Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes

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Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes
by Thomas Gray
Illustrations by William Blake. For a detailed, annotated version of this poem, visit The Thomas Gray Archive

Contents[edit]

Ode1.jpg
Ode

on the Death of a

Favourite Cat,

Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes

Ode2.jpg
(contents)
Ode3.jpg
Ode

on the Death of a

Favourite Cat,

Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes




Twas on a lofty vase's side,

Where China's gayest art had dyed

The azure flowers that blow;

Demurest of the tabby kind,

The pensive Selima, reclined,

Gazed on the lake below.


Her conscious tail her joy declared;

The fair round face, the snowy beard,

The velvet of her paws,

Second page
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,

Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,

She saw: and purred applause.


Still had she gazed; but 'midst the tide

Two angel forms were seen to glide,

The Genii of the stream;

Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue

Thro' richest purple to the view

Betrayed a golden gleam.


The hapless nymph with wonder saw:

A whisker first and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,

She stretched in vain to reach the prize.

What female heart can gold despise?

What cat's averse to fish?

Third page
Presumptuous maid! with looks intent

Again she stretched, again she bent,

Nor knew the gulf between.

(Malignant Fate sat by, and smiled)

The slippery verge her feet beguiled,

She tumbled headlong in.


Eight times emerging from the flood

She mewed to every watery god,

Some speedy aid to send.

No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirred;

Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.

A favorite has no friend!

From hence, ye beauties, undeceived,

Know, one false step is ne'er retrieved,

And be with caution bold.

Last page
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes

And heedless hearts is lawful prize,

Nor all, that glisters, gold.