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Ode On The Death Of A Favourite Cat Drowned In A Tub Of Goldfishes Analysis

Author: Poetry of Thomas Gray Type: Poetry Views: 1810

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'Twas on a lofty vase's side,

Where China's gayest art had dy'd

The azure flow'rs that blow;

Demurest of the tabby kind,

The pensive Selima, reclin'd,

Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;

The fair round face, the snowy beard,

The velvet of her paws,

Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,

Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,

She saw: and purr'd applause.

Still had she gaz'd; but 'midst the tide

Two angel forms were seen to glide,

The Genii of the stream;

Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue

Thro' richest purple to the view

Betray'd a golden gleam.

The hapless Nymph with wonder saw:

A whisker first and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,

She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize.

What female heart can gold despise?

What cat's averse to fish?

Presumptuous Maid! with looks intent

Again she stretch'd, again she bent,

Nor knew the gulf between.

(Malignant Fate sat by, and smil'd)

The slipp'ry verge her feet beguil'd,

She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood

She mew'd to ev'ry wat'ry god,

Some speedy aid to send.

No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;

Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.

A Fav'rite has no friend!

From hence, ye Beauties, undeceiv'd,

Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,

And be with caution bold.

Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes

And heedless hearts is lawful prize,

Nor all, that glisters, gold.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

This poem is quite clearly about the illuminati, and the new world order and the mark of the beast. Anyone that can\'t see this is a fool.

| Posted on 2012-12-12 | by a guest

.: :.

The poem parodies the requirements of neoclassical decorum. While an elegy is supposed to be a formal and sustained lament for the death of a beloved person, the poem applies this elevated genre to a modest, lowly topic. This undermines the initial expectations in a satirical way.

| Posted on 2011-05-16 | by a guest

.: :.

I would like to correct the message posted on 2005-04-04. The poem was not written for Horace Wallace, but for Horace Walpole whom was a dear friend to Thomas Gray.

| Posted on 2011-04-22 | by a guest

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this helped on my fınal exam in which english literature... thank you!

| Posted on 2011-04-11 | by a guest

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I have to study this poem as a part of my course , all the above posts helped me with my studies.Thank you all!

| Posted on 2011-01-09 | by a guest

.: :.

this is a mock-heroic poem and it basically just starts off with the same kind of structure but ends with a moral and a message.

| Posted on 2010-10-29 | by a guest

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We were studying this in my Romantic Literature class and guess what? The cat really is a cat. The poem was written for Grey\'s friend whose cat really did drown in a tub of goldfish. However, Thomas Grey was writing this in irony because odes were not generally written about average people and especially not cats at that time.

| Posted on 2010-09-28 | by a guest

.: :.

i agree with the comment posted on 2005-04-04 100% because i have just done an analysis on this poem and found that it totally refers to the human life because we as humans do think we are superior to other living things and we do have lusts for things just different people have different lusts just like the cat and the fish.

| Posted on 2010-02-19 | by a guest

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this seemed to me a very difficult poem initially but after reading everyone's comments i coud understand it better and analyse it correctly -- adarsh

| Posted on 2010-01-17 | by a guest

.: :.

in this poem, the cat is just a metaphor for life. the poem explains that you have to think twice before you do something big with your life and you should not jusdge anything to quickly. My teacher taught us this today in class because we were all doing a presentation on it and all of us got it wrong.

| Posted on 2009-12-01 | by a guest

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I am analyzing this poem as part of my english project and the last person's post helped a lot. Thank you very much.

| Posted on 2009-06-07 | by a guest

.: :.

the poem contains elements which are Mock Heroic, thus making a matter which is realisitcally trivial, appear grand.
Also, to add to this, i also find it remarkable how the quote, "all that glisters is not gold", is still true in today's society.
Gray, or shakespeare were clearly well ahead of their time when writing their poems.

| Posted on 2009-02-09 | by a guest

.: :.

Clearly the poem is comic. To suggest that the moral is to be taken seriously ignores the comic nature of the poem. To compare the accidental drowning of the cat to any kind of moral for human endeavors misses the final joke on the reader. Namely, that the last stanza is intended as humorously as the rest of the poem.

| Posted on 2008-11-13 | by a guest

.: :.

Just to correct the above statement,The Merchant of Venice was written about 150 years prior to this poem, not 300.

| Posted on 2008-10-01 | by a guest

.: Ode :.

Wriiten for friend Horace Wallace's cat, Ode is a humourous poem written in light verse with a simple rhyme scheme, A A B C C B. The moral of this poem is that all that glisters is not gold, a theme borrowed from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, written some three hundred years earlier.
The first stanza contains adjectives such as "lofty", "gay", and "demure", which convey a sense of superiority, that is ironically about to be reversed. Also, in the first stanza, the fish aquarium is reffered to as a "lake", which allows the reader to apperceive the vastness of the territory that Selema, the cat, feels superiority over.
The second stanza describes Selema's feline qualities, her "velvet paws", "ears of jet" and "snowy beard". These aid in painting a picture of the cat, and her joy in the event to come, portrayed by her "consious tail" that anyone who has ever seen a cat can relate to.
The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth stanzas complete the story of the misfortunate cat. Her lust for fish is compared with a woman's lust for gold. This is key for the last line, "nor all, that glisters, gold", because the cat thought it would be rewarding to catch the fish, but it lead to her demise.
Thomas Gray's "Ode" humourously reminds the reader not to jump to conclusions based on appearances, but to research deeper into the subject then making an informed decision.

| Posted on 2005-04-04 | by Approved Guest

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