ODE on the Death of a Favourite CAT, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes.
1 'TWAS on a lofty vase's side,
2 Where China's gayest art had dy'd
3 The azure flowers, that blow;
4 Demurest of the Tabby kind,
5 The pensive Selima reclin'd,
6 Gaz'd on the lake below.
7 Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
8 The fair round face, the snowy beard,
9 The velvet of her paws,
10 The coat that with the tortoise vies,
11 Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
12 She saw; and purr'd applause.
13 Still had she gaz'd: but 'midst the tide
14 Two beauteous forms were seen to glide,
15 The Genii of the stream;
16 Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
17 Thro' richest purple to the view
18 Betray'd a golden gleam.
19 The hapless nymph with wonder saw:
20 A whisker first and then a claw
21 With many an ardent wish,
22 She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize.
23 What female heart can gold despise?
24 What cat's averse to fish?
25 Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
26 Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
27 Nor knew the gulph between;
28 (Malignant Fate sat by and smil'd)
29 The slipp'ry verge her feet beguil'd,
30 She tumbled headlong in.
31 Eight times emerging from the flood
32 She mew'd to ev'ry wat'ry god,
33 Some speedy aid to send.
34 No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd:
35 Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
36 A fav'rite has no friend!
37 From hence, ye beauties undeceiv'd,
38 Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,
39 And be with caution bold.
40 Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
41 And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
42 Nor all, that glisters, gold.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): ODE on the Death of a Favourite CAT, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes.
Author: Thomas Gray
Themes: advice; moral precepts; animals; death
Genres: ballad metre; ode; Song to David-stanza; fable
References: DMI 22462
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