Take not away the life you cannot give;
For all things have an equal right to live,
Kill noxious creatures where 'tis sin to save;
This only just prerogative we have;
But nourish life with vegetable food,
And shun the sacriligeous taste of blood.
Forbear, O mortals,
To spoil your bodies with such impious food!
There is corn for you, apples, whose weight bears down
The bending branches; there are grapes that swell
On the vines, and pleasant herbs, and greens
Made mellow and soft with cooking; there is milk
And clover-honey. Earth is generous
With her provision, and her sustenance
Is very kind; she offers, for your tables,
Food that requires no bloodshed and no slaughter.
Oh Ox, how great are thy desserts! A being
without guile, harmless, simple,
willing for work! Ungrateful and unworthy of the fruits of earth, man his
own farm labourer slays and smites with the axe that toil-worn neck that
had so oft renewed for him the face of the hard earth; so many harvests.
from theMetamorphoses by Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) (43 BC - AD 17)
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