Treasure Island

Mary Botham Howitt

(1799-1888 / England)

The Spider And The Fly


Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.'
Oh no, no,' said the little Fly, 'to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again.'

'I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?' said the Spider to the Fly.
'There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!'
Oh no, no,' said the little Fly, 'for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!'

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, ' Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please to take a slice?'
'Oh no, no,' said the little Fly, 'kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!'

'Sweet creature!' said the Spider, 'you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.'
'I thank you, gentle sir,' she said, 'for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day.'

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
'Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple - there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!'

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue -
Thinking only of her crested head - poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour - but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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Comments about this poem (The Spider And The Fly by Mary Botham Howitt )

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  • Brian Jani (7/14/2014 3:49:00 AM)

    well written poem about a classic rivalry of the spider and the fly.i enjoyed the read (Report) Reply

  • Kimberley Phillip (12/24/2012 10:52:00 PM)

    I've always loved this particular piece of poetry ever since I was a young girl (10 years old) Now that I'm an adult I've come to the conclusion that it's about seduction (Report) Reply

  • Ruthie Bode (1/5/2012 3:22:00 AM)

    I read to my children every night before bed. When my daughter was four, and my son was one, I was reading to them from a book of poetry and read this poem to them. When I came to the lines that begin Oh no, no I emphasized the phrase, and my one-year old son giggled uncontrollably. We were at their grandparents lake cottage, so the whole family got to enjoy his reaction, which had to be repeated by reading the poem over and over, so Grandpa could tape it. Which proves to me the truth of the saying: You are never too young or too old to be read to. (Report) Reply

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