International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

England: early 19th Century
Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

British poet and humorist, his work includes protest poetry such as The Song of the Shirt (1843) and The Bridge of Sighs (1844)

A Butcher

Whoe'er has gone thro' London street
Has seen a butcher gazing at his meat,
And how he keeps
Gloating upon a sheep's
Or bullocks personals, as if his own;
How he admires his halves
And quarters, and his calves
As if in truth upon his own legs grown -
His fat, his suet,
His kidneys peeping elegantly thro' it,
His thick flank, and his thin,
His shank, his shin,
Skin of his skin, and bone too of his bone!

With what an air
He stands aloof across the thoroughfare
Gazing, and will not let a body by,
Tho' buy,buy, buy! be constantly his cry,
Meanwhile with arms akimbo, and a pair
Of Rhodian legs, he revels in a stare
At his Joint Stock - for one may call it so,
Howbeit with a Co.
The dotage of self-love was never fonder
Than he of his brute bodies all a-row;
Narcissus in the wave did never ponder,
With love so strong,
On his portrait charmant
As our vain Butcher on his carcass yonder.

Look at his sleek round skull!
How bright his cheek, how rubicund his nose is!
His visage seems to be
Ripe for beef-tea;
Of brutal juices the whole man is full
In fact, fulfilling the metempsychosis,
The Butcher is already half a Bull.