To the Honourable Elizabeth Sedley, Learning to Spin, She and the Author equally having an aversion to a Spider.

Wou'd you, though true what Sterne enforces,
That we must have our hobby horses,
You, of all people, mount the hackney,
(Dear Madam pause!) that threw Arachne?
O for your comfort — and for mine —
Hold! Stop! forbear the rash design!
The Goddess of the loom and wheel
This similar affront will feel:
To rival her in every virtue
Go on, and Pallas will not hurt you:
But wisdom has its foibles, leave her
Spinster pre-eminent and weaver,
Or she will take revenge most frightful.
Can heavenly bosoms be so spiteful?
Yes; lay aside that Lydian's pride, or
You will be chang'd to, oh! a spider.

Wou'd you what most you hate resemble? —
With dire forebodings how I tremble! —
Your upright shape you lose, methinks,
To a foul lump your body shrinks;
I see, and at the sight am troubled,
Your arms and legs in number doubled;
Fear-struck, I stare upon the wall,
Belshazzar-like, as there you crawl.

Must one, 'till now so fair, alas!
Run screaming from her looking-glass?
Shall Rachael rush into the room
To attack her mistress with the broom?
Must you in chest or chimney hide you?
And must I own I can't abide you?
Ah, though the brightest nymph, 'tis true,
Can never draw my eyes from you;
And though for you I shall be looking
Each passage dark and private nook in;
Though language can't express my feeling,
While you're descending from the ceiling;
Though I shall stand prepar'd to seize you,
Full of impatience close to squeeze you,
Let not your honour take alarms: —
I stretch the tongs and not my arms.

More verses by Francis Noel Clarke Mundy