Charles Lamb

(10 February 1775 – 27 December 1834 / London)

Wasps In A Garden - Poem by Charles Lamb

The wall-trees are laden with fruit;
The grape, and the plum, and the pear,
The peach and the nectarine, to suit
Every taste, in abundance are there.


Yet all are not welcome to taste
These kind bounties of Nature; for one
From her open-spread table must haste
To make room for a more favoured son:


As that wasp will soon sadly perceive,
Who has feasted awhile on a plum;
And, his thirst thinking now to relieve,
For a sweet liquid draught he is come.


He peeps in the narrow-mouthed glass,
Which depends from a branch of the tree;
He ventures to creep down,-alas!
To be drowned in that delicate sea.


'Ah say,' my dear friend, 'is it right
These glass bottles are hung upon trees?
Midst a scene of inviting delight
Should we find such mementos as these?'


'From such sights,' said my friend, 'we may draw
A lesson, for look at that bee;
Compared with the wasp which you saw,
He will teach us what we ought to be.


'He in safety industriously plies
His sweet honest work all the day,
Then home with his earnings he flies;
Nor in thieving his time wastes away.'-


'O hush, nor with fables deceive,'
I replied, 'which, though pretty, can ne'er
Make me cease for that insect to grieve,
Who in agony still does appear.


'If a simile ever you need,
You are welcome to make a wasp do;
But you ne'er should mix fiction indeed
With things that are serious and true.'


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010



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