The Spider and the Fly Poem by Mary Botham Howitt.
The Spider: The Spider and the Fly. It is a deterrent tale for those, old or young, who might be desirous by kind words and false aptitudes, like the fly who was trapped by the spider and met a gruesome end.
Mary Howitt (12 March 1799 – 30 January 1888) was an English poet, and author of the famous poem The Spider and the Fly. She translated several tales by Hans Christian Andersen. Take your time and read the poem below
The Spider and the Fly
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high.
Well you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest a while, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!”
Said the cunning spider to the fly: “Dear friend, what can I do
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome – will you please to take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “kind sir, that cannot be:
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”
“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings; how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
If you’d step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,
And, bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.”
The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly;
Then came out to his door again and merrily did sing:
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer grew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue,
Thinking only of her crested head. Poor, foolish thing! at last
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast;
He dragged her up his winding stair, into the dismal den –
Within his little parlor – but she ne’er came out again!
And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.
By Mary Howitt
Besides her large output of fictional work Howitt also wrote factual books such as The Literature and Romance of Northern Europe, published in 1852, and two volumes of a Popular History of the United States in 1859. Her renown as a writer won her many awards including a civil list pension of £100 per year from April 1879.
Having converted to Catholicism late in life she was selected as one of a delegation chosen to meet the Pope on the 10th January 1888. Unfortunately within three weeks of this great occasion, she was dead.
Mary Botham Howitt contracted bronchitis and died in Rome on the 30th January 1888 at the age of 88. She was remembered as a spreader of “good and innocent literature”, a description that appeared in her Times Obituary.
What is the Motivation for the Poem:
What scientific information about spiders can be learned from this poem? Check with scientific print or Web information to compare for accuracy.
- What fantasy aspects are there in the poem?
- Do animals really talk to one another?
- Do they use flattery to catch prey?
- How is this poem a fable?
- How do we know this is a poem?
- Does it rhyme?
- Is it written in a special format?
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Daily Time Poems.