Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Busy Bee

How doth the little busy Bee
     Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
     From every opening Flower!

How skilfully she builds her Cell!
     How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
     With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labour or of Skill
     I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
     For idle Hands to do. 

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
     Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
     Some good Account at last. [1715] 

"How doth the Little Bee" is one of  Isaac Watts's rather tiresome, preachy poems that well bred Victorian children were expected to memorize. Lewis Carroll parodies it in Alice in Wonderland

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!
 The crocodile is not my picture. It's from a site about Australia.
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indiwriter said...

I love both the poems - Carroll being my favorite - and nature too. Thanks for sharing this.

Friko said...

I am so very glad that you followed number one with number two. I was thinking how best and most diplomatically to word my comment and now I see that you have done it for me.

I don't do saccharine very well either.

Barbara Rogers said...

Apparently the crocodile picture wasn't acceptable, didn't get posted on my view. So glad to know where the crocodile poem actually originated, since I was not required to do the bee thing. I was just a little tea pot, short and stout...tee hee, and turned into someone who makes them!

Victoria said...

Great photos! My favorite photo is the first one of the bee, but my favorite poem is by Carroll. For some strange reason, I can't see the photo of the crocodile. Sigh...probably my computer again. Dratted thing.

NCmountainwoman said...

Memorizing poems in grade school gave me my life-long love of poetry. One of the things I like best about my Kindle is that I can have access to my favorite poets and read a few while I'm waiting wherever.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Whew, for a minute there I thought that guy was on your farm. Then I said "couldn't be." Lovely poetry today.

Vicki Lane said...

Don't know why the croc isn't showing up for some of you. For some reason the lower half of the post is taking a very long time to load.

I'm so glad you were prepared to be diplomatic, Friko -- I suspect some clicked away in disgust before making it past the busy bee.

Ah, the little teapot -- I remember that one!

NCMW -- I too learned numbers of poems, many of which are still floating around in my brain, preventing me from remembering more useful things. When I took the picture of the bee, "How doth " etc. leaped to the forefront.

jennyfreckles said...

Strange how things learned in childhood are etched so deep in our minds. I am glad we were not subject to quite that degree of exhortation to be 'good'!