A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

        —William Blake (1757—1827)

Upon a Spider Catching a Fly

Thou sorrow, venom Elfe:
     Is this thy play,
To spin a web out of thyselfe
     To Catch a Fly?
          For Why?

I saw a pettish wasp
     Fall foule therein:
Whom yet thy Whorle pins did not clasp
     Lest he should fling
          His sting.

But as affraid, remote
     Didst stand hereat,
And with thy little fingers stroke
     And gently tap
          His back.

Thus gently him didst treate
     Lest he should pet,
And in a froppish, aspish heate
     Should greatly fret
          Thy net.

Whereas the silly Fly,
     Caught by its leg
Thou by the throate tookst hastily
     And ‘hinde the head
          Bite Dead.

This goes to pot, that not
     Nature doth call.
Strive not above what strength hath got,
     Lest in the brawle
          Thou fall.

This Frey seems thus to us.
     Hells Spider gets
His intrails spun to whip Cords thus
     And wove to nets
          And sets.

To tangle Adams race
     In’s stratigems
To their Destructions, spoil’d, made base
     By venom things,
          Damn’d Sins.

But mighty, Gracious Lord
Thy Grace to breake the Cord, afford
     Us Glorys Gate
          And State.

We’l Nightingaile sing like
     When pearcht on high
In Glories Cage, thy glory, bright,
     And thankfully,
          For joy.

       —Edward Taylor (1642—1729)

The Ghosts’ Moonshine


       It is midnight, my wedded;
          Let us lie under
       The tempest bright, my dreaded,
          In the warm thunder:
(Tremble and weep not! What can you fear?)
          My heart’s best wish is thine,—
       That thou wert white, and bedded
          On the softest bier,
             In the ghost’s moonshine.
          Is that the wind? No, no;
          Only two devils, that blow
          Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
             In the ghosts’ moonshine.


       Who is there, she said afraid, yet
          Stirring and awaking
       The poor old dead? His spade, it
          Is only making,—
(Tremble and weep not! What do you crave?)
          Where yonder grasses twine,
       A pleasant bed, my maid, that
          Children call a grave,
             In the cold moonshine.
          Is that the wind? No, no;
          Only two devils, that blow
          Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
             In the ghosts’ moonshine.


       What doest thou strain above her
          Lovely throat’s whiteness?
       A silken chain, to cover
          Her bosom’s brightness?
(Tremble and weep not: what do you fear?)
          —My blood is spilt like wine,
       Thou hast strangled and slain me, lover,
          Thou hast stabbed me, dear,
             In the ghosts’ moonshine.
          Is that the wind? No, no;
          Only her goblin doth blow
          Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
             In its own moonshine.

        —Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803—1849)