Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
485. Arachne
 
By Rose Terry Cooke
 
 
I WATCH her in the corner there,
As, restless, bold, and unafraid,
She slips and floats along the air
Till all her subtile house is made.
 
Her home, her bed, her daily food,        5
All from that hidden store she draws;
She fashion it and knows it good,
By instinct’s strong and sacred laws.
 
No tenuous threads to weave her nest,
She seeks and gathers there or here;        10
But spins it from her faithful breast,
Renewing still, till leaves are sere.
 
Then, worn with toil, and tired of life,
In vain her shining traps are set.
Her frost hath hushed the insect strife        15
And gilded flies her charm forget.
 
But swinging in the snares she spun,
She sways to every wintry wind:
Her joy, her toil, her errand done,
Her corse the sport of storms unkind.        20
 
Poor sister of the spinster clan!
I too from out my store within
My daily life and living plan,
My home, my rest, my pleasure spin.
 
I know thy heart when heartless hands        25
Sweep all that hard-earned web away:
Destroy its pearled and glittering bands,
And leave thee homeless by the way.
 
I know thy peace when all is done.
Each anchored thread, each tiny knot,        30
Soft shining in the autumn sun;
A sheltered, silent, tranquil lot.
 
I know what thou hast never known,—
Sad presage to a soul allowed,—
That not for life I spin, alone,        35
But day by day I spin my shroud.
 

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