I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.
- D. H. Lawrence, Self-pity
Saw the line in bold tattoo-ed on a chick's back the other day. It is one of those illuminating moments where a light goes on in my head. I just had to go discover the source.
I can't find an exact date for when the poem was written, but apparently D. H. Lawrence wrote this while the study of psychology was experiencing a breakthrough. Thought, ideas of emotions, human motives, intuition, reason, and behavior greatly interested him. Lawrence lived between 1885 to 1930, so one might expect the psychological philosophies of William James and Sigmund Freud to be revolutionary and prevalent at that time. His essays reflect this energy and sense of enlightenment.
In Self-pity, Lawrence emphasizes that man, of all animals, has the greatest ability of and capacity for self-pity, and sadly can express the most self-loathing despite his longer lifespan and capacity of thought as opposed to other animals.
Indeed, this is true even among humans with their vast variations in dispositions. The people I know who are wild and free are the most fulfilled and unregretful. They make delightful company.