A thrush that sang one rustic ode
Once made a garden his abode,
And gave the owner such delight,
He grew a special favourite.
Indeed, his landlord did his best
To make him safe from every foe;
The ground about his lowly nest
Was undisturbed by spade or hoe.
And yet his song was still the same;
It even grew somewhat more tame.
At length Grimalkin spied the pet,
Resolved that he should suffer yet,
And laid his plan of devastation
So as to save his reputation;
For, in the house, from looks demure,
He passed for honest, kind, and pure.
Professing search of mice and moles,
He through the garden daily strolls,
And never seeks our thrush to catch;
But when his consort comes to hatch,
Just eats the young ones in a batch.
The sadness of the pair bereaved
Their generous guardian sorely grieved.
But yet it could not be believed
His faithful cat was in the wrong,
Though so the thrush said in his song.
The cat was therefore favoured still
To walk the garden at his will;
And hence the birds, to shun the pest,
On a pear-tree built their nest.
Though there it cost them vastly more,
It was vastly better than before.
And Gaffer Thrush directly found
His throat, when raised above the ground,
Gave forth a softer, sweeter sound.
New tunes, moreover, he had caught,
By perils and afflictions taught,
And found new things to sing about:
New scenes had brought new talents out.
So, while, improved beyond a doubt,
His own old song more clearly rang,
Far better than themselves he sang
The chants and trills of other birds;
He even mocked Grimalkin's words
With such delightful humour that
He gained the Christian name of Cat.
Let Genius tell in verse and prose.
How much to praise and friends it owes.
Good sense may be, as I suppose,
As much indebted to its foes.