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

This version of Thomas Gray's poem is not from a published work. It is compiled from 6 of the 116 watercolour illustrations to Thomas Gray's poems that were produced by William Blake around 1797-1798. Blake cut the text from a 1790 octavo edition of Gray's poems, published by John Murray.

From the layout of the individual artworks, it is clear that Blake conceived of his work as an illustrated book, rather than a series of unbound designs, but it was never published. (Based on The William Blake Archive).

For a detailed, annotated version of this poem, visit The Thomas Gray Archive

William Blake - The Poems of Thomas Gray, Design 7, "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat." - Google Art Project.jpg

ODE

ON THE DEATH OF A

FAVOURITE CAT,

Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes

Ode to a favourite cat, Drowened in a tub of Goldfishes (Blake, contents).jpg

Ode on the Death of
a Favourite Cat
.


Design.

1. "Midst the tide
Two Angel forms were seen to Glide"

2. "Demurest of the Tabby kind"

3. The pensive Selima
Her Ears of Jet, & Emerald Eyes,
She saw & purred applause"

4. "Still had she gaz'd but midst the tide
Two Angel forms were seen to glide,
The hapless nymph with wonder saw
A Whisker first & then a Claw, &c"

5. Malignant Fate sat by & smiled
The slippery verge her feet beguild,
She tumbled headlong in."

6.Nine times emerging from the flood
She mew'd to every watry God"

William Blake - The Poems of Thomas Gray, Design 9, "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat." - Google Art Project.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 dy'd
The azure flowers, that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclin'd,
Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
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 gaz'd; 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
Betray'd a golden gleam.

The hapless nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first, and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd, 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 stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulph between.
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smil'd)
The slipp'ry verge her feet beguil'd,
She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood
She mew'd to ev'ry wat'ry God,
Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard,
A fav'rite has no friend!

From hence, ye beauties, undeceiv'd,
Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,
And be with caution bold.

Last page

Nor all that tempts your wand'ring eyes,
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Nor all, that glisters, gold.