“First Stage of Cruelty”, cruelty to animals

Hogarth’s  The Four Stages of Cruelty (1751) depict, fictional protagonist Tom Nero as he progresses from cruelty to animals as a child, to cruelty to animals as an adult.

“First Stage of Cruelty” by William Hogarth

“First Stage of Cruelty” by William Hogarth

While various Scenes of sportive Woe,
The Infant Race employ,
And tortur’d Victims bleeding shew,
The Tyrant in the Boy.
Behold! a Youth of gentler Heart,
To spare the Creature’s pain,
O take, he cries—take all my Tart,
But Tears and Tart are vain.
Learn from this fair Example—You
Whom savage Sports delight,
How Cruelty disgusts the view,
While Pity charms the sight.

The second print depicts the, now adul,t protagonist as a driver beating his horse with a broken leg. In the background other animals are being victimized.

"Second Stage of Cruelty” by William Hogarth

“Second Stage of Cruelty” by William Hogarth

The generous Steed in hoary Age,
Subdu’d by Labour lies;
And mourns a cruel Master’s rage,
While Nature Strength denies.
The tender Lamb o’er drove and faint,
Amidst expiring Throws;
Bleats forth it’s innocent complaint
And dies beneath the Blows.
Inhuman Wretch! say whence proceeds
This coward Cruelty?
What Int’rest springs from barb’rous deeds?
What Joy from Misery?

The two prints are from a series called The Four Stages of Cruelty by English artist William Hogarth.

In 1865, Henry Bergh saw a similar depiction of animal cruelty in this print and it inspired him to establish the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1866.

Animal Cruelty – Granger 1865

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