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Info on Upon a Spider Catching a Fly-wasp,fly,spider&nightingale & their...

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npaetz506 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 31, 2010 at 10:56 PM via web

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Info on Upon a Spider Catching a Fly-wasp,fly,spider&nightingale & their likeness to religious ideas of salvation & piety

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:51 AM (Answer #1)

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In "Upon a Spider Catching a Fly" there are several different religious interpretations.

The poem appears here:

Thou sorrow, venom Elfe:
   Is this thy play,
To spin a web out of thyselfe
   To Catch a Fly?
       For Why?

I saw a pettish wasp
   Fall foule therein:
Whom yet thy Whorle pins did not clasp
   Lest he should fling
       His sting.

But as affraid, remote
   Didst stand hereat,
And with thy little fingers stroke
   And gently tap
       His back.

Thus gently him didst treate
   Lest he should pet,
And in a froppish, aspish heate
   Should greatly fret
       Thy net.

Whereas the silly Fly,
   Caught by its leg
Thou by the throate tookst hastily
   And ‘hinde the head
       Bite Dead.

This goes to pot, that not
   Nature doth call.
Strive not above what strength hath got,
   Lest in the brawle
       Thou fall.

This Frey seems thus to us.
   Hells Spider gets
His intrails spun to whip Cords thus
   And wove to nets
       And sets.

To tangle Adams race
   In’s stratigems
To their Destructions, spoil’d, made base
   By venom things,
       Damn’d Sins.

But mighty, Gracious Lord
   Communicate
Thy Grace to breake the Cord, afford
   Us Glorys Gate
       And State.

We’l Nightingaile sing like
   When pearcht on high
In Glories Cage, thy glory, bright,
   And thankfully,
       For joy.

In the poem, the spider represents the devil, and the web is temptation/sin. The wasp and the fly are two different types of people. The wasp represents a person who fights mightily against temptation and falling into the trap of the devil, yet is still coerced into sin. The fly is an unwary sinner who is less capable of fighting against the devil's force. Both are caught, but in different ways. The wasp is wooed by the devil, while the fly is stupidly caught and killed immediately. At the end of the poem, Taylor asks God to grant us the ability to fight the devil's temptation and escape his "web". Once saved from the trap of the devil, we can be in "glory's cage" (heaven) singing beautifully as a nightingale would to thank God for our salvation from sin and hell. 

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