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Ant Poems

Table of Contents

  1. King Solomon and the Ants by John Greenleaf Whittier
  2. The Ambitious Ant by Anonymous
  3. The Ants by John Clare
  4. The Grasshoper and the Ant by Hannah Flagg Gould
  5. The Grasshoper and the Ant by Aesop
  6. The Ant and the Cricket by Unknown
  7. Ants by Ed Blair

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

– Proverbs 6:6
The Bible, ESV
  1. King Solomon and the Ants

    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    Out from Jerusalem
    The king rode with his great
    War chiefs and lords of state,
    And Sheba's queen with them.

    Proud in the Syrian sun,
    In gold and purple sheen,
    The dusky Ethiop queen
    Smiled on King Solomon.

    Wisest of men, he knew
    The languages of all
    The creatures great or small
    That trod the earth or flew.

    Across an ant-hill led
    The king's path, and he heard
    Its small folk, and their word
    He thus interpreted:

    "Here comes the king men greet
    As wise and good and just,
    To crush us in the dust
    Under his heedless feet."

    The great king bowed his head,
    And saw the wide surprise
    Of the Queen of Sheba's eyes
    As he told her what they said.

    "O king!" she whispered sweet,
    "Too happy fate have they
    Who perish in thy way
    Beneath thy gracious feet!

    "Thou of the God-lent crown,
    Shall these vile creatures dare
    Murmur against thee where
    The knees of kings kneel down?"

    "Nay," Solomon replied,
    "The wise and strong should seek
    The welfare of the weak;"
    And turned his horse aside.

    His train, with quick alarm,
    Curved with their leader round
    The ant-hill's peopled mound,
    And left it free from harm.

    The jeweled head bent low;
    "O king!" she said, "henceforth
    The secret of thy worth
    And wisdom well I know.

    "Happy must be the State
    Whose ruler heedeth more
    The murmurs of the poor
    Than flatteries of the great."

  2. The Ambitious Ant

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The ambitious ant would a-travelling go
    To see the pyramid's wonderful show.
    He crossed a brook and a field of rye,
    And came to the foot of a haystack high.
    "Ah! wonderful pyramid!" then cried he;
    "How glad I am that I crossed the sea!"

  3. The Ants

    by John Clare

    What wonder strikes the curious, while he views
    The black ant's city, by a rotten tree,
    Or woodland bank! In ignorance we muse:
    Pausing, annoyed,—we know not what we see,
    Such government and thought there seem to be;
    Some looking on, and urging some to toil,
    Dragging their loads of bent-stalks slavishly:
    And what's more wonderful, when big loads foil
    One ant or two to carry, quickly then
    A swarm flock round to help their fellow-men.
    Surely they speak a language whisperingly,
    Too fine for us to hear; and sure their ways
    Prove they have kings and laws, and that they be
    Deformed remnants of the Fairy-days.

  4. The Grasshoper and the Ant

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    'Ant, look at me!' a young Grasshopper said,
    As nimbly he sprang from his green, summer bed,
    'See how I'm going to skip over your head,
    And could o'er a thousand like you!
    Ant, by your motion alone, I should judge
    That Nature ordained you a slave and a drudge,
    For ever and ever to keep on the trudge,
    And always find something to do.

    'Oh! there is nothing like having our day,
    Taking our pleasure and ease while we may,
    Bathing ourselves in the bright, mellow ray
    That comes from the warm, golden sun!
    While I am up in the light and the air,
    You, a sad picture of labor and care!
    Still have some hard, heavy burden to bear,
    And work that you never get done.

    'I have an exercise healthful, and good,
    For timing the nerves and digesting the food—
    Graceful gymnastics for stirring the blood
    Without the gross purpose of use.
    Ant, let me tell you 't is not a la mode,
    To plod like a pilgrim and carry a load,
    Perverting the limbs that for grace were bestowed,
    By such a plebeian abuse.

    'While the whole world with provisions is filled,
    Who would keep toiling and toiling to build
    And lay in a store for himself, till he 's killed
    With work that another might do?
    Come! drop your budget and just give a spring.
    Jump on a grass-blade and balance and swing.
    Soon you'll be light as a gnat on the wing,
    Gay as a grasshopper, too!'

