Wasps and flies are in a trap. Wasps fuss about and die. The flies climb on their backs, dry and then fly out.
A SOUTHERN wall expos’d to view
Fine apricots of golden hue,
Watch’d daily by the owner’s care.
And well he knew the number there.
The wall with broken glass he strew’d,
If thieves should come, to let their blood.
But thieves there were, who still would pass,
In spite of spikes and broken glass;
For wasps and flies, a num’rous throng,
Consumed the produce all day long.
In vain by hand he sought to kill
These thieves, too many for him still;
Till vex’d and angry at the pelf,
And wishing for the fruit himself,
A plan, at last, he did invent,
For bringing them to punishment.
“I’ll give you all your fill,” said he:
Then took of half-pint bottles three,
And pour’d in each, with friendly haste,
Some sugar’d beer, to suit their taste.
Scarce were the sweeten’d lures suspended,
Ere swarms of thirsty wasps attended,
And flies arrived from far and near,
To dip each his proboscis here;
At first content, as it should seem,
To sip the juice about the brim,
Till tempted further by the smell,
Deluded hundreds hourly fell.
In vain the flies plied hard their wings:
In vain the angry wasps their stings:
Vainly they row’d the bottle round,
No solid footing could be found;
The treach’rous phial’s slipp’ry side
With unavailing toil they tried,
Till wasps and flies half filled the glass,
And form’d almost a solid mass,
On which some stood, at last, to try
Their legs and wings to rectify.
But, see now, what a difference lies
‘Twixt angry wasps and patient flies.
The wasps with many a bold essay,
With fury try to force a way;
With hasty steps one inch attain,
Then falling back are drench’d again;
Till faint, exhausted, and distrest,
At last, they perish with the rest.
Meanwhile the flies, tho’ quite aware
How great their present dangers are,
Convinced that hurry does belate us,
Stay to adjust their apparatus,
Then try their wings a time or two,
And, if they think that they will do,
Crawl on a dead wasp’s friendly back;
Consider ere each step they take;
With prudent care and steady creep,
Gently ascend the dang’rous steep,
Contented slowly to proceed,
And so, at last, get out indeed!