The fly’s revenge


“So” -said a fly, as he paused and thought

how he had just been brushed about,

“they think, no doubt, I am next to nought 

put into life but to be put out!”


“Just as if, when our Maker planned

his mighty scheme, he had quite forgot

to grant the work of his skillful hand,

the peaceful fly, an biding spot!”


“they grudge me even a breath of air,

a speck of earth and a ray of sun!

This is more than a fly can bear;

now I’ll pay them for what they’ve done!”


First he lit on the idle thumb

of a poet; and «now for your thoughts” -said he,

“wherever they soar, I”ll make them come

down, from their towering flight, to me.”

He went and tickled the nasal tip

of a scholar, and over his brain let slip

a chain of gems, that had just been strung.


Off to a crowded church he flew,

and over the faces boldly stepped;

pointing out to the pastor’s view,

how many sheep in the pasture slept;

he buzzed about a lady’s ear,

just as a youth, with piteous sigh,

popped the question she would not hear,

and only answered, “a saucy fly!”


He washed his feet in the worthless tear

a belle at the theatre chanced to weep;

“rouge in the bath” -he cried, “my dear,

your cheek has a blush that is not skin deep!”


On the astronomer’s pointed glass

he leisurely stood and stretched his wing;

for here, he knew, he was sure to pass

for quite a great and important thing.


“Now is the time -said he- my man,

to measure the fly from head to heel!

Number the miles, and, if you can,

name the planets that I conceal”

“What do you call the twinkling star

over the spot that you see me tread,

and the beatiful cluster of lights afar,

ranged in the heavens above my head?”


“Ah! It is station that swell us all,

at once, to a size that were else unknown!

And now, if ever I hear you call

my race and order beneath your own,

I’ll tell the world of this comic scene

and how will they laugh to hear that I,

small as you think of me, can stand between

you and your views of the spacious sky!”

Hannah Flagg Gould.  EEUU (1789-1865)

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