Arachne doth her hours pass
tinsel on the verdant grass:
3Look how it glitters
now the sun doth rise,
bane of harmless sheep and death of flies,
5And over it, the slow and
6In winding knots doth draw a slimy trail.
7The cheerful lark, as in the air she flies
8And on this
gossamer casts down her eyes,
9Takes it for
mirrors laid by
10And therefore fears to light upon the plains,
alacrity aloft she flies,
12And early sings her morning sacrifice,
13And in her language magnifies His name
immensity all creatures came.
15Do thou, my soul, sing too; let none on earth
16Or air beyond thee go. Think on thy birth:
17For though my body’s dust, thou art a spark
18Celestial; for shame, out-sing the lark!
19She hath but one life that she spends in praise;
20Thou hast—and shalt have—two, yet waste thy days
21In bleeding sighs and fruitless briny tears,
22In melancholy thoughts, vain causeless fears.
23Learn thou of this sweet airy
24Do thou her cheerful actions register;
25For I have seen—
walking one summer’s day
26To take the air when
Flora did display
27Her youthful pride—as she did smiling pass,
28She threw her flowered
mantle on the grass,
29Which straight allured a sunburnt
30To come and mow these fading beauties down.
Unbraced, unblessed: he doth with haste
32This valley to
Temp more fair.
33Thus, stewed in sweat, this
gripple hidebound slave
34Cuts near the ground, the greater crop to have,
35Greedy of gain and sweltering him he
36Mowing by chance near where a spring did glide,
37That in her
purling language seemed to chide,
38Because he robbed her of her chiefest pride.
39But he, regardless of her murmuring woe,
40Still nearer to the
41In this sweet place the lark took such delight,
42Because it shady was and out of sight;
43By this cool
rivulet she took such pleasure,
44That here she placed her young; even all her treasure
45Was here enclosed in one round little nest,
46Which this indulgent bird warmed with her breast;
47And by the echo of this bubbling spring,
48She meant to teach her airy young to sing;
49But in a moment all her joys were
50In twinkling of an eye her hopes were dashed;
51For this bold scoundrel without fear or wit
52Her pretty globe-like nest in sunder split.
53Some are in middle cut, some off their head:
54Thus, all her young are either maimed or dead.
55One not quite killed doth weakly fly about,
56Which soon perceivéd is by this rude
57Who throws his
to it doth run,
58Meaning to carry it to his little son,
59Which having caught and it
in’s pocket put,
With’s sweaty glove, he
doth’t in prison shut.
61Next day, he gives it to his crying
Who in a thread this pretty bird doth haul
63Hither and thither, as his
Him leads, but
ere’t be night, it doth expire.
65The poor old dam, seeing this sad massacre,
66With heavy heart to her light wings
67Yet hovering below in hope to find
68Some of her
brood (according to their
69To follow her, but seeing, at last, there’s none
70That doth survive, she sadly makes her moan;
mounts and sings, though in a sadder tone.
72Thus, as thou art afflicted here below,
73My troubled soul, still nearer Heaven go.
74Let every troublesome heartbreaking
billows to thy haven thee toss;
76And, as thy friends and lovely children die,
77So thou, my soul, to Heaven for comfort fly.
78There do thou place thy whole and sole delight:
79There! There are joys ne’er seen by mortal sight.
80Be thou possessed, my soul, with those true joys,
81And thou shalt find worldly delights mere
82Fix thou thy mind where those true pleasures dwell,
83Thou shalt no leisure have to fear a Hell;
84And when death ceaseth on thy mortal part,
85Thou mayest endure it with a constant heart;
86And when thy last friends close thy
87Then change thy place, but not thy company.