Behold how eager this our little boy
Is for this Butterfly, as if all joy,
All profits, honours, yea, and lasting pleasures,
Were wrapt up in her, or the richest treasures,
Found in her, would be bundled up together,
When all her all is lighter than a feather.
He halloos, runs, and cries out, Here, boys, here,
Nor doth he brambles or the nettles fear.
He stumbles at the mole-hills, up he gets,
And runs again, as one bereft of wits;
And all this labour and this large outcry,
Is only for a silly butterfly.
This little boy an emblem is of those
Whose hearts are wholly at the world’s dispose,
The butterfly doth represent to me,
The world’s best things at best but fading be.
All are but painted nothings and false joys,
Like this poor butterfly to these our boys.
His running through nettles, thorns, and briars,
To gratify his boyish fond desires;
His tumbling over mole-hills to attain
His end, namely, his butterfly to gain;
Doth plainly show what hazards some men run.
To get what will be lost as soon as won.
Men seem in choice, than children far more wise,
Because they run not after butterflies;
When yet, alas! for what are empty toys,
They follow children, like to beardless boys.
by John Bunyan