I found this tender verse in The Every-Day Book (ed. William Hone, pub. Hunt and Clarke, 1868; p. 556). It was originally written in Latin by a Dr. Jortin, as an epitaph to a favorite cat.
Worn out with age and dire disease, a cat.
Friendly to all, save wicked mouse and rat
I'm sent at last to ford the Stygian lake,
And to the infernal coast a voyage make.
Me Proserpine receiv'd, and smiling said,
"Be bless'd within these mansions of the dead,
Enjoy among thy velvet-footed loves,
Elysium's sunny banks and shady groves."
"But if I've well deserv'd, (O gracious queen,)
If patient under sufferings I have been,
Grant me at least one night to visit home again
Once more to see my home, and mistress dear,
And purr these grateful accents in her ear.
Thy faithful cat, thy poor departed slave.
Still loves her mistress ev'n beyond the grave."
I think "Dr. Jortin" must be the English clergyman and scholar Dr. John Jortin (1698 - 1795). The biographical link I've got there includes this note on the gentleman: "Besides great integrity, great humanity, and other qualities which make men amiable as well as useful, this learned person was of a very pleasant and facetious turn; as his writings abundantly shew." I think the poem written for his departed friend shows that well indeed, and I like him for it.
PS.: I realized last night I've been posting a disproportionate amount of epitaphs. Sweet as they are, perhaps I need to get out of the house a bit?