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Story Poetry
Table of contents

The Spider & the Fly

Seldom or Never

We Must all Scratch

Qualities of Voice


The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

Will you walk into my parlor?"
Said the Spider to the Fly;
'Tis the prettiest little parlor
That ever you did spy.

"The way into my parlor
Is up a winding stair,
And I have 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 have a little looking glass
upon my parlor 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 some 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 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 parlor
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.

Mary Howitt (1799-1888) was an English author and translator
that was the first to put Hans Christian Anderson's tales into English.


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Seldom or Never
Christina G. Rossetti

Seldom "can't,"
Seldom "don't"'
Never "shan't,"
Never "won't."


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We Must all Scratch

Said the first little chicken,
   With a queer little squirm,
"I wish I could find
   A fat little worm."

Said the next little chicken,
   With an odd little shrug,
"I wish I could I could find
   A fat little bug."

Said the third little chicken,
   With a sharp little squeal,
"I wish I could find
   Some nice yellow meal."

Said the fourth little chicken,
   With a small sigh of grief,
"I wish I could find
    A green little leaf."

Said the fifth little chicken,
   With a faint little moan,
"I wish I could find
   A wee gravel stone."

"Now see here," said the mother,
   From the green garden patch,
"If you want any breakfast,
   Just come here and scratch!"


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Qualities of Voice

It is not so much what you say,
   As the manner in which you say it;
It is not so much the language you use,
   As the tones in which you convey it.

"Come here !" I sharply said,
   And the baby cowered and wept;
"Come here !" I cooed, and he looked and smiled,
And straight to my lap he crept.

The word may be mild and fair,
   And the tones may pierce like a dart;
The words may be soft as the summer air,
   And the tones may break the heart.

For words but come from the mind,
   And grow by study and art;
But the tones leap forth from the inner self,
    And reveal the state of the heart.


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