    Ant trudged along while the grasshopper sung,
    Minding her business and holding her tongue,
    Until she got home her own people among;
    But these were her thoughts on the road.
    'What will become of that poor, idle one
    When the light sports of the summer are done?
    And, where is the covert to which he may run
    To find a safe winter abode?

    'Oh! if I only could tell him how sweet
    Toil makes my rest and the morsel I eat,
    While hope gives a spur to my little black feet,
    He'd never pity my lot!
    He'd never ask me my burden to drop
    To join in his folly—to spring, and to hop;
    And thus make the ant and her labor to stop,
    When time, I am certain, would not.

    'When the cold frost all the herbage has nipped,
    When the bare branches with ice-drops are tipped,
    Where will the grasshopper then be, that skipped,
    So careless and lightly to-day?
    Frozen to-death! 'a sad picture' indeed,
    Of reckless indulgence and what must succeed,
    That all his gymnastics ca 'nt shelter or feed,
    Or quicken his pulse into play.

    'I must prepare for a winter to come.
    I shall be glad of a home and a crumb,
    When my frail form out of doors would be numb,
    And I in the snow-storm should die.
    Summer is lovely, but soon will be past.
    Summer has plenty not always to last.
    Summer's the time for the ant to make fast
    Her stores for a future supply!'

  5. The Grasshopper and the Ant

    by Aesop

    A grasshopper having sung
    The summer long,
    When the wintry wind blew
    Found her comforts few—
    No house from the snow and sleet
    To guard her
    Not a single bit to eat
    In her larder.
    Neither worm-chop nor fly-leg;
    The dainty dame must starve or beg.
    Hungry, she goes to her neighbor ant
    With her sad tale of want:
    “Pray lend me from your store,
    Till the winter is o’er:
    On my faith, I will pay
    Round interest, besides the loan.”

    The ant—bad lender, I must own—
    Doubting much of the pay day,
    Asks of the borrowing lady,
    “What did you do last summer?”

    “Night and day to every comer
    I sang, if you please.”

    “Sang!—do you say?
    Then finish out your play—
    Dance now at your ease.

    There’s a time for work and a time for play.

  6. The Ant and the Cricket

    by Unknown

    A silly young cricket, accustomed to sing
    Through the warm, sunny months of gay summer and spring,
    Began to complain, when he found that at home
    His cupboard was empty and winter was come.
    Not a crumb to be found
    On the snow-covered ground;
    Not a flower could he see,
    Not a leaf on a tree:
    "Oh, what will become," says the cricket, "of me?"

    At last by starvation and famine made bold,
    All dripping with wet and all trembling with cold,
    Away he set off to a miserly ant,
    To see if, to keep him alive, he would grant
    Him shelter from rain:
    A mouthful of grain
    He wished only to borrow,
    He'd repay it to-morrow:
    If not, he must die of starvation and sorrow.

    Says the ant to the cricket, "I'm your servant and friend,
    But we ants never borrow, we ants never lend;
    But tell me, dear sir, did you lay nothing by
    When the weather was warm?" Said the cricket, "Not I.
    My heart was so light
    That I sang day and night,
    For all nature looked gay."
    "You sang, sir, you say?
    Go then," said the ant, "and dance winter away."
    Thus ending, he hastily lifted the wicket
    And out of the door turned the poor little cricket.
    Though this is a fable, the moral is good:
    If you live without work, you must live without food.

  7. Ants

    by Ed Blair

    We dare not touch the sugar,
    And we must not touch the pie,
    We're afraid to eat the syrup,
    Can you guess the reason why?
    The bread must be inspected,
    And we overlook 'em then;
    It just seems we've got to eat 'em.
    Yes the ants are back again.

    They are crawlin' in the cellar,
    Everywhere on ev'ry shelf;
    They are trackin' through the butter,
    Every feller fer herself,
    In the fruit upon the table,
    In the stuff down on the floor;
    Yes the busy ants are movin',
    Never saw the like before.

    We have killed 'em by the thousands
    Yet a million more came on,
    Couldn't tell fer all our trouble
    That a single one was gone.
    Scalded, peppered, mashed and burned 'em,
    Yet they seem to have the call;
    And I guess we're bound to eat 'em,
    Bound to eat 'em after all.

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