Poem – The Ballade of Butterflies

Because we never build a nest

And no one of us ever sings,

We are the butt of every jest

That strutting loud-mouthed robin flings.

Unless the field with laughter rings

And we are meek in our replies

His claws and beak to bear he brings;

Have pity on all butterflies!
Since we are of no home possessed,

And have no joy in courts and kings,

And love on working-days to rest,

The name of ‘Idlers’ to us clings.

On all our gypsy travellings

They follow us with jeering cries.

From every rose a spider springs;

Have pity on all butterflies!
A little thing is our request- 

Some peace from nets of sticks and strings,

An hour to feel the sunlight’s zest,

To ‘scape the deadly bee that stings.

From hostile fortune’s bolts and slings

Give us release ere Summer dies- 

We dread the Winter’s threatenings;

Have pity on all butterflies!


Great Pan, kind lord of living things,

Look on us now with friendly eyes.

We pray to you on trembling wings,

Have pity on all butterflies!