Benjamin Cooke
(1734 - 1793)

Cooke : The Mouse's Petition : illustration

The Mouse's Petition
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From Cooke's collection Op. 5, edited and issued posthumously by his son, Robert Cooke. 1795. A setting of part of Barbauld's Petition "to Dr Priestley, found in the trap where he had been confin'd all night", an early work criticising scientific experiments on animals.
Lyrics: Anna Barbauld

Oh, hear a pensive prisoner's prayer
For liberty that sighs;
And never let thine heart be shut
Against the wretch's cries.

If e'er thy breast with freedom glowed,
And spurned a tyrant's chain,
Let not thy strong oppressive force
A free-born mouse detain!

So may thy hospitable board
With health and peace be crowned;
And every charm of heartfelt ease
Beneath thy roof be found.

So when destruction lurks unseen,
Which men, like mice, may share,
May some kind angel clear thy path,
And break the hidden snare.