Watts, “Against Idleness and Mischief” read by Caroline Schumacher

Source UMW. Download Title

How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!

How skilfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labour or of Skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
For idle Hands to do.

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
Some good Account at last.


  1. Good reading, Caroline!
    After just hearing the first line of the poem, I thought I recognized it, and thanks to wikipedia.org, I figured out that this poem was parodied in “Alice & Wonderland.” Why did I remember that tiny detail from my childhood?? Must be that the rhythm is catchy. I also think that the metaphor of a bee working hard to avoid idleness ties in well with our class discussions of how literature from this era was meant to entertain AND instruct:

    “For Satan finds some mischief still
    For idle hands to do.”

    I’m sure this was a poem that many parents read to their children, to caution them from idle mischief. Be like the bee! haha

  2. Oh in case anyone is into Alice & Wonderland references, the parodied version is THIS!
    “How Doth the Little Crodocile”
    How doth the little crocodile
    Improve his shining tail,
    And pour the waters of the Nile
    On every golden scale!

    How cheerfully he seems to grin,
    How neatly he spreads his claws,
    And welcomes little fishes in,
    With gently smiling jaws!

    Not quiiiite the same sentiment as the original, eh? πŸ™‚

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