Since I have many cat-loving friends and readers, I thought I’d share this poem I read for today’s 18th Century Women Writers class.
Anne Francis, “An Elegy on a Favourite Cat” (1790)
When cats like him submit to fate,
And seek the Stygian strand,
In silent woe and mimic state
Should mourn the feline band.
For me–full oft at eventide,
Enrapt in thought profound,
I hear his solemn footsteps glide,
And startle at the sound!
Oft as the murmuring gale draws near
(To fancy’s rule consigned),
His tuneful purr salutes my ear,
Soft-floating on the wind.
Among the aerial train, perchance,
My Bully now resides,
Or with the nymphs leads up the dance–
Or skims the argent tides.
Ye rapid Muses, haste away,
His wandering shade attend,
Hunt him through bush and fallow grey,
And up the hill ascend;
O’er russet heath extend your view,
And through th’ embrowning wood;
On the brisk gale his form pursue,
Or trace him o’er the flood:
If he a lucid Sylph should fly,
With various hues bedight,
The Muse’s keen pervading eye
Shall catch the streaming light…