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James Whitcomb Riley

A Dream

I dreamed I was a spider;

A big, fat, hungry spider;

A lusty, rusty spider

With a dozen palsied limbs;

With a dozen limbs that dangled

Where three wretched flies were tangled

And their buzzing wings were strangled

In the middle of their hymns.

And I mocked them like a demon—

A demoniacal demon

Who delights to be a demon

For the sake of sin alone;

And with fondly false embraces

Did I weave my mystic laces

Round their horror-stricken faces

Till I muffled every groan.

And I smiled to see them weeping,

For to see an insect weeping,

Sadly, sorrowfully weeping,

Fattens every spider's mirth;

And to note a fly's heart quaking,

And with anguish ever aching

Till you see it slowly breaking

Is the sweetest thing on earth.

I experienced a pleasure,

Such a highly-flavored pleasure,

Such intoxicating pleasure,

That I drank of it like wine;

And my mortal soul engages

That no spider on the pages

Of the history of ages

Felt a rapture more divine.

I careened around and capered—

Madly, mystically capered—

For three days and nights I capered

Round my web in wild delight;

Till with fierce ambition burning,

And an inward thirst and yearning

I hastened my returning

With a fiendish appetite.

And I found my victims dying,

"Ha!" they whispered, "we are dying!"

Faintly whispered, "we are dying,

And our earthly course is run."

And the scene was so impressing

That I breathed a special blessing,

As I killed them with caressing

And devoured them one by one.