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John Byrne Leicester Warren (1835-1895)

The Study of a Spider


              1From holy flower to holy flower
              2Thou weavest thine unhallowed bower.
              3The harmless dewdrops, beaded thin,
              4Ripple along thy ropes of sin.
              5Thy house a grave, a gulf thy throne
              6Affright the fairies every one.
              7Thy winding sheets are grey and fell,
              8Imprisoning with nets of hell
              9The lovely births that winnow by,
            10Winged sisters of the rainbow sky:
            11Elf-darlings, fluffy, bee-bright things,
            12And owl-white moths with mealy wings,
            13And tiny flies, as gauzy thin
            14As e'er were shut electrum in.
            15These are thy death spoils, insect ghoul,
            16With their dear life thy fangs are foul.
            17Thou felon anchorite of pain
            18Who sittest in a world of slain.
            19Hermit, who tunest song unsweet
            20To heaving wing and writhing feet.
            21A glutton of creation's sighs,
            22Miser of many miseries.
            23Toper, whose lonely feasting chair
            24Sways in inhospitable air.
            25The board is bare, the bloated host
            26Drinks to himself toast after toast.
            27His lip requires no goblet brink,
            28But like a weasel must he drink.
            29The vintage is as old as time
            30And bright as sunset, pressed and prime.

            31Ah, venom mouth and shaggy thighs
            32And paunch grown sleek with sacrifice,
            33Thy dolphin back and shoulders round
            34Coarse-hairy, as some goblin hound
            35Whom a hag rides to sabbath on,
            36While shuddering stars in fear grow wan.
            37Thou palace priest of treachery,
            38Thou type of selfish lechery,
            39I break the toils around thy head
            40And from their gibbets take thy dead.

Notes

14] electrum: amber.

23] Toper: hard drinker.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley (London: Chapman and Hall, 1903): 282-83. PR 4540 A17 1903 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/10/4

Form: couplets


Other poems by John Byrne Leicester Warren