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The Drop of Honey

by Albert Moore Longley

Sweet flowers, by light-winged zephyrs softly fanned,
By busy insects, humming o er you, scanned;
In forest glade, and on the water strand,
In loveliness ye bloom.
Alas! ye're faded now; for Autumn's breath
Hath swept the glade, the strand, and scattered death
On every hand, and with its frosty teeth
Hath nipped you for the tomb.

But flowers, your sweets ye've left behind, to cheer
The heart and feast the taste we'd shed a tear;
For like the good, whose good works still live here,
Ye fade—and droop—and die:
And though ye're gone, there yet remains, to lure
The most fastidious, a liquid pure,
Which bursts in plenty forth, so sweet, from your
Ambrosial nectary.

From out the fractured cell, the honey-drop
Was gushing clear, and I essayed to stop
Its downward course; so with a hasty scoop
I caught the limpid store:
But, O within that drop there lurked, unseen,
A sting acute, and poisonous; which e'en
Did pierce my mouth; the smart how keen!
My soul cried out—no more!

Still to my smarting palate it would cling,
As 'twere exulting in the pain 't could bring;
Till gladly I drew forth the ruthless thing,
And ever since that day,
Careful am I, when I do honey eat,
To know if it has not a sting, to cheat
Me of the joy that s oft so passing sweet,
And dash the cup away.


Examine well the honey ere you taste;
The sweetest pleasures here, if sought in haste,
May give you pain—nay, they will often bring,
Unseen by careless eyes, a deadly sting.

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