Upon a Spider Catching a Fly

1Thou sorrow, venom Elfe:
2    Is this thy play,
3To spin a web out of thyselfe
4    To Catch a Fly?
5        For Why?
6I saw a pettish wasp
7    Fall foule therein:
9    Lest he should fling
10        His sting.
11But as affraid, remote
12    Didst stand hereat,
13And with thy little fingers stroke
14    And gently tap
15        His back.
16Thus gently him didst treate
18And in a froppish, aspish heate
19    Should greatly fret
20        Thy net.
21Whereas the silly Fly,
22    Caught by its leg
23Thou by the throate tookst hastily
24    And 'hinde the head
25        Bite Dead.
26This goes to pot, that not
27    Nature doth call.
28Strive not above what strength hath got,
29    Lest in the brawle
30        Thou fall.
31This Frey seems thus to us.
32    Hells Spider gets
33His intrails spun to whip Cords thus
34    And wove to nets
35        And sets.
36To tangle Adams race
37    In's stratigems
38To their Destructions, spoil'd, made base
39    By venom things,
40        Damn'd Sins.
41But mighty, Gracious Lord
42    Communicate
43Thy Grace to breake the Cord, afford
44    Us Glorys Gate
45        And State.
46We'l Nightingaile sing like
47    When pearcht on high
48In Glories Cage, thy glory, bright,
49    And thankfully,
50        For joy.


8] Whorle: a flywheel (i.e., its legs). Back to Line
17] pet: take offence. Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Text: The Poems of Edward Taylor, ed. Donald E. Stanford with a forward by Louis L. Martz (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960): 464-65. First published: The poetical works of Edward Taylor, ed. Thomas Johnson (New York: Rockland editions, 1939): 114-115.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire