Upon a Spider Catching a Fly
Thou sorrow, venom elf:
Is this thy play,
To spin a web out of thyself
To catch a fly?
I saw a pettish wasp
Fall foul therein,
Whom yet the whorl-pins did not clasp
Lest he should fling
But as afraid, remote
Didst stand hereat
And with thy little fingers stroke
And gently tap
Thus gently him didst treat
Lest he should pet,
And in a froppish, waspish heat
Should greatly fret
Whereas the silly fly,
Caught by its leg
Thou by the throat tookst hastily
And hind the head
This goes to pot, that not
Nature doth call.
Strive not above what strength hath got
Lest in the brawl
This fray seems thus to us.
Hell's spider gets
His entrails spun to whip-cords thus,
And wove to nets
To tangle Adam's race
To their destructions, spoiled, made base
By venom things,
But mighty, gracious Lord
Thy grace to break the cord, afford
Us glory's gate
We'll nightingale sing like
When perched on high
In glory's cage, thy glory, bright,
Yesterday a snake, today a spider. Not intentionally trying to creep anyone out here. Taylor's little sermon about the wiles of an arachnid Satan -- stroking its waspish enemy into submission, swiftly dispatching the silly fly -- is pretty potent stuff. It's worth comparing Frost's poem about a spider:
While Frost's questioning is more to my way of thinking about things -- you might read this as a kind of response to "intelligent design" -- I think Taylor has given us the more satisfying, and wittier, poem.Design
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth --
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth --
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall? --
If design govern in a thing so small.