"Will you walk into my parlour?" said a spider to a fly;
" 'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to shew when you are there."
"Oh no, no!" said the little fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."
"I'm sure you must be weary, with soaring up so high,
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the spider to the fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in."
"Oh no, no!" said the little fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"
Said the cunning spider to the fly, "Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
I have, within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome—will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no!" said the little fly, "kind mam, that cannot be,"
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see."
"Sweet creature!" said the spider, "you're witty and you're wise.
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle mam," she said, "for what you're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."
The spider turned her round about, and went into her den,
For well she knew, the silly fly would soon come back again:
So she wove a subtle web, in a little corner, sly,
And set her table ready, to dine upon the fly.
Then she went out to her door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple---there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead."
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing her wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue:—
Thinking only of her crested head, poor foolish thing!—At last
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
SHe dragged her up her winding stair, into her dismal den,
Within her little parlour—but she ne'er came out again!
—And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.
— Mary Howitt (1829)
Now tell me, shall you walk into my parlor den?