Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
The Study of a Spider
By Lord de Tabley (John Byrne Leicester Warren) (1835–1895)
 
FROM holy flower to holy flower
Thou weavest thine unhallowed bower
The harmless dewdrops, beaded thin,
Ripple along thy ropes of sin.
Thy house a grave, a gulf thy throne        5
Affright the fairies every one.
Thy winding-sheets are grey and fell,
Imprisoning with nets of hell
The lovely births that winnow by,
Winged sisters of the rainbow sky:        10
Elf-darlings, fluffy, bee-bright things,
And owl-white moths with mealy wings,
And tiny flies, as gauzy thin
As e’er were shut electrum in.
These are thy death spoils, insect ghoul,        15
With their dear life thy fangs are foul.
Thou felon anchorite of pain
Who sittest in a world of slain;
Hermit, who tunest song unsweet
To heaving wind and writhing feet;        20
A glutton of creation’s sighs,
Miser of many miseries;
Toper, whose lonely feasting chair
Sways in inhospitable air.
The board is bare, the bloated host        25
Drinks to himself toast after toast.
His lip requires no goblet brink,
But like a weasel must he drink.
The vintage is as old as time
And bright as sunset, pressed and prime.        30
Ah, venom mouth and shaggy thighs
And paunch grown sleek with sacrifice,
Thy dolphin back and shoulders round
Coarse-hairy, as some goblin hound
Whom a hag rides to sabbath on,        35
While shuddering stars in fear grow wan.
Thou palace priest of treachery,
Thou type of selfish lechery,
I break the toils around thy head
And from their gibbets take thy dead.        40
 
 
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