Tuesday, November 13, 2007

PTSW : Arachniphobia II

Jane Taylor (1783 - 1824) and her sister Ann are famous as the authors of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". I wish I had known of this other little bit of her verse during the Great Arachniphobia Incident. One wishes Jane had known how to distinquish the various brands of arthropods. Spiders are arachnids, not insects.

The Spider

"Oh, look at that great ugly spider!" said Ann;

And screaming, she brush'd it away with her fan;

"'Tis a frightful black creature as ever can be,

I wish that it would not come crawling on me. "

"Indeed," said her mother, "I'll venture to say,
The poor thing will try to keep out of your way;

For after the fright, and the fall, and the pain,
It has much more occasion than you to complain.

"But why should you dread the poor insect, my dear?

If it hurt you, there'd be some excuse for your fear;

But its little black legs, as it hurried away,

Did but tickle your arm, as they went, I dare say.

"For them to fear us we must grant to be just,

Who in less than a moment can tread them to dust;

But certainly we have no cause for alarm;

For, were they to try, they could do us no harm.

"Now look! it has got to its home; do you see
What a delicate web it has spun in the tree?

Why here, my dear Ann, is a lesson for you:

Come learn from this spider what patience can do!

"And when at your business you're tempted to play,

Recollect what you see in this insect to-day,
Or else, to your shame, it may seem to be true,
That a poor little spider is wiser than you. "
- by Jane Taylor

Here's a bonus for you this week: the original poem by Jane and Ann Taylor, the first verse of which is known to virtually every speaker of English, I suppose.

The Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky!

When the blazing sun is gone,

When he nothing shines upon,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark,

Thanks you for your tiny spark,

He could not see which way to go,

If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,

And often through my curtains peep,

For you never shut your eye,

Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,

Lights the traveller in the dark,—

Though I know not what you are,

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

by Jane and Ann Taylor


The series of posts, A Poem to Start the Week, is my little anthology of poetry, many of which I have used with my students in elementary schools during 27 years of teaching.

Previous Poems to Start the Week:
The Spider • The Eagle

Some PeopleCustard the Dragon
Statistics 101The Spider and the Fly
Back to SchoolThe Inchcape RockOgden NashTrash
Hearts, Like DoorsCasey at the BatAlways a RoseHome at Last
Bag of ToolsCarpe DiemPoems About PoetryMan's Best Friend
Spelling is Tough Stough!Blue MarbleTacks, Splinters, Apples and Stars
Oh, Captain, My Captain!MetaphorIntroducion to Poetry
Loveliest of TreesFlax-Golden TalesThe Dinosaurs Are Not All Dead
Owl PelletsMummy Slept LateJust My Size
The Kindest Things I KnowMiles to GoLove that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:

The Lion's Paw top kid's OOP book!
Aslan is Dead!
Multiplying People, Rice, and Readers
A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.
And then there's Alien Invasion.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at Bookwink.com.
The PBS series Favorite Poem Project

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