The head of man just like a hive is made;
The brain is like a comb2 exactly laid,
Where every thought, just like a bee, doth dwell,
Each by itself within a parted cell.
The soul doth govern all, as doth their3 king, 5
Employs each thought4 upon each several thing.
Just as the5 bees swarm in the hottest weather,
In great round heaps they do hang all together,6
As if for counsel wise they all did meet,7
For when they fly away, new hives they seek.8 10
So Men, when they have any great design,
Their thoughts do gather and9 in heaps combine.10
But when they are resolved,11 each one takes flight,
And strives12 which first shall on desire13 light.
Thus14 thoughts do meet15 and fly about, till they 15
For their subsistence can find out a way.
But doubting thoughts, like drones, live on the rest
Of hoping16 thoughts, which honey bring to nest.
For like as bees by their sting’s industry17
Get18 honey, which the stingless drones live by,19 20
So men without ambition’s stings do live
Upon th’industrious stock their fathers give.
Or like to such that steals a20 poet’s wit,
And dress it up in their21 own language fit.
But fancy into every garden flies, 25
And sucks the flowers sweet of22 lips and eyes.
But if they light23 on those that are not fair,
Like bees on herbs that dry and withered are.24
As25 purest honey on sweet flowers lies,
So finest fancies from young beauties rise. 30
- Similizing the Head of Man to a Hive of Bees] The Head of Man compared to a Hive of Bees. 1664; The Head of Man compared to a Hive of Bees. 1668
- is like a comb] like as the Combe’s 1653
- their] the 1668
- Employs each thought] Each Thought imploies 1653
- Just as the] And like as 1664; And, like as 1668
- In great round heaps they do hang all together,] Hanging in great and round Heaps all together, 1664; Hanging in great and round Heaps all together; 1668
- for counsel wise they all did meet,] they kept wise Counsels for their Lives; 1664, 1668
- new hives they seek.] they seek new Hives: 1664; they seek new Hives: 1668
- and] all 1653
- combine.] do joyne. 1653
- But when they are resolved,] When they resolved are, 1653
- strives] striveth 1664, 1668
- shall on desire] on Desire shall 1664, 1668
- Thus] And thus 1664, 1668
- do meet] meet 1664; meet, 1668
- Of hoping] Hoping 1653
- like as bees by their sting’s industry] by their Stings Industry do they get, 1653
- Get] That 1653
- live by,] do eat. 1653
- Or like to such that steals a] And some do Steal another 1664; And some do steal another 1668
- their] his 1653
- of] from 1664, 1668
- But if they light] Sometimes it Lights 1664; Sometimes it lights 1668
- dry and withered are.] are wither’d, dry, and seare. 1653
- As] For 1653