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World Poetry Day – An Old Cat’s Dying Soliloquy

Poetry about a dying cat showcases its love for its owner cat-wow
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In this amusing and endearing poem, Anna Seward perfectly envisions what an old cat’s last thoughts might be. For any animal lover, this is a touching ode to a cat’s life, and its undying love for its owner.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the 21/03/2019, 16:30, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:50

Celebrating poetry worldwide


Today, the world is celebrating poetry - humanity’s common literature, our proof that no matter how different we all are, we often share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is a form of art that should not be forgotten; but read and heard every day.

In celebration of this special day, we share with you one of Anna Seward’s hidden gems – a poem with an ironic and humorous edge as well as a touching and poignant feel, about a charming cat dreaming about her after-life, all the while realising how much she will miss her person.


An Old Cat’s Dying Soliloquy


Years saw me still Acasto’s mansion grace,
The gentlest, fondest of the tabby race;
Before him frisking through the garden glade,
Or at his feet in quiet slumber laid;
Praised for my glossy back of zebra streak,
And wreaths of jet encircling round my neck;
Soft paws that ne’er extend the clawing nail,
The snowy whisker and the sinuous tail;
Now feeble age each glazing eyeball dims,
And pain has stiffened these once supple limbs;
Fate of eight lives the forfeit gasp obtains,
And e’en the ninth creeps languid through my veins.
Much sure of good the future has in store,
When on my master’s hearth I bask no more,
In those blest climes, where fishes oft forsake
The winding river and the glassy lake;
There, as our silent-footed race behold
The crimson spots and fins of lucid gold,
Venturing without the shielding waves to play,
They gasp on shelving banks, our easy prey:
While birds unwinged hop careless o’er the ground,
And the plump mouse incessant trots around,
Near wells of cream that mortals never skim,
Warm marum creeping round their shallow brim;
Where green valerian tufts, luxuriant spread,
Cleanse the sleek hide and form the fragrant bed.
Yet, stern dispenser of the final blow,
Before thou lay’st an aged grimalkin low,
Bend to her last request a gracious ear,
Some days, some few short days, to linger here;
So to the guardian of his tabby’s weal
Shall softest purrs these tender truths reveal:
‘Ne’er shall thy now expiring puss forget
To thy kind care her long-enduring debt,
Nor shall the joys that painless realms decree
Efface the comforts once bestowed by thee;
To countless mice thy chicken-bones preferred,
Thy toast to golden fish and wingless bird;
O’er marum borders and valerian bed
Thy Selima shall bend her moping head,
Sigh that no more she climbs, with grateful glee,
Thy downy sofa and thy cradling knee;
Nay, e’en at founts of cream shall sullen swear,
Since thou, her more loved master, art not there.’



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