Introduction

In this poem, the poet talks about how hard working and skillful the little bee is. She works to collect honey every hour and neatly builds her cell to store the collected honey. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abab cdcd.

Stanza 1-2

 How doth the little busy bee 
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day 
From every opening flower.

How skilfully she builds her cell; 
How neat she spreads her wax,
And labors hard to store it well 
With the sweet food she makes

Summary

The poet asks how the little busy bee improves each shining hour and gathers honey throughout the day from every opening flower. So, the poet wonders how the busy bee becomes more energetic throughout the day as it collects nectar from flowers. He talks about how skillfully she builds her cell and how neatly she spreads her wax. It takes careful skill to build a cell in a honeycomb. The bee labors hard to store her cell well with the sweet food she makes. She makes food from the nectar she has collected and stores it in her cell.

A Parody

A parody is the imitation of a work, with deliberate exaggeration or change for comedic effect. Lewis Carroll parodies the above poem by making it about a lazy and mischievous crocodile. Both the poems have the same rhyme scheme. Unlike the hard-working bee, the crocodile lazes around in water all day and tricks innocent fishes. This poem appears in Carroll’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Stanza 1-2

How doth the little crocodile 
Improve his shining tail;
And pour the waters of the 
Nile On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin, 
How neatly spreads his claws, 
And welcomes little fishes in, 
With gently smiling jaws!

Summary

The poet asks how the little crocodile improves his shining tail, and pours the waters of the Nile on every golden scale. The crocodile makes its shiny tail prettier by pouring the water of the Nile River on it. This shows that it is very lazy and vain. The poet tells us how cheerfully the crocodile seems to grin and how neatly he spreads his claws. He welcomes little fishes in with gently smiling jaws. The mischievous crocodile invites fishes into his mouth with a welcoming smile and then eats them.

Central Idea

The poet uses the same framework as the previous poem but makes it about a lazy and mischievous crocodile instead. The evil crocodile’s activities show us just how good the busy bee is. We must idolize the bee and not the crocodile.

Conclusion

The bee stands for goodness and hard work, while the crocodile symbolizes laziness and mischief. The two poems show us their opposing characteristics. This makes us realize just how good the bee is. We must try to become like the little busy bee, and not the vain crocodile.