Quote Origin: From Beasts We Scorn as Soulless, In Forest, Field and Den

M. Frida Hartley? William Ralph Inge? Jan Bryant Bartell? Anonymous?

Question for Quote Investigator: A verse condemning cruelty toward animals begins with the following two lines:

From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field and den

This verse has been attributed to British social activist M. Frida Hartley and influential Anglican priest William Inge. I have not yet found a definitive citation. Would you please explore this topic?

Reply from Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in “The Spectator” magazine of London in 1928 within the literary supplement section. M. Frida Hartley published a poem titled “Hymn of Pity for Broken Birds and Beasts” which was composed of five verses of eight lines each. The second verse contained the following lines. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[ref] 1928 March 24, The Spectator, Section: Spectator Literary Supplement, Hymn of Pity for Broken Birds and Beasts, M. Frida Hartley, Quote Page 461, Column 1, London, England. (ProQuest) [/ref]

For creatures of Thy making
Old laws assigned for use,
New freedom stands proclaiming
Their rights and our abuse:
From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field and den,
The cry goes up to witness
The soullessness of men.

QI believes that M. Frida Hartley deserves credit for the quotation under examination. William Inge incorrectly received credit many years later.

Additional details about this verse are available in an article on the Medium platform which is available here.

Image Notes: Painting titled “Apes in the Orange Grove” by Henri Rousseau circa 1910. Image has been resized.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Samson Fernendez whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.

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