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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

a poet avenges his cat in verse

The mid-1700's:  some nameless fiend harms John Winstanley's pet cat.  He cannot find this coward, so he calls him out in a privately published book of verse.  I hate what happened to the cat, but the true affection Winstanley shows is worth reading.

* * *

A CAT may look upon a KING.
An Epistolary POEM, on the Loss of the EARS of a favorite FEMALE CAT.
To ******

Thou Enemy, who e'er thou art,
Thy Actions show they harden'd Heart
To serve a fav'rite CAT so base!
To spoil the Beauty of her Face!
The Muse, did she thy Name but know,
Would lash thee well and shame thee too.

Had'st thou for Shingles wanted Cure,
And bled her in the Tail, be sure,
Thou might'st have been excus'd for that,
But to cut both Ears off the CAT!
Out of meer Mischief and ill Nature,
To so deserving a dear Creature,
Is an unpardonable thing:
A CAT may look upon a King.

Or had she Caterwawling went,
Or in thy Pantry once been pent,
Thou migh'st perhaps, have Reason great
In such a Manner her to treat:
But, to be cruel and unkind,
To one, not rav'nously inclin'd,
Who nurs'd at that time Kittens three,
No Punishment's enough for thee.

Tho' no Advertisement can find thee;
Or Law to good Behaviour bind thee;
Yet in Revenge these Curses take,
From Puss, who is provok'd to speak.

May'st thou on Rats and Mice be fed,
And lose thy Bacon, Cheese and Bread.
May all thy Goods and Furniture,
If thou hast any to secure,
By those vile vermin be destroy'd;
And may thy House be still annoy'd,
And stink so with them, ne'er to be,
Kept clean by any Housewifry.
Farther, my Curses to compleat,
May'st thou at length be sweetly beat,
With Cat of Nine-Tails, and then swing,
In Hempen, or in Cat-gut String.

-- John Winstanley, Poems Written Occasionally (Dublin: printed by S. Powell for the author, 1742), pps. 131-3.

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