William Cowper

(26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800 / Hertfordshire)

The Pine-Apple And The Bee - Poem by William Cowper

The pine-apples, in triple row,
Were basking hot, and all in blow;
A bee of most discerning taste
Perceived the fragrance as he pass’d,
On eager wing the spoiler came,
And search’d for crannies in the frame,
Urged his attempt on every side,
To every pane his trunk applied;
But still in vain, the frame was tight,
And only pervious to the light;
Thus having wasted half the day,
He trimm’d his flight another way.
Methinks, I said, in thee I find
The sin and madness of mankind.
To joys forbidden man aspires,
Consumes his soul with vain desires;
Folly the spring of his pursuit,
And disappointment all the fruit.
While Cynthio ogles as he passes,
The nymph between two chariot glasses,
She is the pine-apple, and he
The silly unsuccessful bee.
The maid who views with pensive air
The show-glass fraught with glittering ware,
Sees watches, bracelets, rings, and lockets,
But sighs at thought of empty pockets;
Like thine, her appetite is keen,
But ah, the cruel glass between!
Our dear delights are often such,
Exposed to view but not to touch;
The sight our foolish heart inflames,
We long for pine-apples in frames;
With hopeless wish one looks and lingers;
One breaks the glass, and cuts his fingers;
But they whom truth and wisdom lead
Can gather honey from a weed.


Comments about The Pine-Apple And The Bee by William Cowper

  • Susan Williams (11/29/2015 2:05:00 PM)


    I really like how simply and gracefully he couches his homily in verse that doesn't hammer with threats of hell to get his point across. I have vague memories of William Cowper as a fire and brimstone preacher- I must have faulty wiring in my memory as this is gentle persuasion (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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