He peeps in the narrow-mouth’d glass,
Which depends from a branch of the tree;
He ventures to creep down,—alas!
To be drown’d in that delicate sea.
“Ah say,” my dear friend,
“is it right,
These glass bottles are hung upon trees:
’Midst a scene of inviting delight,
Should we find such mementoes as these?”
“From such sights,” said my
friend, “we may draw
A lesson, for look at that bee;
Compar’d with the wasp which you saw,
He will teach us what we ought to be.
“He in safety industriously plies
His sweet honest work all the day,
Then home with his earnings he flies;
Nor in thieving his time wastes away.”—
“O hush, nor with fables
I replied; “which, though pretty, can ne’er
Make me cease for that insect to grieve,
Who in agony still does appear.
“If a simile ever you need,
You are welcome to make a wasp do;
But you ne’er should mix fiction indeed
With things that are serious and true.”
WHAT IS FANCY?
I am to write three lines, and you
Three others that will rhyme.
There—now I’ve done my task.
Three stupid lines as e’er I knew.
When you’ve the pen next time,
Some Question of me ask.
Then tell me, brother, and pray mind,
Brother, you tell me true:
What sort of thing is fancy?
By all that I can ever find,
’Tis something that is very new,
And what no dunces can see.
That is not half the way to tell
What fancy is about;
So pray now tell me more.
Sister, I think ’twere quite as
That you should find it out;
So think the matter o’er.
It’s what comes in our heads when
Play at “Let’s make believe,”
And when we play at “Guessing.”
And I have heard it said to be
A talent often makes us grieve,
And sometimes proves a blessing.
Anger in its time and place
May assume a kind of grace.
It must have some reason in it,
And not last beyond a minute.
If to further lengths it go,
It does into malice grow.
’Tis the difference that we see
’Twixt the Serpent and the Bee.
If the latter you provoke,
It inflicts a hasty stroke,
Puts you to some little pain,
But it never stings again.
Close in tufted bush or brake
Lurks the poison-swelled snake,
Nursing up his cherish’d wrath.
In the purlieus of his path,
In the cold, or in the warm,
Mean him good, or mean him harm,
Whensoever fate may bring you,
The vile snake will always sting you.