Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Poetry

The Rose and Snail

A Snail thus once addressed a Rose:
"O fairest thou, and sweetest flower
Which Flora bids her charms disclose,
And shed her sweetness thro' the bower!

Pardon, I pray, your humble slave,
(Pursued the Snail with great respect)
Only one little fault you have,
Which you might easily correct.

I mean those sharp and ugly thorns,
Which wound who'er approaches near;
Mar every beauty that adorns,
And each admirer fills with fear.

Zephyr, himself your faithful lover,
How new, how cruel is his case;
Dares only round your beauties hover,
And fears to meet your fond embrace."

The poison caught--the Rose consented,
And strip'd herself of every thorn;
But oh! how soon must be repented
The error of that cruel morn.

The guardian thorn no sooner gone,
The snail became, from humble free;
Easy and impudent came on,
And crawl'd up the defenceless tree.

There quickly cankering every leaf,
Each flower and opening bud he ate;
And now the rose perceived with grief
Her error; but perceived too late!

Her fragrance gone: her beauty blasted,
And fled her young and virgin pride,
Her life was bitter while it lasted,
But soon she broke her heart and died.

Ye fair, whom snail like flatterers sue,
Mark what the awful moral shows;
Virtue is beauty's thorn in you,
And oh be wiser than the Rose.


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