Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy "To go outside, and there perchance to stay Or to remain within: that is the question: Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather That Nature rains on those who roam abroad, Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet, And so by dozing melt the solid hours That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state A wish to venture forth without delay, Then when the portal's opened up, to stand As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep; To choose not knowing when we may once more Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball; For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob, Or work a lock or slip a window-catch, And going out and coming in were made As simple as the breaking of a bowl, What cat would bear the houselhold's petty plagues, The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom, The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears, The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks That fur is heir to, when, of his own will, He might his exodus or entrance make With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear, Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard, But that the dread of our unheeded cries And scraches at a barricaded door No claw can open up, dispels our nerve And makes us rather bear our humans' faults Than run away to unguessed miseries? Thus caution doth make house cats of us all; And thus the bristling hair of resolution Is softened up with the pale brush of thought, And since our choices hinge on weighty things, We pause upon the threshold of decision.
Henry N. Beard
hamlets quotescats quotessoliloquy quotesperchance quotesstay quotesremain quotesquestion quotestis quotescat quotessuffer quotescuffs quotesbuffets quotesinclement quotesweather quotesnature quotesrains quotesroam quotesabroad quotesnap quotesscrap quotescarpet quotesdozing quotesmelt quotessolid quoteshours quotesclog quotesclocks quotesbright quotesgears quotessullen quotestime quotesstall quotesdinner quotesbell quotessit quotesstare quotesoutdoors quotesstate quotesventure quotesdelay quotesportals quotesopened quotesstand quotestransfixed quotesdoubt quotesprowl quotessleep quoteschoose quotesknowing quotesreadmittance quotesgain quotesaye quoteshairball quotespaw quotesshaped quotesturn quotesknob quoteswork quoteslock quotesslip quoteswindowcatch quotescoming quotesmade quotessimple quotesbreaking quotesbowl quotesbear quoteshouselholds quotespetty quotesplagues quotescooks quoteswellpracticed quoteskicks quotesbutlers quotesbroom quotesinfants quotescareless quotespokes quotestickled quotesears quotestrampled quotestail quotesdaily quotesshocks quotesfur quotesheir quotesexodus quotesentrance quotesmake quotesmere quotesmitten quotesspaniels quotesfear quotesstrays quotestrespassing quotesneighbors quotesyard quotesdread quotesunheeded quotescries quotesscraches quotesbarricaded quotesdoor quotesclaw quotesopen quotesdispels quotesnerve quotesmakes quoteshumans quotesfaults quotesrun quotesunguessed quotesmiseries quotescaution quotesdoth quoteshouse quotescats quotesbristling quoteshair quotesresolution quotessoftened quotespale quotesbrush quotesthought quoteschoices quoteshinge quotesweighty quotesthings quotespause quotesthreshold quotesdecision quotes
Abyssinias "I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: A huge four-footed limestone form Sits in the desert, sinking in the sand. Its whiskered face, though marred by wind and storm, Still flaunts the dainty ears, the collar band And feline traits the sculptor well portrayed: The bearing of a born aristocrat, The stubborn will no mortal can dissuade. And on its base, in long-dead alphabets, These words are set: "Reward for missing cat! His name is Abyssinias, pet of pets; I, Ozymandias, will a fortune pay For his return. he heard me speak of vets - O foolish King! And so he ran away.
