Animals and humans

In His justice He gave
abundant comfort to the animals;
they do not feel shame for adultery,
nor guilt for stealing;
without being ashamed
they pursue every comfort they encounter,
for they are above
care and shame;
the satisfaction of their desires
is sufficient to please them.
Because they have no resurrection,
neither are they subject to blame.

The fool, who is unwilling to realize
his honorable state,
prefers to become just an animal,
rather than a man,
so that, without incurring judgment,
he may serve naught but his lusts.
But had there been sown in animals
just a little
of the sense of discernment,
then long ago would the wild asses have lamented
and wept at their not
having been human.

St. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymn XII on Paradise, 19-20

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