THE SPIDER AND THE TOAD
Some author (no great matter who,
Provided what he says be true)
Relates he saw, with hostile rage,
A spider and a toad engage:
For though with poison both are stored.
Each by the other is abhorred;
It seems as if their common venom
Provoked an enmity between 'em.
Implacable, malicious, cruel,
Like modern hero in a duel.
The spider darted on his foe,
Infixing death at every blow.
The toad, by ready instinct taught,
An antidote, when wounded, sought
From the herb plantain, growing near,
Well known to toads its virtues rare,
The spider's poison to repel;
It cropped the leaf, and soon was well.
This remedy it often tried
And all the spider's rage defied.
The person who the contest viewed,
While yet the battle doubtful stood,
Removed the healing plant away—
And thus the spider gained the day:
For when the toad returned once more
Wounded, as it had done before,
To seek relief, and found it not,
It swelled and died upon the spot.
In every circumstance but one
(Could that hold too, I were undone)
No glass can represent my face
More justly than this tale my case.
The toad's an emblem of my heart,
And Satan acts the spider's part.
Envenomed by this poison, I
Am often at the point to die;
But He who hung upon the tree,
From guilt and woe to set me free,
Is like the plantain leaf to me.
To him my wounded soul repairs,
He knows my pain, and hears my prayers;
From him I virtue draw by faith,
Which saves me from the jaws of death:
From him fresh life and strength I gain,
And Satan spends his rage in vain.
No secret arts or open force
Can rob me of this sure resource;
Though banished to some distant land,
My med'cine would be still at hand.
Though foolish men its worth deny,
Experience gives them all the lie;
Though Deists and Socinians join
Jesus still lives, and still is mine.
'Tis here the happy difference lies,
My Saviour reigns above the skies,
Yet to my soul is always near.
For he is God, and everywhere.
His blood a sovereign balm is found
For every grief, and every wound;
And sooner all the hills shall flee
And hide themselves beneath the sea;
Or ocean, starting from its bed,
Rush o'er the cloud-topped mountain's head;
The sun, exhausted of its light,
Become the source of endless night;
And ruin spread from pole to pole,
Than Jesus fail the tempted soul.
Marylynn Rouse, 23/01/2014