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The Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten

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The Rubáiyát of aPersian Kitten Wake! for the Golden Cat has put to flightThe Mouse of Darkness with his Paw of Light:Which means, in Plain and simple every-dayUnoriental Speech—The Dawn is bright.   They say the Early Bird the Worm shall taste.Then rise, O Kitten! Wherefore, sleeping, wasteThe Fruits of Virtue? Quick! the Early BirdWill soon be on the Flutter—O make haste!   The Early Bird has gone, and with him ta’enThe Early Worm—Alas! the Moral’s plain,O Senseless Worm! Thus, thus we are repaidFor Early Rising—I shall doze again.   The Mouse makes merry ’mid the Larder Shelves,The Bird for Dinner in the Garden delves.I often wonder what the creatures eatOne half so toothsome as they are Themselves.   And that Inverted Bowl of Skyblue DelfThat helpless lies upon the Pantry Shelf—Lift not your eyes to It for help, for ItIs quite as empty as you are yourself.   The Ball no question makes of Ayes or Noes,But right or left, as strikes the Kitten, goes;Yet why, altho’ I toss it Far Afield,It still returneth—Goodness only knows!   A Secret Presence that my likeness feigns,And yet, quicksilver-like, eludes my pains—In vain I look for Him behind the glass;He is not there, and yet He still remains.   What out of airy Nothing to invokeA senseless Something to resist the strokeOf unpermitted Paw—upon the painOf Everlasting Penalties—if broke.   I sometimes think the Pussy-Willows greyAre Angel Kittens who have lost their way,And every Bulrush on the river bankA Cat-Tail from some lovely Cat astray.   Sometimes I think perchance that Allah may,When he created Cats, have thrown awayThe Tails He marred in making, and they grewTo Cat-Tails and to Pussy-Willows grey.   And lately, when I was not Feeling Fit,Bereft alike of Piety and Wit,There came an Angel Shape and offered meA Fragrant Plant and bid me taste of it.   ’Twas that reviving Herb, that Spicy Weed,The Cat-Nip. Tho’ ’tis good in time of need,Ah, feed upon it lightly, for who knowsTo what unlovely antics it may lead.   Strange—is it not?—that of the numbers whoBefore me passed this Door of Darkness thro’,Not one returns thro’ it again, altho’Ofttimes I’ve waited here an hour or two.   ’Tis but a Tent where takes his one Night’s RestA Rodent to the Realms of Death address’d,When Cook, arising, looks for him and then—Baits, and prepares it for another Guest.   They say the Lion and the Lizard keepThe Courts where Jamshýd gloried and drank deep.The Lion is my cousin; I don’t knowWho Jamshýd is—nor shall it break my sleep.   Impotent glimpses of the Game displayedUpon the Counter—temptingly arrayed;Hither and thither moved or checked or weighed,And one by one back in the Ice Chest laid.   What if the Sole could fling the Ice aside,And with me to some Area’s haven glide—Were’t not a Shame, were’t not a shame for itIn this Cold Prison crippled to abide? ...