The Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast

1Come take up your Hats, and away let us haste
2To the Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast.
3The Trumpeter, Gad-fly, has summon'd the Crew,
4And the Revels are now only waiting for you.
5So said little Robert, and pacing along,
6His merry Companions came forth in a Throng.
7And on the smooth Grass, by the side of a Wood,
8Beneath a broad Oak that for Ages had stood,
9Saw the Children of Earth, and the Tenants of Air,
10For an Evening's Amusement together repair.
11And there came the Beetle, so blind and so black,
13And there was the Gnat and the Dragon-fly too,
14With all their Relations, Green, Orange, and Blue.
15And there came the Moth, with his Plumage of Down,
16And the Hornet in Jacket of Yellow and Brown;
17Who with him the Wasp, his Companion, did bring,
18But they promis'd, that Evening, to lay by their Sting.
19And the sly little Dormouse crept out of his Hole,
20And brought to the Feast his blind Brother, the Mole.
21And the Snail, with his Horns peeping out of his Shell,
23A Mushroom their Table, and on it was laid
24A Water-dock Leaf, which a Table-cloth made.
26And the Bee brought her Honey to crown the Repast.
27Then close on his Haunches, so solemn and wise,
28The Frog from a Corner, look'd up to the Skies.
29And the Squirrel well pleas'd such Diversions to see,
30Mounted high over Head, and look'd down from a Tree.
31Then out came the Spider, with Finger so fine,
32To shew his Dexterity on the tight Line.
33From one Branch to another, his Cobwebs he slung,
34Then quick as an Arrow he darted along,
35But just in the Middle, -- Oh! shocking to tell,
36From his Rope, in an Instant, poor Harlequin fell.
37Yet he touch'd not the Ground, but with Talons outspread,
38Hung suspended in Air, at the End of a Thread,
39Then the Grasshopper came with a Jerk and a Spring,
40Very long was his Leg, though but short was his Wing;
41He took but three Leaps, and was soon out of Sight,
42Then chirp'd his own Praises the rest of the Night.
43With Step so majestic the Snail did advance,
44And promis'd the Gazers a Minuet to dance.
45But they all laugh'd so loud that he pull'd in his Head,
46And went in his own little Chamber to Bed.
47Then, as Evening gave Way to the Shadows of Night,
48Their Watchman, the Glow-worm, came out with a Light.
49Then Home let us hasten, while yet we can see,
50For no Watchman is waiting for you and for me.
51So said little Robert, and pacing along,
52His merry Companions returned in a Throng.
END OF THE BUTTERFLY'S BALL.

Notes

12] Emmet: ant. Back to Line
22] Ell: 45 inches (a measure of length). Back to Line
25] Viands: meats. Back to Line
Original Text: 
Mr. [William] Roscoe. The Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast. London: J. Harris, 1808. Facsimile reproduction with an introduction by Charles Welsh. London: Griffith and Farran, 1883. PR 5236 R56B8 1883 Robarts Library.
Publication Start Year: 
1806
Publication Notes: 
Gentleman's Magazine (Nov. 1806)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.
Rhyme: