The Man and the Flea
Whether on earth, in air, or main,
Sure ev'ry thing alive is vain!
Does not the hawk all fowls survey,
As destin'd only for his prey?
And do not tyrants, prouder things,
Think men were born for slaves to kings?
When the crab views the pearly strands,
Or Tagus bright with golden sands,
Or crawls beside the coral grove,
And hears the ocean roll above,
'Nature is too profuse,' says he,
'Who gave all these to pleasure me!'
When bord'ring pinks and roses bloom,
And ev'ry garden breathes perfume,
When peaches glow with sunny dyes
Like Laura's cheek when blushes rise,
When with huge figs the branches bend,
When clusters from the vine depend,
The snail looks round on flow'r and tree,
And cries, 'All these were made for me!'
'What dignity's in human nature,'
Says Man, the most conceited creature,
As from a cliff he cast his eye,
And view'd the sea and arched sky!
The sun was sunk beneath the main,
The moon and all the starry train
Hung the vast vault of heav'n. The Man
His contemplation thus began:
'When I behold this glorious show,
And the side watry world below,
The scaly people of the main,
The beasts that range the wood or plain,
The wing'd inhabitants of air,
The day, the night, the various year,
And know all these by heav'n design'd
As gifts to pleasure human kind,
I cannot raise my worth too high;
Of what vast consequence am I!'
'Not of th'importance you suppose,'
Replies a Flea upon his nose;
'Be humble; learn thyself to scan;
Know, pride was never made for Man.
'Tis vanity that swells thy mind.
What, heav'n and earth for thee design'd!
For thee! made only for our need,
That more important Fleas might feed.'
John Gay's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (The Man and the Flea by John Gay )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Pablo Neruda
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- O Captain! My Captain!, Walt Whitman
Poem of the Day
- गरसे लिमारिक, Ronjoy Brahma
- The debt to the world., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- Humble, H.M. Gautsch
- Days Are Gone, H.M. Gautsch
- Rise Above, H.M. Gautsch
- The final salutes, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- Why are we here?, Sarah Ferguson
- Chocolate, Akhtar Jawad
- Lost child in my own home, Hudhaifah Siyad
- scale, Nisha K. Janine