The lines in this poem, ' A Robin Redbreast in a Cage' are arranged in couplets, i.e. groups of two lines which rhyme with each other. Each couplet contains a proverb on the horrors of cruelty to animals. The eight couplets printed here are taken from a much longer series called 'Auguries of Innocence'. Blake believed that all life is one, and that the sufferings of animals affect angels and men alike.
Robins are English wild birds noted for their red breast feathers. They should not be shut up in cages. When a dog dies of hunger at his master's gate then that country where such a thing happen deserves to be destroyed. A cock who is trained for fighting has its wings clipped to the spur with which it kills the opposing cock. This cruel sport is now forbidden in England. The rising sun symbolises life and joy. A horse who is overburdened on the road can even cry out to heaven for help to curse the responsible humans. Every the outcry of a hunted hare cause pain to the human mind. Even the cherub-an angel of God is sad when he sees the skylark wounded by the selfish acts of men. He who intends to hurt the little wrens; any of numerous small, active songbirds of the family Troglodytidae, esp. Troglodytes troglodytes, of the Northern Hemisphere, having dark-brown plumage barred with black and a short, upright tail; shall never find favour with the rest of mankind and God. Whenever you can, feed the beggar's dos and the widow's cat and you shall be blessed by God.