Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FLY CAUGHT IN A COBWEB, by RICHARD LOVELACE



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A FLY CAUGHT IN A COBWEB, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Small type of great ones, that do hum
Last Line: Bound with the entrails of thy foe.
Subject(s): Cobwebs; Flies


Small type of great ones, that do hum
Within this whole world's narrow room,
That with a busy hollow noise
Catch at the people's vainer voice,
And with spread sails play with their breath,
Whose very hails new christen Death.
Poor fly caught in an airy net,
Thy wings have fettered now thy feet;
Where, like a lion in a toil,
Howe'er, thou keep'st a noble coil,
And beat'st thy generous breast, that o'er
The plains thy fatal buzzes roar,
Till thy all-bellied foe (round elf)
Hath quartered thee within himself.

Was it not better once to play
I' th' light of a majestic ray?
Where, though too near and bold, the fire
Might singe thy upper down attire,
And thou i' th' storm to lose an eye,
A wing, or a self-trapping thigh;
Yet hadst thou fall'n like him, whose coil
Made fishes in the sea to broil;
When now th' ast scap'd the noble flame,
Trapp'd basely in a slimey frame,
And free of air, thou art become
Slave to the spawn of mud and loam.

Nor is 't enough thyself dost dress
To thy swoln lord a num'rous mess,
And by degrees thy thin veins bleed,
And piecemeal dost his poison feed;
But now devour'd, art like to be
A net spun for thy family,
And, straight expanded in the air,
Hang'st for thy issue too a snare.
Strange witty death, and cruel ill,
That killing thee, thou thine dost kill!
Lies pies in whose entombed ark,
And fowl crowd downward to a lark,
Thou art thine enemy's sepulchre,
And in thee buriest too thine heir.

Yet Fates a glory have reserv'd
For one so highly hath deserv'd;
As the rhinoceros doth die
Under his castle-enemy,
As though the crane's trunk throat doth speed
The asp doth on his feeder feed;
Fall yet triumphant in thy woe,
Bound with the entrails of thy foe.






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