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.
|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.
|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.