SOFTLY, softly, little sister,
Touch those gayly-painted wings;
Butterflies and moths, remember,
Are such very tender things.
Softly, softly, little sister,
Twirl your limber hazel twig;
Little hands may harm a nestling
Thoughtlessly, as well as big.
Gently stroke the purring pussy,
Kindly pat the friendly dog;
Let your unmolesting mercy
Even spare the toad or frog.
Wide is God’s great world around you:
Let the harmless creatures live;
Do not mar their brief enjoyment,
Take not what you cannot give.
Let your heart be warm and tender—
For the mute and helpless plead;
Pitying leads to prompt relieving,
Kindly thought to kindly deed.