Henry Salt Archive

Henry Salt (1853-1939) was the author of the Life of Henry David Thoreau, Animals Rights and A Plea for Vegetarianism which inspired Gandhi for follow a vegetarian diet.

Deo Gratias

[A grace before meat, dedicated to our flesh-eating friends]

What fairer sight can earth afford
Than hungry friends round festive board,
With hearty grace before their meat,
“For what we are about to eat
God make us truly thankful!”

First  soup, concocted from the tails
of oxen brought from distant vales,
Till over-driven, bruised, and sore
They stumbled to the shambles’ door:
God make us truly thankful!

Crimped cod comes next, delightful dish;
Plucked from the sea, a lordly fish,
He gasped awhile, but soon, alack,
They cut the notches in his back:
God make us truly thankful!

Veal cutlets, delicately white,
A calf it was that frisked light,
Then, taken from its mother’s side,
Was slowly bled, and bleeding died:
God make us truly thankful!

A turkey next, from dunghill reft,
With sausages to right and left;
Sliced ham, the flesh of measly swine:
God spare the health of those who dine,
And make them truly thankful!

But here we pause; 'twere long to tell
What corpses still the banquet swell;
How many a beast and bird has bled,
For which that hearty grace is said:
“God make us truly thankful!”

H. S. Salt
The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger,