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THE DRAGONFLY, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: The beauteous dragonfly's dancing
Last Line: The fair but cruel pretender!
Subject(s): Dragonflies

THE beauteous dragonfly's dancing
By the waves of the rivulet glancing;
She dances here and she dances there,
The glimmering, glittering flutterer fair.

Full many a beetle with loud applause
Admires her dress of azure gauze,
Admires her body's bright splendour,
And also her figure so slender.

Full many a beetle, to his cost,
His modicum small of reason lost;
Her wooers are humming of love and truth,
Brabant and Holland pledging forsooth.

The dragonfly smiled and thus spake she:
"Brabant and Holland are nought to me;
"But haste, if my charms you admire,
"And fetch me a sparklet of fire.

"The cook has just been brought to bed,
"And I my supper must cook instead;
"The coals on the hearth are burnt away, --
"So fetch me a sparklet of fire, I pray."

Scarce had the false one spoken the word,
When off the beetles flew, like a bird.
They seek for fire, and soon they find
Their home in the wood's left far behind.

At length they see a candle's light
In garden-bower burning bright;
And then with amorous senseless aim,
They headlong rush in the candle's flame.

The candle's flame with crackling consumed
The beetles and their fond hearts so doom'd:
While some with their lives did expiation,
Some only lost wings in the conflagration.

O woe to the beetle, whose wings have been
Burnt off! In a foreign land, I ween,
He must crawl on the ground like vermin fell,
With humid insects that nastily smell.

One's bad companions -- he's heard to say, --
Are the worst of plagues, in exile's day.
We're forced to converse with every sort
Of noxious creatures, of bugs in short,

Who treat us as though their comrades were we,
Because in the selfsame mud we be.
Of this complain'd old Virgil's scholar,
The poet of exile and hell, with choler.

I think with grief of the happier time,
When I in my glory's well-winged prime
In my native ether was playing,
On sunny flowers was straying.

From rosy calixes food I drew,
Was thought of importance, and wheeling flew
With butterflies all of elegance rare,
And with the cricket, the artist fair.

But since my poor wings I happen'd to burn,
To my fatherland now I ne'er can return;
I'm turn'd to a worm, that will soon expire,
I'm rotting away in foreign mire.

O would that I had never met
The dragonfly, that azure coquette,
With figure so fine and slender,
The fair but cruel pretender!

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