Simon’s Backup Weblog

Thus caution doth make house cats of us all

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on February 27, 2006

As there are enough cat folk here…

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 household’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 free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbour’s yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches 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.


Found on Cix:cats, and tracked down as far as here. There’s an illustrated version too…


7 Responses to 'Thus caution doth make house cats of us all'

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  1. davesslave said,

    This is fantastic! Thanks for the link and for the post.

  2. fjm said,

    I so needed that!

  3. ladyjillian said,

    That is absolutely charming. I’m going to go link to the illustrated version (after I’ve looked at it) with credit to you….

  4. miramon said,

    Supposedly by Henry Beard (

    That took all of ten minutes… I must be slipping or something.

  5. sbisson said,

    That man gets everywhere.

    (I rather enjoyed his “French For Cats” books)

  6. ccomley said,


  7. pogodragon said,

    Wonderful stuff. Thanks for posting it.

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