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From the motions that are made, Every little leaf conveyed Sylph or Fairy hither tending, To this lower world descending, Each invisible and mute, In his wavering parachute. -But the Kitten, how she starts, Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts ! First at one, and then its fellow, Just as light, and just as yellow; There are many now-now oneNow they stop, and there are none: What intenseness of desire In her upward eye of fire ! With a tiger leap half way Now she meets the coming prey, Lets it go as fast, and then Has it in her power again: Now she works with three or four, Like an Indian conjuror; Quick as he in feats of art, Far beyond in joy of heart. Were her antics played in th' eye Of a thousand standers-by, Clapping hands with shout and stare, What would little Tabby care For the plaudits of the crowd ? Over-happy to be proud, Over-wealthy in the treasure Of her own exceeding pleasure.
A poet's cat, sedate and grave
As poet well could wish to have,
Was much addicted to inquire
For nooks to which she might retire,
And where, secure as mouse in chink,
She might repose, or sit and think.
Sometimes ascending, debonair,
An apple-tree, or lofty pear,
Lodged with convenience in the fork, She watched the gardener at his work: Sometimes her ease and solace sought In an old empty watering-pot.
But love of change it seems has place
Not only in our wiser race;
Cats also feel, as well as we,
That passion's force, and so did she.
Her climbing, she began to find,
Exposed her too much to the wind,
And the old utensil of tin
Was cold and comfortless within:
She therefore wished, instead of those,
Some place of more serene repose,
Where neither cold might come, nor air
Too rudely wanton with her hair,
And sought it in the likeliest mode,
Within her master's snug abode.
A drawer, it chanced, at bottom lined
With linen of the softest kind,
With such as merchants introduce
From India, for the ladies' use-
A drawer impending o'er the rest,
Half open, in the topmost chest,
Of depth enough, and none to spare,
Invited her to slumber there.
Puss, with delight beyond expression,
Surveyed the scene and took possession.
Recumbent at her ease, ere long,
And lulled by her own hum-drum song,
She left the cares of life behind,
And slept as she would sleep her last;
When in came, housewifely inclined,
The chambermaid, and shut it fast;
By no malignity impelled,
But all unconscious whom it held.
Awakened by the shock, cried Puss, “ Was ever cat attended thus !
The open drawer was left, I see,
Merely to prove a nest for me;
For soon as I was well composed,
Then came the maid, and it was closed.
How smooth these kerchiefs, and how sweet!
Oh! what a delicate retreat.
I will resign myself to rest,
Till Sol, declining in the west,
Shall call to supper, when, no doubt,
Susan will come and let me out."
The evening came, the sun descended,
And Puss remained still unattended.
The night rolled tardily away,
(With her, indeed, 'twas never day,)
The sprightly morn her course renewed,
The evening gray again ensued;
And Puss canie into mind no more
Than if entombed the day before.
With hunger pinched, and pinched for room,
She now presaged approaching doom,
Nor slept a single wink nor purred,
Conscious of jeopardy incurred.
That night, by chance, the poet watching,
Heard an inexplicable scratching; ·
His noble heart went pit-a-pat,
And to himself he said, “What's that?"
He drew the curtain at his side,
And forth he peeped, but nothing spied;
Yet, by his ear directed, guessed
Something imprisoned in the chest,
And, doubtful what, with prudent care
Resolved it should continue there,
At length a voice which well he knew,
A long and melancholy mew,
Saluting his poetic ears,
Consoled him and dispelled his fears.
He left his bed, he trod the floor,
And 'gan in haste the drawers explore,
The lowest first, and without stop
The rest in order, to the top;
For 'tis a truth well known to most,
That whatsoever thing is lost,
We seek it, ere it come to light,
In every cranny but the right.
-Forth skipped the cat, not now replete,
As erst, with airy self-conceit,
Nor in her own fond apprehension
A theme for all the world's attention:
But modest, sober, cured of all
Her notions hyperbolical,
And wishing for a place of rest
Anything rather than a chest.
Then stepped the poet into bed
With this reflection in his head:-
Beware of too sublime a sense
Of your own worth and consequence !
The man who dreams himself so great,
And his importance of such weight,
That all around, in all that's done,
Must move and act for him alone,
Will learn in school of tribulation,
The folly of his expectation.
It is said that Belzoni, the traveller in Egypt, discovered a living toad in a temple, which had been for ages buried in the sand.
In a land for antiquities greatly renowned,
A traveller had dug wide and deep under ground,
A temple, for ages entombed, to disclose,
When, lo! he disturbed, in its secret repose,
A toad, from whose journal it plainly appears
It had lodged in that mansion some thousands of years.
The roll which this reptile's long history records,
A treat to the sage antiquarian affords:
The sense by obscure hieroglyphics concealed,
Deep learning at length, with long labor, revealed.
The first thousand years as a specimen take,
The dates are omitted for brevity's sake:
“Crawled forth from some rubbish, and winked with
Half opened the other, but could not tell why;
Stretched out my left leg, as it felt rather queer,
Then drew all together and slept for a year.
Awakened, felt chilly, crept under a stone;
Was vastly contented with living alone.
One toe became wedged in the stone like a peg,
Could not get it away,—had the cramp in my leg,
Began half to wish for a neighbor at hand
To loosen the stone, which was fast in the sand;
Pulled harder, then dozed, as I found 'twas no use;-
Awoke the next summer, and lo! it was loose.
Crawled forth from the stone when completely awake;
Crept into a corner and grinned at a snake.
Retreated, and found that I needed repose ;
Curled up my damp limbs and prepared for a doze;
Fell sounder to sleep than was usual before,
And did not awake for a century or more;
But had a sweet dream, as I rather believe:
Methought it was light, and a fine summer's eve;
And I in some garden deliciously fed
In the pleasant moist shade of a strawberry-bed.
There fine speckled creatures claimed kindred with me,
And others that hopped, most enchanting to see.
Here long I regaled with emotion extreme;-
Awoke,-disconcerted to find it a dream;
Grew pensive, -discovered that life is a load;
Began to get weary of being a toad;
Was fretful at first, and then shed a few tears''-
Here ends the account of the first thousand years.
It seems that life is all a void,
On selfish thoughts alone employed;
That length of days is not a good,
Unless their use be understood.
I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!