Aurelia and the Spider by Catharine Bayley

The muslin torn, from tears of grief,
In vain Aurelia sought relief;
In sighs and plaints she pass’d the day,
The tatter’d frock neglected lay.
While busied at the weavingtrade,
A spider heard the sighing maid,
And kindly stopping, silence broke—
Thus wisely once a spider spoke:

‘Turn, little girl! behold in me,
‘A stimulus to industry.
‘Compare your poignant pangs with mine,
‘Then, tell me, who may most repine?
‘With cause repine; for adverse fate
‘Confirms me still the child of hate.
‘This morning, ere you left your room,
‘The chamber-maid’s remorseless broom,
‘In one sad moment that destroy ‘d
‘Which, erst, some hundred hours employed!
‘The shock was great; but as my life
‘I sav’d in the relentless strife,
‘I knew lamenting was in vain,
‘And laboured at my task again.
‘This little mansion to restore,
‘I work’d till I could work no more.
‘Chance left a thread; I thither ran,
‘For work’s half done when well began.
‘The filmy cord for me was strong,
‘With eager stride I pac’d along,
‘And, lo! the beauteous web I’ve made,
‘May bid art blush, tho wisdom aid.
‘Thus, if each tear Aurelia’s shed
‘Had been a needle-full of thread;
‘If every sigh of sad despair
‘Had been a stitch, with proper care
‘Clos’d would have been that luckless rent,
‘Nor had the day been thus misspent’.

From: Bayley, Catharine, Vacation evenings, or, Conversations between a governess and her pupils : with the addition of A visitor from Eton : being a series of original poems, tales, and essays : interspersed with illustrative quotations from various authors, ancient and modern, tending to incite emulations, and inculcate moral truth. In three volumes. Volume II, 1809, Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme: London, pp. 45-46.

Date: 1809

By: Catharine Bayley (fl. 1790-1816)

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