Henry N. Beard
abyssinias quotesmet quotestraveler quotesantique quotesland quoteshuge quotesfourfooted quoteslimestone quotesform quotessits quotesdesert quotessinking quotessand quoteswhiskered quotesface quotesmarred quoteswind quotesstorm quotesflaunts quotesdainty quotesears quotescollar quotesband quotesfeline quotestraits quotessculptor quotesportrayed quotesbearing quotesborn quotesaristocrat quotesstubborn quotesmortal quotesdissuade quotesbase quoteslongdead quotesalphabets quoteswords quotesset quotesreward quotesmissing quotescat quotesabyssinias quotespet quotespets quotesozymandias quotesfortune quotespay quotesreturn quotesheard quotesspeak quotesvets quoteso quotesfoolish quotesking quotesran quotes
Ah, fish, there is no fare Quite like a flounder! They surely will not miss A piece or two from stacks of sole like this; I'll steal a few, but leave the lion's share. Look! the lamplight on the lane is pretty They're back from walking out on Dover Beach. I think I'll hide and spare myselpf the speech, For we are in a world untouched by pity Where ignorant humans curse the kitty." (From Dover Sole)
Henry N. Beard
ah quotesfish quotesfare quotesflounder quotessurely quotesmiss quotespiece quotesstacks quotessole quotessteal quotesleave quoteslions quotesshare quoteslamplight quoteslane quotespretty quotesback quoteswalking quotesdover quotesbeach quoteshide quotesspare quotesmyselpf quotesspeech quotesworld quotesuntouched quotespity quotesignorant quoteshumans quotescurse quoteskitty quotessole quotes
If you can try to nap where someone's sitting, Although there is another empty chair, Then rub against his ankle without quitting Until he rises from your favorite lair; If you can whine and whimper by a portal Until the bolted door is opened wide, Then howl as if you've got a wound that's mortal Until he comes and lets you back inside; If you can give a guest a nasty spiking, But purr when you are petted by a thief; If you can find the food not to your liking Because they put some cheese in with the beef; If you can leave no proffered hand unbitten, And pay no heed to any rule or ban, then all will say you are a Cat, my kitten. And - which is more - you'll make a fool of Man!
Henry N. Beard
nap quotessomeones quotessitting quotesempty quoteschair quotesrub quotesankle quotesquitting quotesrises quotesfavorite quoteslair quoteswhine quoteswhimper quotesportal quotesbolted quotesdoor quotesopened quoteswide quoteshowl quoteswound quotesmortal quoteslets quotesback quotesinside quotesgive quotesguest quotesnasty quotesspiking quotespurr quotespetted quotesthief quotesfind quotesfood quotesliking quotesput quotescheese quotesbeef quotesleave quotesproffered quoteshand quotesunbitten quotespay quotesheed quotesrule quotesban quotescat quoteskitten quotesmake quotesfool quotesman quotes
And indeed there will be time To wonder, 'Do I shed?' and, 'Do I shed?' Time to turn back and stretch out on the bed, And give myself a bath before I'm fed - (They will say: 'It's the short-haired ones I prefer.') My flea collar buckled neatly in my fur, My expression cool and distant but softened by a gentle purr - (They will say: 'I'm allergic to his fur!') Do I dare Jump up on the table? In an instant there is time For excursions and inversions that will make me seem unstable." (From The Love Song of J. Morris Housecat)
Henry N. Beard
time quotesdo quotesshed quotestime quotesturn quotesback quotesstretch quotesbed quotesgive quotesbath quotesfed quotesits quotesshorthaired quotesprefer quotesflea quotescollar quotesbuckled quotesneatly quotesfur quotesexpression quotescool quotesdistant quotessoftened quotesgentle quotespurr quotesim quotesallergic quotesfur quotesdare quotesjump quotestable quotesinstant quotesexcursions quotesinversions quotesmake quotesunstable quoteslove quotessong quotesj quotesmorris quoteshousecat quotes
Let us roam then, you and I, When the evening is splayed out across the sky [... ] Paths that follow like a nagging accusation Of a minor violation To lead you to the ultimate reproof... Oh, do not say, 'Bad kitty!' Let us go and prowl the city. In the rooms the cats run to and fro Auditioning for a Broadway show." (From The Love Song of J. Morris Housecat)
Henry N. Beard
roam quotesevening quotessplayed quotessky quotespaths quotesfollow quotesnagging quotesaccusation quotesminor quotesviolation quoteslead quotesultimate quotesreproof quotesbad quoteskitty quotesprowl quotescity quotesrooms quotescats quotesrun quotesfro quotesauditioning quotesbroadway quotesshow quoteslove quotessong quotesj quotesmorris quoteshousecat quotes
The End of the Raven "On a night quite unenchanting, when the rain was downward slanting I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for. Tipsy and a bit unshaven, in a tone I found quite craven, Poe was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door. 'Raven's very tasty, ' thought I, as I tiptoed o'er the floor. 'There is nothing I like more.' [... ] Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered In a voice that shrieked and sputtered, his two cents' worth - 'Nevermore.' While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up, Then I crouched and quickly leapt up, pouncing on the feathered bore. Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore - Only this and not much more.
