One biting winter morning,
A dusky spider swung
From off the mantle, by his thread.
And o'er the stove-pipe hunir.
Escaped from some dim cranny cold.
To warmer quarters there,
He seemed, upon that slender hold,
An atom hung on air.
I watched his quick manoeuvres
Above the funnel hot,
Where like a falling mustard seed
He looked, but touched it not.
For when he'd spun his line too long,
His tiny hands and feet
He plied to shun the fervor strong ,
And made a slight retreat.
Then down again he'd venture,
A rash, unwary thing !
And to his tenure frail, above
The burning iron, cling.
He'd mimic now, the sailor's art
To dangle on the rope,
And then, the clinging human heart
On some delusive hope.
Methought, "Poor, simple spider !
A cruel death is near ;
Thou art upon its very lip,
And yet so void of fear !
The spider folk, I here confess,
Had never charms for me ;
They weave their tents, like wickedness,
For deeds of cruelty.
"They live by snare and slaughter ;
And oft the piercing cry
I've heard from some poor victim bound,
By them slung up to die ;
The while, for many a venorned bite,
Would spider at him run,
And back, as if with fell delight,
To pain the dying one.
" And yet. I'll try to save thee ;-
For once a spider's friend !"
I raised my hand, when lo ! he fell,
As lightning, to his end !
The wicked flee when none pursue.
In jealousy and dread,
Not knowing what I aimed to do,
To death the spider fled.
His little life was over ;
And where so quick he fell,
Upon the fervid iron lay
No speck, his fate to tell.
Though short its space, for good or ill,
We thence, perhaps, may find
Some little moral to distil,
For use of human kind.
Is not unwary childhood,
For pleasure, ofttimes prone
To shun the way experience points,
And bent to take its own ?
Does not the wicked, from his breast,
Spin out the line of sin
That leads him to the grave unblest,
And drops him, hopeless, in ?