Thomas Schall - Lauten

On a cat who has chewed his master's lute strings:
Are these the strings that poets feigne
have clear'd the Ayre, and clam'd the mayne?
Charm'd wolves, and from the mountaine creasts
Made forests dance with all their beasts?
Could these neglected shreads you see
Inspire a Lute of Ivorie
And make it speake? Oh! Think then what
Hath beene committed by my catt,
Who, in the silence of this night
Hath gnawne these cords, and marrd them quite.
Leaving such reliques as may be
For frets, not for my lute, but me.
Pusse I will curse thee, may'st thou dwell
With some dry Hermit in a cell
Where rat neere peeped, where mouse neere fedd
And flies go supperless to bed;
Or with some close par'd brother, where
Thou'lt fast each Sabbath in the yeare;
Or else prophane be hanged on Munday,
For bothering a mouse on Sunday;
Or may'st thou tumble from some tower,
And miss to land upon all fower,
Taking a fall that may untie
Eight of nine lives, and let them flye.
Or may the midnight embers sindge
Thy daintie coate, or Jane beswinge
Thy hide, when she shall take thee biting
Her cheese clouts, or her house beshiting.
What, was there neere a ratt nor mouse,
Nor Buttery ope? Nought in the house
But harmlesse Lutestrings could suffice
Thy paunch, and draw thy glaring eyes?
Did not thy conscious stomach finde
Nature prophan'd, that kind with kind
Should staunch his hunger? Thinke on that,
Thou caniball, and Cyclops catt.
For know, thou wretch, that every string
Is a catt-gutt, which art doth spinne
Into a thread; and how suppose
Dunstan, that snuff'd the divell's nose,
Should bid these strings revive, as once
He did the calfe, from naked bones;
Or I, to plague thee for thy sinne,
Should draw a circle, and beginne
To conjure, for I am, look to't,
An Oxford scholer, and can doo't.
Then with three setts of mopps and mowes,
Seaven of odd words, and motley showes,
A thousand tricks, that may be taken
From Faustus, Lambe, or Fryar Bacon:
I should beginne to call my strings
My catlings, and my mynikins;
And they recalled, straight should fall
To mew, to purr, to catterwaule
From puss's belly. Sure as death,
Pusse should be an Engastranith;
Pusse should be sent for to the king
For a strange bird, or some rare thing.
Pusse should be sent to farre and neere,
As she some cunning woman were.
Pusse should be carried up and downe,
From shire to shire, from Towne to Towne,
Like to the camel, Leane as a Hagg,
The Elephant or Apish nagg.
For a strange sight; pusse should be sung
In Lousy Ballads, midst the Throng
At markets, with as good a grace
As Agincourt, or Chevy-Chase.
The Troy-sprung Brittan would foregoe
His pedigree he chaunteth soe,
And singe that Merlin - long deceast -
Returned is in a nyne-liv'd beast.
Thus, pusse, thou seest what might betide thee;
But I forbeare to hurt or chide thee;
For may be pusse was melancholy
And so to make her blithe and jolly,
Finding these strings, shee'ld have a fitt
Of mirth; nay, pusse, if that were it,
Thus I revenge mee, that as thou
Hast played on them, I've plaid on you;
And as thy touch was nothing fine,
Soe I've but scratch'd these notes of mine.

Thomas Master (1603-43)