A Legend of Camelot, Pictures and Poems, etc/Poor Pussy's Nightmare

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ALL on a bare and bleak hillside,
One night this merry Christmas-tide,
A shivering, hunted hare did hide—
Poor Pussy!

Though we had hunted Puss all day,
The wind had blown her scent away,
And baulked the dogs—so there she lay,
Did Pussy!

There to the earth she humbly crept—
There, brooding o'er her lot, she wept—
There, on her empty stomach, slept
Poor Pussy!

And there, whilst fell the frozen dew,
She dreamt an ugly dream or two,
As starved wet folk are apt to do,
Did Pussy.

Loud hungry hounds of subtle ken,
And thundering steeds, and hard-eyed men,
Are fast on Pussy's trail again—
Poor Pussy!

Onward she strains—on, on they tear!
Foremost amongst the foremost there
Are ruthless women's faces fair!
Poor Pussy!

One moment's check! To left—to right—
In vain she spends her little might!
Some yokel's eye has marked her flight—
Poor Pussy!

What use her five small wits to rack?
Closer and faster on her track
Hurries the hydra-headed pack!
Lost Pussy!

"For pity's sake, kind huntsman, stop!
Call off the dogs, before I drop,
And kill me with your heavy crop!"
Shrieks Pussy!

With shuddering start and stifled scream,
She wakes—she finds it all a dream!
How kind the cold, cold earth doth seem
To Pussy!

In harrying Puss we had great fun,
And trust that ere this year be done
She'll give us yet one other run,
Will Pussy!

A softer wind, a cloudier sky,
A nice damp turf for the scent to lie,
Are all we ask! Till then, good-bye,
Dear Pussy!

A Legend of Camelot, du Maurier, 1898 djvu pg 043.jpg
"Onward she strains—on, on they tear!"