1The toad and spider once would try the might
2Of either’s poison in a single fight.
lists were drawn, spectators throng about;
4Long time the victory remained in doubt.
5By equal valor, the field was dyed in blood;
6The combat long in equilibrium stood.
7The people’s minds, a conflict had within,
8As not agreeing which they would have win.
compose, some made the difference wider,
10Some took the toad’s part, others took the spider’s.
11So when one
impeached the other
12Of highest treason, then in rage the other
13Calls him base traitor,
giving him the lie.
14By single duel they, the truth, do
15Each vowing to prove innocent or die.
16The multitude in sundry passions shook;
17Some pray for
Mowbray, some for Bollingbroke:
18So they in factions now divided be,
19The valiant spider and the toad to see.
20The toad first fainted and aside did go,
plaintain ate; then turned upon his foe
22With greater vigor, which, when the people spied,
They took the plaintain up; then straight he died.
24So have I, in our English tiltyard, seen,
25Two courtiers running
’fore the king and queen.
26One, fearing to be
foiled, made his address
27Unto his lady, who could do no less
a favor to her carpet knight.
29Then, with new courage he returns to fight,
30But missing of his thrust, he comes again
31To sue to her; she, not being
in the vein,
32Instead of throwing of a favor down,
supplications with a frown.
34He, troubled with the scorn of this proud flirt,
35Ran once again, but tumbled in the dirt.
36Who lives by th’influence of a lady’s eye
37Will like this
gallant fall and helpless lie.
38Then let these sad examples warn all those
39That do on worldly vanities
toys they trust,
41They build a fabric of dry sand or dust.
42Like little children in their pretty plays,
High pigeon houses up of cards will raise;
44But like our earthly hopes, they build in vain;
45If they but laugh, they blow them down again.
46Then let no man on human hopes repose,
47Lest like this toad their hopes and lives they lose.
48Then, O my soul, on Heaven alone rely;
49So shalt thou live, although thy body die.