The Snail (William Cowper)

To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there, house and all

Within that house secure he hides,
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides
Of weather.

Give but his horns the slightest touch,
His self-collecting power is such,
He shrinks into his house, with such

Wher’er he dwells, he dwells alone,
Except himself has chattels none,
Well satisfied to be his own
Whole treasure.

Thus hermit-like, his life he leads,
Nor partner of his banquet needs,
And if he meets one, only feeds
The faster.

Who seeks him must be worse than blind,
(He and his house are so combined,)
Its master.

With thanks to Avril Bourquin of Man and Mollusc for drawing our attention to this poem by William Cowper, found in "The Heath Readers Fourth Reader"  D. C. Heath & Co. Publishers; Boston, New York, Chicago, London, 1903.

William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper"; 1731 – 1800) was an English religious poet. One of the most popular poets of his time, his work is characterized by simplicity and tenderness. Cowper changed 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside.