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Have you ever read the classic poem The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt? It’s such a fun little poem, and a great one to study during Halloween time! Today I have a printable version of this poem for you to use in your teaching. Plus, read on on for more spider-themed activities.
Mary Howitt was a 19th century English poet and author who is best known for writing this very poem. Mary wrote poetry from a young age. She coauthored over 180 books and poems with her husband, William Howitt.
About the Spider and the Fly Poem:
Learn some more about the poem to help you study it further!
The Spider and the Fly was subtitled “A new Version of an old Story” and was first published in 1829. It is a clever little poem that tells the tale of the spider who tries to lure the fly into its parlor with many flattering words. The opening line of the poem is quite famous. In fact it is one of the most recognized quoted in all of English verse.
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly
This line is quoted to represent false friendship or a false offer of help that can in fact be a trap.
The poem uses many literary devices including: alliteration, anaphora, assonance, repetition, and simile. If you are studying poetry, it would be helpful to learn about and find examples of each of these types of literary devices.
The rhyme scheme of this poem is: AABBCC, except for the last two stanzas which are AABBCCDD.
We have a copy of The Spider and the Fly book that uses this poem as the text. It’s a fun book for kids with lovely illustrations!
Now that you know all of this, read the poem. Or, if you would like to download it, you can get your free download here!
The Spider and The Fly
A cautionary tale by Mary Howitt
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly,
“’Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”
“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the Spider to the Fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin, And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “for I’ve often heard it said, They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!”
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, “Dear friend, what can I do, To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome – will you please to take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “kind sir, that cannot be, I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”
“Sweet creature!” said the Spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise, How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes! I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf,
If you’d step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say, And bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.”
The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den, For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again: So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing: Your robes are green and purple – there’s a crest upon your head; Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by; With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew, Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue – Thinking only of her crested head – poor, foolish thing! At last, Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den, Within his little parlor – but she ne’er came out again!
And now, dear little children, who may this story read, To idle, silly, flattering words I pray you ne’er give heed; Unto an evil counselor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.