Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Verses on a cat

A cat in distress,
Nothing more, nor less;
Good folks, I must faithfully tell ye,
As I am a sinner,
It waits for some dinner
To stuff out its own little belly.

You would not easily guess
All the modes of distress
Which torture the tenants of earth;
And the various evils,
Which like so many devils,
Attend the poor souls from their birth.

Some a living require,
And others desire
An old fellow out of the way;
And which is the best
I leave to be guessed,
For I cannot pretend to say.

One wants society,
Another variety,
Others a tranquil life;
Some want food,
Others, as good,
Only want a wife.

But this poor little cat
Only wanted a rat,
To stuff out its own little maw;
And it were as good
SOME people had such food,
To make them HOLD THEIR JAW!

Percy Bysshe Shelley


  1. Such a playful poem, with your own playful added image. I did not think Mr Shelley had such a sense of humour but then I am hardly an expert on Shelley or anything at all.

  2. jmb,
    heureka! After all I came to know why I'd keep in my mind what a teacher told me some 40 years ago. It was being memorized for this very occasion:
    'Sean [read: jmb], understatement is - at least - as bad as overstatement'.

    PS: I like your understatements, the more as I suppose you have forgotten more than I shall ever learn. :)

    PPS: I've been contemplating over Shelley's work and life for quite a long while, but never about his sense of humour.
    Interesting question, indeed. Thank s for the impetus.

  3. I think Shelley certainly had a sense of humour that we now would call 'dark'.

  4. Chris,
    very probably, yes.
    Is there a difference between dark and black humour? Or did the PC-army consider 'black' PI, and therefore replaced it with 'dark? :)

  5. i don't think there is a difference between the two, both are probably considered non-PC. i just think it represents a cynical worldview combined with a sharp tongue. not just shock for shock's sake.

    "cynicism is an unpleasant way of telling the truth."
    Lillian Hellman

  6. Chris,
    thanks for explaining.

    As for the quotation: Quite.

    Russell Lynes put it this way:
    Cynism - the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence.

  7. Is that your cat Sean? It's a handsome fellow. The poem and the photo complement beautifully!

  8. Long story, Jams. He had run away from his new home (ca. 35 km), obviously to find back to his original 'owner', an old man who had died.
    We found him, or rather 'Ulysses' found us and decided to stay.
    Today I do sometimes regret that - to cut it short - we managed to find his new 'noisy family'. It was really sad to let him go, as he was such a friendly calm creature, and seemed to enjoy living with us.