Spiders & Flies

There are other things to life than politics. Mary Howitt wrote “The Spider and the Fly” that could conveniently serve as a “Voters’Guide” even today. Mary mixed with many important literary figures including Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and William and Dorothy Wordsworth. In London Tennyson was her neighbour. She was clearly part of those days’ celebrity set. The next time you read a glossy pre-election manifesto, bear Mary’s poem in mind and you might be able to resist false promises and downright lies. Now to the poem:

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, (= give me your vote) / ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; (= what I choose to reveal to you) / The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
(= your vote, ninny!) / And I’ve many a curious thing to show when you are there.”
(= broken promises.)

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, (= voter) “to ask me is in vain, / For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.” (= until the next election, which you will rig by changing constituency boundaries anyway.)

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high; (= believing the lies of the other party) / Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly. (= you can trust me, even in bed, this well used condom will protect you.) / “There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin, (= flimsy promises of better days to come) / And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!” (= fuck you over; excuse my French.) “Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said, (= reported in The Star) / They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!” (= Leaders for Life.)

A-M u s i n g s Musings are thoughts, the thoughtful kind. For the purpose of these articles, a-musings are thoughts that might amuse, entertain and even enlighten.

A-M u s i n g s ~ Musings are thoughts, the thoughtful kind. For the purpose of these articles, a-musings are thoughts that might amuse, entertain and even enlighten.

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend what can I do, (= I’ll promise anything before the election) / To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you? (= MY love for MY people which always comes second to MY love for MYSELF) / I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice; (= bribes a-plenty) I’m sure you’re very welcome – will you please to take a slice?” (= vote for me and you’ll get a good slice of any contract you desire.)

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, ‘kind Sir, that cannot be, (= what about the Integrity Commission?) / I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!” (= I don’t want anything to do with your shady affairs, insider dealings and illegal decisions.)

“Sweet creature!” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise, (= flattery is the direct route to the voter’s voice) / How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes! (= can’t afford new clothes and your eyes are glazed over from deprivation) / I’ve a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf, (= where I keep all my broken promises) / If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.” (= I can make you believe anything I want you to believe.)

“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say, (= thanks for the Bullshit) / And bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.” (= “Bug Off!” as we insects say.)

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den, (= Yes-man Cabinet) / For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again; (= you can fool some of the people all of the time) / So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly, (= and all of the people some of the time) / And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly. (= your vote is fodder to the politician.)

Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing, (= the sweet sounds of dulcet deception) / “Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing; (= flattery gets you everywhere) / Your robes are green and purple (= they should be RED) – there’s a crest upon your head; (= trust me: you never had it so good) / Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!’ (= a slip up: a lapse, a moment of truth.)

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly, (= constituent) / Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by; (= tempted by false hopes) / With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, (= a fly to the FLAME) / Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue (= vain hopes of better times ahead) / Thinking only of her crested head – poor foolish thing! (= job salvation) / At last, Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast. (= once in power, all bets are off!) / He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den, (= the misery of the past mandate period) / Within his little parlour – but she ne’er came out again! (= not for 5 years anyway.)

And now dear little children, who may this story read, (= the electorate) / To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed: (= ignore false promises) / Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye, (= reject failed Leaders for Life) / And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly. (= vote the Buggers out!)

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