Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FUSCARA; OR, THE BEE ERRANT, by JOHN CLEVELAND



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FUSCARA; OR, THE BEE ERRANT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nature's confectioner, the bee
Last Line: The bee committed parricide.
Subject(s): Bees; Insects; Beekeeping; Bugs


NATURE's confectioner, the bee
(Whose suckets are moist alchemy,
The still of his refining mould
Minting the garden into gold),
Having rifled all the fields
Of what dainties Flora yields,
Ambitious now to take excise
Of a more fragrant paradise,
At my Fuscara's sleeve arrived
Where all delicious sweets are hived.
The airy freebooter distrains
First on the violets of her veins,
Whose tincture, could it be more pure,
His ravenous kiss had made it bluer.
Here did he sit and essence quaff
Till her coy pulse had beat him off;
That pulse which he that feels may know
Whether the world's long-lived or no.
The next he preys on is her palm,
That alm'ner of transpiring balm;
So soft, 'tis air but once removed;
Tender as 'twere a jelly gloved.
Here, while his canting drone-pipe scanned
The mystic figures of her hand,
He tipples palmistry and dines
On all her fortune-telling lines.
He bathes in bliss and finds no odds
Betwixt her nectar and the gods',
He perches now upon her wrist,
A proper hawk for such a fist,
Making that flesh his bill of fare
Which hungry cannibals would spare;
Where lilies in a lovely brown
Inoculate carnation.
He argent skin with or so streamed
As if the milky way were creamed.
From hence he to the woodbine bends
That quivers at her fingers' ends,
That runs division on the tree
Like a thick-branching pedigree.
So 'tis not her the bee devours,
It is a pretty maze of flowers;
It is the rose that bleeds, when he
Nibbles his nice phlebotomy.
About her finger he doth cling
I' th' fashion of a wedding-ring,
And bids his comrades of the swarm
Crawl as a bracelet 'bout her arm.
Thus when the hovering publican
Had sucked the toll of all her span,
Tuning his draughts with drowsy hums
As Danes carouse by kettle-drums,
It was decreed, that posie gleaned,
The small familiar should be weaned.
At this the errant's courage quails;
Yet aided by his native sails
The bold Columbus still designs
To find her undiscovered mines.
To th' Indies of her arm he flies,
Fraught both with east and western prize;
Which when he had in vain essayed,
Armed like a dapper lancepresade
With Spanish pike, he broached a pore
And so both made and healed the sore:
For as in gummy trees there's found
A salve to issue at the wound,
Of this her breach the like was true;
Hence trickled out a balsam, too.
But oh, what wasp was't that could prove
Ravaillac to my Queen of Love!
The King of Bees now's jealous grown
Lest her beams should melt his throne,
And finding that his tribute slacks,
His burgesses and state of wax
Turned to a hospital, the combs
Built rank-and-file like beadsmen's rooms,
And what they bleed but tart and sour
Matched with my Danae's golden shower,
Live-honey all, -- the envious elf
Stung her, 'cause sweeter than himself.
Sweetness and she are so allied
The bee committed parricide.





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