1The toad and spider once would try the might
2Of either’s poison in a single fight.
3The lists were drawn; spectators throng about.
4Long time the victory remained in doubt.
5By equal valour, 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 gallant hath
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 try,
15Each vowing to prove innocent or die.
16The multitude in sundry passions shook:
17Some pray for
Mowbray, some for Bolingbrook,
18So they in factions now divided be,
19The valiant spider and the toad to see.
20The toad first fainted, and aside did go
ate, then turned upon his foe
22With greater vigor, which when the people spied
took the plantain up, then
straight he died.
24So have I in our English
25Two courtiers running
‘fore the King and Queen.
26One, fearing to be
foiled, made his
27Unto his lady, who could do no less
28Than throw a favor to her
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,
33Answered his supplications with a frown.
34He, troubled with the scorn of this proud flirt,
35Ran once again but tumbled in the dirt.
Who lives by t’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 repose:
subsolary toys they trust,
41They build a
fabric of dry sand or dust.
42Like little children in their pretty plays
pigeon-houses up of cards will raise.
44But like other 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 oh my soul,
on heaven alone rely,
49So shalt thou live although thy body die.