The Grasshoper And The Ant
By Hannah Flagg Gould
Ant, look at me!’ a young Grasshopper said,
As nimbly he sprang from his green, summer bed,
‘See how I’m going to skip over your head,
And could o’er a thousand like you!
Ant, by your motion alone, I should judge
That Nature ordained you a slave and a drudge,
For ever and ever to keep on the trudge,
And always find something to do.
‘Oh! there is nothing like having our day,
Taking our pleasure and ease while we may,
Bathing ourselves in the bright, mellow ray
That comes from the warm, golden sun!
While I am up in the light and the air,
You, a sad picture of labor and care!
Still have some hard, heavy burden to bear,
And work that you never get done.
‘I have an exercise healthful, and good,
For timing the nerves and digesting the food—
Graceful gymnastics for stirring the blood
Without the gross purpose of use.
Ant, let me tell you ‘t is not a la mode,
To plod like a pilgrim and carry a load,
Perverting the limbs that for grace were bestowed,
By such a plebeian abuse.
‘While the whole world with provisions is filled,
Who would keep toiling and toiling to build
And lay in a store for himself, till he ‘s killed
With work that another might do?
Come! drop your budget and just give a spring.
Jump on a grass-blade and balance and swing.
Soon you’ll be light as a gnat on the wing,
Gay as a grasshopper, too!’
Ant trudged along while the grasshopper sung,
Minding her business and holding her tongue,
Until she got home her own people among;
But these were her thoughts on the road.
‘What will become of that poor, idle one
When the light sports of the summer are done?
And, where is the covert to which he may run
To find a safe winter abode?
‘Oh! if I only could tell him how sweet
Toil makes my rest and the morsel I eat,
While hope gives a spur to my little black feet,
He’d never pity my lot!
He’d never ask me my burden to drop
To join in his folly—to spring, and to hop;
And thus make the ant and her labor to stop,
When time, I am certain, would not.
‘When the cold frost all the herbage has nipped,
When the bare branches with ice-drops are tipped,
Where will the grasshopper then be, that skipped,
So careless and lightly to-day?
Frozen to-death! ‘a sad picture’ indeed,
Of reckless indulgence and what must succeed,
That all his gymnastics ca ‘nt shelter or feed, Or quicken his pulse into play.
‘I must prepare for a winter to come.
I shall be glad of a home and a crumb,
When my frail form out of doors would be numb,
And I in the snow-storm should die.
Summer is lovely, but soon will be past.
Summer has plenty not always to last.
Summer’s the time for the ant to make fast
Her stores for a future supply!’