The Spider and the Fly (poem)
|by Mary Howitt|
The Spider and the Fly is a poem by Mary Howitt (1799–1888), published in 1828. The first line of the poem is "'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly." The story tells of a cunning Spider who ensnares a naïve Fly through the use of seduction and flattery. The poem is a cautionary tale against those who use flattery and charm to disguise their true evil intentions.
The poem was published with the subtitle “A New Version of an Old Story” in The New Year’s Gift and Juvenile Souvenir, which has a publication year of 1829 on its title page but, as the title would suggest, was released before New Year’s Day and was reviewed in magazines as early as October 1828.
The opening line is one of the most recognized and quoted first lines in all of English verse. Often misquoted as "Step into my parlour" or "Come into my parlour", it has become an aphorism, often used to indicate a false offer of help or friendship that is in fact a trap. The line has been used and parodied numerous times in various works of fiction.
When Lewis Carroll was readying Alice's Adventures Under Ground for publication he replaced a parody he had made of a negro minstrel song with a parody of Howitt's poem. "The Mock Turtle's Song", in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is a parody of Howitt's poem; it mimics the meter and rhyme scheme, and parodies the first line, but not the subject matter, of the original.
- 1916 film featuring Robert B. Mantell
- 1949 British crime film
- 1923 cartoon: theatrical short by Aesop Fables Studio.
- 1930 song by Barbecue Bob
- 1938 song by Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, and J. C. Johnson
- 1965 song by The Rolling Stones.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- For example, in The Gentleman‘s Magazine, Oct. 1828 (in HathiTrust).
- "The Spider and the Fly". Book Description. Amazon.com. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Gardner, Martin; The Annotated Alice, 1998 (updated, Lewis Carroll ; with illustrations by John Tenniel ; introduction; Gardner, notes by Martin (1999). The annotated Alice : Alice's adventures in Wonderland & Through the looking glass (Definitive ed.). New York: Norton. ISBN 0393048470.)
- Carroll's parody of Howitt's poem accessed 3 October 2007
- "The Spider and the Fly (1916) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- "The Fable of the Spider and the Fly". IMDb. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- DiTerlizzi, based on the poem by Mary Howitt ; with illustrations by Tony (2002). The spider and the fly (1st ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. ISBN 978-0-689-85289-3.