Henry N. Beard
end quotesraven quotesnight quotesunenchanting quotesrain quotesdownward quotesslanting quotesawakened quotesranting quotesman quotescatch quotesmice quotestipsy quotesbit quotesunshaven quotestone quotesfound quotescraven quotespoe quotestalking quotesperched quoteschamber quotesdoor quotesravens quotestasty quotes quotesthought quotestiptoed quotesoer quotesfloor quotesthere quotesmore quotesfluttered quotesstanding quotesstockstill quotesuttered quotesvoice quotesshrieked quotessputtered quotescents quotesworth quotesnevermore quotesdirge quotesbirdbrain quotessilently quotescrept quotescrouched quotesquickly quotesleapt quotespouncing quotesfeathered quotesbore quotesheap quotesplumage quotesblood quotesgore quotes
To a Vase "How do I break thee? Let me count the ways. I break thee if thou art at any height My paw can reach, when, smarting from some slight, I sulk, or have one of my crazy days. I break thee with an accidental graze Or twitch of tail, if I should take a fright. I break thee out of pure and simple spite The way I broke the jar of mayonnaise. I break thee if a bug upon thee sits. I break thee if I'm in a playful mood, And then I wrestle with the shiny bits. I break thee if I do not like my food. And if someone they shards together fits, I'll break thee once again when thou art glued.
Henry N. Beard
vase quotesbreak quotesthee quotescount quotesways quotesthee quotesthou quotesart quotesheight quotespaw quotesreach quotessmarting quotesslight quotessulk quotescrazy quotesdays quotesaccidental quotesgraze quotestwitch quotestail quotesfright quotespure quotessimple quotesspite quotesbroke quotesjar quotesmayonnaise quotesbug quotessits quotesplayful quotesmood quoteswrestle quotesshiny quotesbits quotesfood quotesshards quotesfits quotesglued quotes
The Prologue to TERRITORY LOST "Of cats' first disobedience, and the height Of that forbidden tree whose doom'd ascent Brought man into the world to help us down And made us subject to his moods and whims, For though we may have knock'd an apple loose As we were carried safely to the ground, We never said to eat th'accursed thing, But yet with him were exiled from our place With loss of hosts of sweet celestial mice And toothsome baby birds of paradise, And so were sent to stray across the earth And suffer dogs, until some greater Cat Restore us, and regain the blissful yard, Sing, heavenly Mews, that on the ancient banks Of Egypt's sacred river didst inspire That pharaoh who first taught the sons of men To worship members of our feline breed: Instruct me in th'unfolding of my tale; Make fast my grasp upon my theme's dark threads That undistracted save by naps and snacks I may o'ercome our native reticence And justify the ways of cats to men.
Henry N. Beard
prologue quotesterritory quoteslost quotescats quotesdisobedience quotesheight quotesforbidden quotestree quotesdoomd quotesascent quotesbrought quotesman quotesworld quotesmade quotessubject quotesmoods quoteswhims quotesknockd quotesapple quotesloose quotescarried quotessafely quotesground quoteseat quotesthaccursed quotesthing quotesexiled quotesplace quotesloss quoteshosts quotessweet quotescelestial quotesmice quotestoothsome quotesbaby quotesbirds quotesparadise quotesstray quotesearth quotessuffer quotesdogs quotesgreater quotescat quotesrestore quotesregain quotesblissful quotesyard quotessing quotesheavenly quotesmews quotesancient quotesbanks quotesegypts quotessacred quotesriver quotesdidst quotesinspire quotespharaoh quotestaught quotessons quotesmen quotesworship quotesmembers quotesfeline quotesbreed quotesinstruct quotesthunfolding quotestale quotesmake quotesfast quotesgrasp quotesthemes quotesdark quotesthreads quotesundistracted quotessave quotesnaps quotessnacks quotesoercome quotesnative quotesreticence quotesjustify quotesways quotescats quotesmen quotes