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.

Kith and Kin

The Vegetarian, August 24, 1901

Kith and Kin. Poems of Animal Life. Selected by Henry S. Salt. London: Geo. Bell & Sons. I/- net.

This dainty little volume of 100 pages will be greatly enjoyed by those who love the “Gospel of Humaneness.” The name of the Editor is a guarantee as to merit and suitability to the purpose designed. As humaneness is a favourite phase of Vegetarianism, we heartily than the Editor for “Kith and Kin.” It is a concentration of poetic thought and supplies a want; and will be welcomed by those who often look and long in vain for something in support of their sentiments and convictions. It will prove useful as an aid to the development of a higher conception of our duty and a wider range of sympathy in our dealings with animals, and, utilised with judgment, will serve to enhance the power of at least one phase of platform work. It is daintily bound in ornamental cloth, embellished with a design in chocolate, green and gold, presenting a tasteful exterior, worthy the use and beauty of its contents.

Just to whet the appetite of our readers and enhance the value of our present issue, we conclude with a poem from page 82:—

A BIRD IN THE HAND

Look at this ball of intractable fluff,
Panting and staring with piteous eyes!
What a rebellion of heart! what a ruff
Tickles my hand as the missel-thrush tries,
Pecking my hand with her termagant bill,
How to escape (and I love her, the sweet!)
Back where the clustering oaks on the hill
Climb to the blue with their branches, and meet!

Nay, polished beak, you are pecking a friend!
Bird of the grassland, you bleed at the wing!
Stay with me, love; in captivity mend
Wrong that was wrought by the boy and his sling.
Oh for a Priest of the Birds to arise,
Wonderful words on his lips that persuade
Reasoning creatures to leave to the skies
Song at its purest a-throb in the glade!

Bow, woodland heart, to the yoke for a while!
Soon shall the lyrics of wind in the trees
Stir you to pipe in the green forest-aisle,
God send me there with the grass to my knees!
See, I am stroking my cheek with your breast,
Ah, how the bountiful velvet is fair!
Stay with me here for your healing and rest,
Stay, for I love you, delight of the air!
NORMAN GALE