The Proud Lady and The Caterpillar

A Lady shakes a Caterpillar from her gown while insulting it. The Caterpillar responds that soon it will be beautiful; she is beautiful only when dressed.

Be careful how you insult anyone.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

“This Caterpillar, then, devours
The trees, the fruit, the shrubs, the flowers.
Begone! nor still infest the grove
Sacred to pleasure and to love.”
Thus Celia said, with angry frown,
And shook the reptile from her gown,
Who calmly said, “Insulting dame,
Thy glorious pride from insects came.
I’m in my dishabille, ’tis true,
But soon shall take a nobler hue;
When I become a Butterfly,
My coloured plumes with thee shall vie:
Then cause us insects to perplex
The fearful emblems of your sex.
You’re Caterpillars when you rise,
Only when dressed you’re Butterflies.”


[Note: The Northcote fable is the same poem as in the JBR Collection above. Only the illustrations associated with the fable in the Northcote book are displayed here.]

JN Fable 010

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: R. Branston(1828)

JN Fable 010a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)