[Page 272]

ODE on the Death of a Favourite CAT, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes.

I.
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.
II.
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.
[Page 273]
III.
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.
IV.
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?
V.
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.
VI.
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!
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VII.
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.

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    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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    Source edition

    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. II. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 272-274. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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