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On a Honey Bee

by
 Thou born to sip the lake or spring,
Or quaff the waters of the stream,
Why hither come on vagrant wing?--
Does Bacchus tempting seem--
Did he, for you, the glass prepare?--
Will I admit you to a share?

Did storms harrass or foes perplex,
Did wasps or king-birds bring dismay--
Did wars distress, or labours vex,
Or did you miss your way?--
A better seat you could not take
Than on the margin of this lake.
Welcome!--I hail you to my glass: All welcome, here, you find; Here let the cloud of trouble pass, Here, be all care resigned.
-- This fluid never fails to please, And drown the griefs of men or bees.
What forced you here, we cannot know, And you will scarcely tell-- But cheery we would have you go And bid a glad farewell: On lighter wings we bid you fly, Your dart will now all foes defy.
Yet take not oh! too deep a drink, And in the ocean die; Here bigger bees than you might sink, Even bees full six feet high.
Like Pharaoh, then, you would be said To perish in a sea of red.
Do as you please, your will is mine; Enjoy it without fear-- And your grave will be this glass of wine, Your epitaph--a tear-- Go, take your seat in Charon's boat, We'll tell the hive, you died afloat.

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