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The Rubáiyát of a Persian Kitten   By: (1863-1935)

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The Rubáiyát of a Persian Kitten

By Oliver Herford

[Illustration]

New York · Charles Scribner's Sons Mcmvi

Copyright, 1904, by Oliver Herford

The De Vinne Press.

The Rubáiyát of a Persian Kitten

Wake! for the Golden Cat has put to flight The Mouse of Darkness with his Paw of Light: Which means, in Plain and simple every day Unoriental Speech The Dawn is bright.

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They say the Early Bird the Worm shall taste. Then rise, O Kitten! Wherefore, sleeping, waste The Fruits of Virtue? Quick! the Early Bird Will soon be on the Flutter O make haste!

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The Early Bird has gone, and with him ta'en The Early Worm Alas! the Moral's plain, O Senseless Worm! Thus, thus we are repaid For Early Rising I shall doze again.

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The Mouse makes merry 'mid the Larder Shelves, The Bird for Dinner in the Garden delves. I often wonder what the creatures eat One half so toothsome as they are Themselves.

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And that Inverted Bowl of Skyblue Delf That helpless lies upon the Pantry Shelf Lift not your eyes to It for help, for It Is quite as empty as you are yourself.

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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!

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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.

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What out of airy Nothing to invoke A senseless Something to resist the stroke Of unpermitted Paw upon the pain Of Everlasting Penalties if broke.

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I sometimes think the Pussy Willows grey Are Angel Kittens who have lost their way, And every Bulrush on the river bank A Cat Tail from some lovely Cat astray.

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Sometimes I think perchance that Allah may, When he created Cats, have thrown away The Tails He marred in making, and they grew To Cat Tails and to Pussy Willows grey.

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And lately, when I was not Feeling Fit, Bereft alike of Piety and Wit, There came an Angel Shape and offered me A Fragrant Plant and bid me taste of it.

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'Twas that reviving Herb, that Spicy Weed, The Cat Nip. Tho' 'tis good in time of need, Ah, feed upon it lightly, for who knows To what unlovely antics it may lead.

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Strange is it not? that of the numbers who Before me passed this Door of Darkness thro', Not one returns thro' it again, altho' Ofttimes I've waited here an hour or two.

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'Tis but a Tent where takes his one Night's Rest A Rodent to the Realms of Death address'd, When Cook, arising, looks for him and then Baits, and prepares it for another Guest.

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They say the Lion and the Lizard keep The Courts where Jamshýd gloried and drank deep. The Lion is my cousin; I don't know Who Jamshýd is nor shall it break my sleep.

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Impotent glimpses of the Game displayed Upon the Counter temptingly arrayed; Hither and thither moved or checked or weighed, And one by one back in the Ice Chest laid.

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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 it In this Cold Prison crippled to abide?

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Some for the Glories of the Sole, and Some Mew for the proper Bowl of Milk to come... Continue reading book >>




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