The Poetry of Cruelty

The French philosopher Voltaire visited Britain in the early eighteenth century and was appalled by the common practice of docking or amputating the tails of horses. He made the following comment:

“Vous fiers Anglois
Barbares que vous êtes
Coupez la tête aux rois
Et la queue à vos bêtes;
Mais les François,
Polis et droits,
Aiment les lois,
Laissent la queue aux bêtes
Et la tête à leurs rois.”

“You proud English
Barbarians that you are
Cut the heads off your kings
and the tails from your animals;
But the French
Polite and upright,
Love the laws,
Leave the tails on their animals
and the heads on their kings.”


Obviously not a seer…

2 thoughts on “The Poetry of Cruelty

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