Thoughtful in youth, but not austere in age;
Calm, but not cold, and cheerful though a sage;
Too true to flatter and too kind to sneer,
And only just when seemingly severe;
So gently blending courtesy and art
That wisdom’s lips seemed borrowing friendship’s heart.
Taught by the sorrows that his age had known
In others trials to forget his own,
As hour by hour his lengthened day declined,
A sweeter radiance lingered o’er his mind.
Cold were the lips that spoke his early praise,
And hushed the voices of his morning days,
Yet the same accents dwelt on every tongue,
And love renewing kept him ever young.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
The Spider And The Fly.
The sun shines bright, the morning’s fair,
The gossamers float on the air,
The dew-gems twinkle in the glare,
The spider’s loom
Is closely plied, with artful care,
Even in my room.
See how she moves in zigzag line,
And draws along her silken twine,
Too soft for touch, for sight too fine,
And makes her polished drapery shine,
The edge indenting.
Her silken ware is gaily spread,
And now she weaves herself a bed,
Where, hiding all but just her head,
She watching lies
For moths or gnats, entangled spread,
Or buzzing flies.
You cunning pest! why, forward, dare
So near to lay your bloody snare!
But you to kingly courts repair
With fell design,
And spread with kindred courtiers there
Ah, silly fly! will you advance?
I see you in the sunbeam dance:
Attracted by the silken glance
In that dread loom;
Or blindly led, by fatal chance,
To meet your doom.
Ah! think not, ’tis the velvet flue
Of hare, or rabbit, tempts your view;
Or silken threads of dazzling hue,
To ease your wing,
The foaming savage, couched for you,
Is on the spring.
Entangled! freed!—and yet again
You touch! ’tis o’er—that plaintive strain,
That mournful buzz, that struggle vain,
Proclaim your doom:
Up to the murderous den you’re ta’en,
Your bloody tomb!
So thoughtless youths will trifling play
With dangers on their giddy way,
Or madly err in open day
Through passions fell,
And fall, though warned oft, a prey
To death and hell!
But hark! the fluttering leafy trees
Proclaim the gently swelling breeze,
Whilst through my window, by degrees,
Its breathings play:
The spider’s web, all tattered flees,
Like thought, away.
Thus worldlings lean on broken props,
And idly weave their cobweb-hopes,
And hang o’er hell by spider’s ropes,
Whilst sins enthral;
Affliction blows—their joy elopes—
And down they fall!