That’s the text of what may be the world’s first animal rights poem, written in 1773 by sympathetic lab assistant Anna Barbauld from the point of view of one of the mice in her lab.
“There’s this extraordinary moment,” says historian Richard Holmes. “Priestley packs up for the day, and he leaves that next mouse in a cage on his desk for the next morning. He will put it [in a breathing tank] and remove the oxygen, and the mouse will almost certainly die. And Anna Barbauld, who’s cleaning up, she just looks at the mouse, and she thinks, wait a minute, wait a minute … and she sits down and writes a poem.”