Thou gaudy insect! fickle wanderer!
Thou art a living flower on the wing;
A wild voluptuary, and reveller,
A gay deceiver, coy, and plundering,
Thou lov'st to be the tenant of a bower,
But just to kiss the virgin blossom's there,
Then with capricious humour onward scour,
To win the wild flowers' hearts, and nothing care.
Thou child of sun and shower; surpassing fair!
The texture of thy wings--how elegant!
None of the insect beauties can compare
With thy enchanting form and ornament.
Queen of the vagrant tribes--thou gorgeous fly!
Cease--cease awhile thy restless, wav'ring flight,
That I may closer view thy radiant dye,
And on thy matchless glories feast my sight.
What crystal orbs bestud thy little head!
Twin stars of wondrous light and magnitude!
Thy brilliant vesture is a gold brocade,
Richer than Solomon's, when Sheba stood,
And with dismay beheld his kingly pride,
Seeking, with fainting heart, and downcast eyes,
Her vaunted specimens of wealth to hide,
As all unmeet to offer one so wise.
Where is thy home? for I for ever see,
When sunshine gilds the meadows and parterre,
Thy busy figure flit from tree to tree,
Holding a secret gossip here and there;
What is thy banquet? where thy treasure stored?
Does no cell house thee when thy labour's done?
Thou canst not always feast? thou hast a hoard?
Where is thy scrip, thou pilgrim of the sun?
Dost know, that while thou sipp'st thy cup of dew,
Thou shar'st the fate of all of living breath?
Thou lead'st a life of pleasure, it is true,
But thou must yield thee to the scythe of death;
And he, invisible, above thee flies,
Watching thy gambols full of grace and fun;
And when thy soaring wings all careless rise,
He'll seize his prey, and thus thy thread be spun.
Type of the human soul--I'll style thee so--
Fresh from the tomb, all happy, bright and free,
Thou issuest, to taste the joys below;
A creature, full of life and liberty.
Such garments fold about thy tiny form,
As angels may display when newly dressed,
Which, though the drap'ry of a humble worm,
Are the gay liv'ry of a being blessed.