Understanding based on shared experience, or at least on the notion that it could just as well have happened to me.

A poem by Emily Bronte

There should be no despair for you
While nightly stars are burning;
While evening pours its silent dew,
And sunshine gilds the morning.
There should be no despair--though tears
May flow down like a river:
Are not the best beloved of years
Around your heart for ever?

They weep, you weep, it must be so;
Winds sigh as you are sighing,
And winter sheds its grief in snow
Where Autumn's leaves are lying:
Yet, these revive, and from their fate
Your fate cannot be parted:
Then, journey on, if not elate,
Still, NEVER broken-hearted!

This is public domain

A Poem By Paul Laurence Dunbar

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals?
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting?
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,?
When he bears his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart?s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings?
I know why the caged bird sings!

Sympathy is often abused. Typically, a subject has been used or taken advantage of many times by a person or group of people appealing to the subject's sense of sympathy.

In some cases, the subject gets used by a singe person or group of people several times. In some cases, the subject is taken advantage of or used several times by different people or groups of people.

It may take one incident, or it may take many. Eventually, though, the subject becomes so jaded that when they actually come upon a person who may actually deserve sympathy, they have none to give.

In such cases, one is likely to hear the subject use a phrase similar to the following:

"If you're looking for sympathy, it's in the dictionary between shit and syphilis."

Sympathy evolved peripherally,
a selective way to keep the tribe alive
through the secondhand pangs of trial,
tributaries of tribulation shared by blood,
our hardwired love of Rover and Fluffy just
a shadow of family need in the genes.

But what if we could feel the flesh we eat,
taste the fatal throes ol' Bossie endured
as the butcher put a hammer to her head?
What if every whitemeat nugget sliding
greasy down our throats held a grindhouse
flash of Chicken Little, debeaked and choked?

Would we shun personalized burgers
and embrace plates of cheerful fruits?
Would we eagerly flee from carnivory,
ban the slaughter and celebrate salad,
glorify veggies, their tales of pain so dull;
no yardman names the blades he mows.

But righteous sadists might dictate diets of woe:
priests would curse the sins in mother's milk
and tell their flocks to feed the babies Bambi.
Hardening souls for a Heavenly shine, pious
soldiers would savor Apocalyptic glory
in the soylent flesh of every blessed enemy.

Sym"pa*thy (?), n.; pl. Sympathies (#). [F. sympathie, L. sympathia, Gr. &?;; sy`n with + &?; suffering, passion, fr. &?;, &?;, to suffer. See Syn-, and Pathos.]


Feeling corresponding to that which another feels; the quality of being affected by the affection of another, with feelings correspondent in kind, if not in degree; fellow- feeling.

They saw, but other sight instead -- a crowd
Of ugly serpents! Horror on them fell,
And horrid sympathy.


An agreement of affections or inclinations, or a conformity of natural temperament, which causes persons to be pleased, or in accord, with one another; as, there is perfect sympathy between them.


Kindness of feeling toward one who suffers; pity; commiseration; compassion.

I value myself upon sympathy, I hate and despise myself for envy.

4. (Physiol.)


The reciprocal influence exercised by the various organs or parts of the body on one another, as manifested in the transmission of a disease by unknown means from one organ to another quite remote, or in the influence exerted by a diseased condition of one part on another part or organ, as in the vomiting produced by a tumor of the brain.


That relation which exists between different persons by which one of them produces in the others a state or condition like that of himself. This is shown in the tendency to yawn which a person often feels on seeing another yawn, or the strong inclination to become hysteric experienced by many women on seeing another person suffering with hysteria.


A tendency of inanimate things to unite, or to act on each other; as, the sympathy between the loadstone and iron. [R.]


Similarity of function, use office, or the like.

The adverb has most sympathy with the verb.

Syn. -- Pity; fellow-feeling; compassion; commiseration; tenderness; condolence; agreement. -- Sympathy, Commiseration. Sympathy is literally a fellow-feeling with others in their varied conditions of joy or of grief. This term, however, is now more commonly applied to a fellow-feeling with others under affliction, and then coincides very nearly with commiseration. In this case it is commonly followed by for; as, to feel sympathy for a friend when we see him distressed. The verb sympathize is followed by with; as, to sympathize with a friend in his distresses or enjoyments. "Every man would be a distinct species to himself, were there no sympathy among individuals." South. See Pity.

Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought


© Webster 1913

Sym"pa*thy, n. (Physiol. & Med.)


The reciprocal influence exercised by organs or parts on one another, as shown in the effects of a diseased condition of one part on another part or organ, as in the vomiting produced by a tumor of the brain.


The influence of a certain psychological state in one person in producing a like state in another.


© Webster 1913

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