Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAST DYING SPEECH AND CONFESSION OF POOR PUSS, by ANN TAYLOR

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First Line: Kind masters and misses, whoever you be
Last Line: She stopped, gave a sigh, and a struggle, and died!
Subject(s): Animals; Cats; Death - Animals

"KIND masters and misses, whoever you be,
Do stop for a moment and pity poor me!
While here on my death-bed I try to relate
My many misfortunes and miseries great.

My dear Mother Tabby I've often heard say,
That I have been a very fine cat in my day;
But the sorrows in which my whole life has been passed
Have spoiled all my beauty, and killed me at last.

Poor thoughtless young thing! if I recollect right,
I was kittened in March, on a clear frosty night;
And before I could see, or was half a week old,
I nearly had perished, the barn was so cold.

But this chilly spring I got pretty well over,
And moused in the hay-loft, or played in the clover,
Or till I was weary, which seldom occurred,
Ran after my tail, which I took for a bird.

But, ah! my poor tail, and my pretty sleek ears!
The farmer's boy cut them all off with his shears:
How little I thought, when I licked them so clean,
I should be such a figure, not fit to be seen!

Some time after this, when the places were healed,
As I lay in the sun, sound asleep in the field,
Miss Fanny crept slyly, and gripping me fast,
Declared she had caught the sweet creature at last.

Ah me! how I struggled my freedom to gain,
But, alas! all my kicking and struggles were vain,
For she held me so tight in her pinafore tied,
That before she got home I had like to have died.

From this dreadful morning my sorrows arose!
Wherever I went I was followed with blows:
Some kicked me for nothing while quietly sleeping,
Or flogged me for daring the pantry to peep in.

And then the great dog! I shall never forget him;
How many a time my young master would set him,
And while I stood terrified, all of a quake,
Cry, 'Hey, cat!' and 'Seize her, boy! give her a shake!'

Sometimes, when so hungry I could not forbear
Just taking a scrap, that I thought they could spare,
Oh! what have I suffered with beating and banging,
Or starved for a fortnight, or threatened with hanging.

But kicking, and beating, and starving, and that,
I have borne with the spirit becoming a cat:
There was but one thing which I could not sustain,
So great was my sorrow, so hopeless my pain:—

One morning, laid safe in a warm little bed,
That down in the stable I'd carefully spread,
Three sweet little kittens as ever you saw,
I hid, as I thought, in some trusses of straw.

I was never so happy, I think, nor so proud,
I mewed to my kittens, and purred out aloud,
And thought with delight of the merry carousing
We'd have, when I first took them with me a-mousing.

But how shall I tell you the sorrowful ditty?
I'm sure it would melt even Growler to pity;
For the very next morning my darlings I found
Lying dead by the horse-pond, all mangled and drown

Poor darlings, I dragged them along to the stable,
And did all to warm them a mother was able;
But, alas! all my licking and mewing were vain,
And I thought I should never be happy again.

However, time gave me a little relief,
And mousing diverted the thoughts of my grief;
And at last I began to be gay and content,
Till one dreadful night I sincerely repent.

Miss Fanny was fond of a little canary,
That tempted me more than mouse, pantry, or dairy;
So, not having eaten a morsel all day,
I flew to the bird-cage, and tore it away.

Now tell me, my friends, was the like ever heard,
That a cat should be killed for just catching a bird!
And I'm sure not the slightest suspicion I had,
But that catching a mouse was exactly as bad.

Indeed I can say, with my paw on my heart,
I would not have acted a mischievous part;
But, as dear Mother Tabby was often repeating,
I thought birds and mice were on purpose for eating.

Be this as it may, when my supper was o'er,
And but a few feathers were left on the floor,
Came Fanny—and scolding, and fighting, and crying,
She gave me those bruises, of which I am dying.

But I feel that my breathing grows shorter apace,
And cold clammy sweats trickle down from my face:
I forgive little Fanny this bruise on my side"
She stopped, gave a sigh, and a struggle, and died!

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