FotoPoesia #5

Foto Mia

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said a spider to a fly;
“ ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy. The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I have many pretty things to shew 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, 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 shall 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 parlour shelf, If you’ll 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 went 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 parlour—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 counsellor, close heart, and ear, and eye, And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

Mary Howitt (1829)

Mary Howitt nacque Botham nel marzo 1799 in una cittadina del Gloucestershire, contea dell’Inghilterra sud-occidentale (googolando tra alcune immagini mi è parso di udir campanelli di greggi e filastrocche di vecchie fiabe…). Iniziò a scrivere versi fin da piccola e nel 1821 sposò William Howitt, come lei quacchero e poeta. Insieme diedero vita ad una larga produzione, che iniziò con The Forest Minstrels and other Poems.

Mary e William traslocarono varie volte (vivendo un paio di anni anche in Germania e successivamente anche in Italia) annoverando tra le proprie amicizie e frequentazioni nomi quali Elizabeth Gaskell ed i fratelli William e Dorothy Wordsworth. Tra il 1842 ed il 1863 Mary tradusse diverse novels di Frederika Bremer e Hans Christian Andersen.
Mary si specializzò in versi moralistici e poesie per ragazzi e bambini. La storiella dell’astuto ragno che manipola la povera mosca, The Spider and the Fly, risale al 1829 e fa parte della raccolta intitolata The New Year’s Gift and Juvenile Souvenir.
La strofa d’apertura, Will you walk into my parlour?, è una delle più riconosciute e citate ed è diventata un aforisma, spesso usata per indicare una offerta di aiuto o d’amicizia che in realtà si rivelano una trappola.
Ed è diventata anche una canzone dei Rolling Stones.

Uscita nel 1965 come traccia nella versione statunitense dell’album Out of Our Heads e in UK come B-Side del singolo (I Cant’ Get No) Satisfaction (solo nel 1971 vi arrivò come traccia dell’album compilation Stone Age), è stata suonata dal vivo raramente.

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