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The MOUSE's PETITION,
* To Doctor PRIESTLEY.
Found in the TRAP where he had been confin'd all Night.

Parcere subjectis, & debellare superbos.
VIRGIL.
[ed.] Virgil, Aeneid 6.853, "spare the humble but strike the braggart down" (The Aeneid. trans. Frank O. Copley and Brooks Otis. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965). (AH)
1 OH! hear a pensive captive's prayer,
2 For liberty that sighs;
3 And never let thine heart be shut
4 Against the prisoner's cries.
5 For here forlorn and sad I sit,
6 Within the wiry grate;
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7 And tremble at th' approaching morn,
8 Which brings impending fate.
9 If e'er thy breast with freedom glow'd,
10 And spurn'd a tyrant's chain,
11 Let not thy strong oppressive force
12 A free-born mouse detain.
13 Oh! do not stain with guiltless blood
14 Thy hospitable hearth;
15 Nor triumph that thy wiles betray'd
16 A prize so little worth.
17 The scatter'd gleanings of a feast
18 My scanty meals supply;
19 But if thine unrelenting heart
20 That slender boon deny,
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21 The chearful light, the vital air,
22 Are blessings widely given;
23 Let nature's commoners enjoy
24 The common gifts of heaven.
25 The well taught philosophic mind
26 To all compassion gives;
27 Casts round the world an equal eye,
28 And feels for all that lives.
29 If mind, as ancient sages taught,
30 A never dying flame,
31 Still shifts thro' matter's varying forms,
32 In every form the same,
33 Beware, lest in the worm you crush
34 A brother's soul you find;
35 And tremble lest thy luckless hand
36 Dislodge a kindred mind.
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37 Or, if this transient gleam of day
38 Be all of life we share,
39 Let pity plead within thy breast
40 That little all to spare.
41 So may thy hospitable board
42 With health and peace be crown'd;
43 And every charm of heartfelt ease
44 Beneath thy roof be found.
45 So when unseen destruction lurks,
46 Which men like mice may share,
47 May some kind angel clear thy path,
48 And break the hidden snare.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The MOUSE's PETITION, Found in the TRAP where he had been confin'd all Night.
Themes: advice; moral precepts; God; animals; virtue; vice
Genres: lament; advice

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Source edition

Poems. London: printed for Joseph Johnson, 1773, pp. 37-40. vi,138p. ; 4⁰. (ESTC T236; OTA K019955.000)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.