Thomas Russell (1762-1788)

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Too long, alas! through life's tempestuous tide,
Heedless of heaven my giddy course I steered,
Linked with the scoffing crew, nor aught revered
Great nature's god: such erring dreams belied
My fancy, swollen with unsubstantial pride:
While, uglier far than have been feigned or feared,
Ten thousand phantoms to my sight appeared
And drew me darkling far from truth aside.

But vigorous now, with eagle-ken restored,
By nobler means aiming at nobler ends,
To the mild bosom of its saving lord,
Elate with ardent hope my soul ascends,
While over the dreadful gulf yet unexplored
Religion's golden sun its evening beam extends.

To the Spider

Ingenious insect, but of ruthless mould,
Whose savage craft (as nature taught) designs
A mazy web of death; the filmy lines
That form thy circling labyrinth enfold
Each thoughtless fly that wanders near the hold,
Sad victim of thy guile; nor aught avail
His silken wings nor coat of glossy mail
Nor varying hues of azure, jet or gold:

Yet, though thus ill the fluttering captive fares,
Whom heedless of the fraud thy toils trepan,
Thy tyrant fang that slays the stranger, spares
The bloody brothers of thy cruel clan;
While man against his fellows spreads his snares--
Then most delighted when his prey is man.

(See Robert Frost's sonnet "Design.")