Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A SPIDER, by ROBERT SOUTHEY



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TO A SPIDER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Spider! Thou need'st not run in fear about
Last Line: I spin my brains.
Subject(s): Insects; Poetry & Poets; Spiders; Bugs


SPIDER! thou need'st not run in fear about
To shun my curious eyes,
I wont humanely crush thy bowels out,
Lest thou should'st eat the flies,—
Nor will I roast thee with a damn'd delight
Thy strange instinctive fortitude to see,
For there is one who might
One day roast me.

Thou art welcome to a rhymer sore-perplext,
The subject of his verse:
There's many a one who on a better text
Perhaps might comment worse.
Then shrink not, old free-mason, from my view
But quietly like me spin out the line;
Do thou thy work pursue
As I will mine.

Weaver of snares, thou emblemest the ways
Of Satan, sire of lies;
Hell's huge black spider for mankind he lays
His toils as thou for flies.
When Betty's busy eye runs round the room
Woe to that nice geometry, if seen!
But where is he whose broom
The earth shall clean?

Spider! of old thy flimsy webs were thought,
And 'twas a likeness true,
To emblem laws in which the weak are caught
But which the strong break through.
And if a victim in thy toils is ta'en,
Like some poor client is that wretched fly—
I'll warrant thee thou'lt drain
His life-blood dry.

And is not thy weak work like human schemes
And care on earth employ'd?
Such are young hopes and love's delightful dreams
So easily destroyed!
So does the statesman, whilst the avengers sleep,
Self-deem'd secure, his wiles in secret lay,
Soon shall destruction sweep
His work away.

Thou busy labourer! one resemblance more
Shall yet the verse prolong,
For spider, thou art like the poet poor,
Whom thou hast help'd in song.
Both busily our needful food to win,
We work, as nature taught, with ceaseless pains,
Thy bowels thou dost spin,
I spin my brains.





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