The Library

“The Butterfly and the Bee” by William Lisle Bowles

The Poetical Works of William Lisle Bowles, Vol. II (1855) | William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

"The Butterfly and the Bee" by William Lisle Bowles

M ethought I heard a butterfly
Say to a labouring bee:
“Thou hast no colours of the sky
On painted wings like me.”

“Poor child of vanity! those dyes,
And colours bright and rare,”
With mild reproof, the bee replies,
“Are all beneath my care.

“Content I toil from morn to eve,
And scorning idleness,
To tribes of gaudy sloth I leave
The vanity of dress.”

Online Poetry Anthology

  • This poem uses more archaic language. Spend time covering any unknown words.
  • The poem uses the British spellings for what words?
  • Have the student narrate each stanza to ensure understanding.
  • What point do you think the author of the poem was attempting to convey?


Additional Resources

Free Nature Studies: Butterflies & MothsFree Nature Studies: Butterflies & Moths
Learn more about butterflies!

Free Nature Studies: The Honey BeeFree Nature Studies: The Honey Bee
Learn more about bees!