Through our lives thy meshes run
Deft as spiders’ catenation,
Crossed and crossed again and spun
Finer than the fiend’s temptation.
Greed into herself would turn
All that’s sweet: but let her follow
Still that path, and greed would learn
How the whole world is hers to swallow.
Sloth that would find out a bed
Blind to morning, deaf to waking,
Shuffling shall at last be led
To the peace that knows no breaking.
Lechery, that feels sharp lust
Sharper from each promised staying,
Goes at long last—go she must—
Where alone is sure allaying.
Anger, postulating still
Inexcusables to shatter
From the shelter of thy will
Finds herself the proper matter.
Envy had rather die than see
Other’s course her own outflying;
She will pay with death to be.
Where her Best brooks no denying.
Pride, that from each step, anew
Mounts again with mad aspiring,
Must find all at last, save you,
Set too low for her desiring.
Avarice, while she finds an end,
Counts but small the largest treasure.
Whimperingly at last she’ll bend
To take free what has no measure.
So inexorably thou
On thy shattered foes pursuing,
Never a respite does allow
Save what works their own undoing.