The Robins by John
A thing remarkable in my childhood was, that
once going to a neighbor's house, I saw on the
way a robin sitting on her nest, and as I went near
her she went off, but, having young ones, flew about,
and with many cries told her concern for them.
I stood and threw stones at her, until, one striking her,
she fell down dead. At first I was pleased with the exploit, but
after a few minutes was seized with horror for having in a sportive
way killed an innocent creature while she was careful of her young.
I beheld her lying dead, and thought that these young ones, for
which she was so heedful, must now perish for want of their parent
to nourish them; and after some painful considerations on the subject,
I climbed up the tree, took all the young birds and killed
them, supposing that to be better than to leave them to pine
away and die miserably. I believed in this case that the Scripture
proverb was fulfilled: "The tender mercies of the wicked are
I then went on my errand, but for some hours could think of
little else than the cruelties I had committed, and was troubled.
He whose tender mercies are over all his works hath placed a
principle in the human mind which incites to goodness towards
every living creature; and this being singly attended to, we become
tender-hearted and sympathizing; but being frequently rejected,
the mind becomes shut up in a contrary disposition.
I often remember the Fountain of Goodness which gives being
to all creatures, and whose love extends to the caring for the
sparrow; and I believe that where the love of God is verily perfected,
a tenderness toward all creatures made subject to us will be
felt, and a care that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the
animal creation which their Creator intended for them.