death; Heaven; Mankind; Nature; Pain; Pigs; Sacrifices; Selflessness; Dead, The; Paradise; Human Race; Suffering; Misery; Boars; Hogs

HARK! hark! that pig—that pig! the hideous note,
More loud, more dissonant, each moment grows—
Would one not think the knife was in his throat?
And yet they are only boring through his nose.

You foolish beast, so rudely to withstand
Your master's will, to feel such idle fears!
Why, pig, there's not a lady in the land
Who has not also bored and ring'd her ears.

Pig! 'tis your master's pleasure—then be still,
And hold your nose to let the iron through!
Dare you resist your lawful sovereign's will?
Rebellious swine! you know not what you do!

To man o'er every beast the power was given,
Pig, hear the truth, and never murmur more!
Would you rebel against the will of Heaven?
You impious beast, be still, and let them bore!

The social pig resigns his natural rights
When first with man he covenants to live;
He barters them for safer stye delights,
For grains and wash, which man alone can give.

Sure is provision on the social plan,
Secure the comforts that to each belong:
Oh, happy swine! the impartial sway of man
Alike protects the weak pig and the strong.

And you resist! you struggle now because
Your master has thought fit to bore your nose!
You grunt in flat rebellion to the laws
Society finds needful to impose!

Go to the forest, piggy, and deplore
The miserable lot of savage swine!
See how the young pigs fly from the great boar,
And see how coarse and scantily they dine!

Behold their hourly danger, when who will
May hunt, or snare, or seize them for his food!
Oh, happy pig! whom none presumes to kill
Till your protecting master thinks it good!

And when, at last, the closing hour of life
Arrives (for pigs must die as well as man),
When in your throat you feel the long sharp knife,
And the blood trickles to the pudding pan,

And, when at last, the death wound yawning wide,
Fainter and fainter grows the expiring cry,
Is there no grateful joy, no loyal pride,
To think that for your master's good you die?

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