36 A. BURMESE ENCHANTMENT. 93
Within your home a torture cell
There is. The victims writhe in pain. Your home, so fair, is yet a hell,
Where creatures seek escape in vain. May be, you say, that you are sure No torturer could pass your door.
The prison walls are made of clay,
Built by a wasp to hide its young. Some caterpillars are its prey,
Now is the tragedy begun ; No inquisitor e'er divined A wicked torment more refined.
Brown, yellow striped, of giant size, This wasp for quiet corners looks. A charnel-house he will devise
Inside the binding of your books. Behind a frame, or up your gun He practises his hideous fun.
Within their living tomb the prey
Lie numb with pain. The wasp will sting Nine times, in such a fiendish way
That death no quick release will bring. The victims linger on alive, Until the wasp grub starts to thrive.
Thus week by week, in agony,
The poison aching in each nerve, Immured alive, they wait only
Until the grub as food they serve. But even now, they must endure One last, exquisite torture more.
The cruel grub will not kill quite,
But feeds upon non-ifatal spots, Taking care not to slay outright,
In case, when dead, its viotim rots. Not till the end of that grim feast, The caterpillars are released.
Some people say that God provides
All creatures with the food they need. I think, in Nature's instinct hides
No mercy, if it prompts such deeds. And now, I've given you the proof Of torture chambers 'neath your roof.No mercy, if it prompts such deeds. And now, I've given you the proof Of torture chambers 'neath your roof.