Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes

ode-to-a-dead-cat.jpgCaveat! My cat(s) is not dead! I just love this poem, the author, and the inspiration for the ditty, Horace Walpole’s notorious Gothi inclinations (he invented the genre, dontchaknow). He even coined a word for spooky atmosphere: gloomth!

Apparently this is a popular poem in countries and cultures that care about such frivolities of literature… but I had never heard of it until a recent obsession with Horace Walpole and Strawberry Hill sent me scurrying to the stacks to read everything I could get my little paws on.

Written by Thomas Gray (1716-1771), ye olde BFF of Walpole, after Walpole’s cat actually did drown in one of his giant chinese fishbowls, to spoof his friend’s obsession with gothick romanticism.

Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes

‘TWAS on a lofty vase’s side,
Where China’s gayest art had dy’d
   The azure flowers that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclin’d,
   Gaz’d 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 beauteous forms were seen to glide,
   The Genii of the stream;
Their scaly armour’s Tyrian hue,
Through 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 gulph between;
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smil’d.)
The slippery verge her feet beguil’d;
   She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew’d to every watery God,
   Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stir’d:
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
   A favourite 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 wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
   Nor all, that glisters, gold.

More Info on Horace Walpole:

Pride and Prejudice BLOO-RAY!

Pride & Prejudice Blu-ray Edition (BBC 1995)
BOOYAH! I’m so excited. P&P prints have been notoriously bad. The Amazon page above has several nice examples of the cleanup they’ve done to get this print sparkle.
I’ve owned nearly every edition of this series, from the initial VHS, which I watched til it disintigrated, and 2 subsequent dvd editions of varying states of UGH. Vive le Hi Def! I can’t wait.
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Edgar Allan Poe: Happy 200th!

As we celebrated the almost inauguration of our super cool president, I remembered to light a little candle to Edgar. When I suddenly realized it was his 200th birthday. Looks like someone else noticed too.
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Edgar Allen Poe
January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849

Hugs and Dark and Sparkly kisses to my Sepulchritudinous co-horts, who have been stabbing birthday cakes in Edgar’s name for many these long gloomy years. Especially Bat, who started when she was like, eight.

I’m excited.

sd-10.jpgAll ya’ll probably have seen this, but it is so exciting. Rawr!
Volks has posted a sentimental history of super dollfie, contests and games, and a nearly complete sketch of their events for the year! This includes TWO US Dolpas for June and November. View: Super Dollfie 10th Anniversary Events Schedule
Dolpa3 in NYC.
June 7th – 8th 2008
Fashion Institute of Technology NYC, NY
In conjunction with FDQ. Registration will be through the Volks site, when they post it. It looks like Volks is beta-testing a new store interface on the Japanese side. Neat!
Also: greatest thing about the writer’s strike? It sent us scurrying for downloadable content on the internet. Yay for BBC programming! Mr. Kallisti has been on a quest to get me mostly Eastenders (I died a little when they cancelled the series on BBC America), every available costume drama and mystery thriller airing. We just transfer it over via wifi on the TiVo and blammo! Plays like TEEVEE.
New favorite show EVAR: Phoo Action
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From the genius who brought you Tank Girl and Gorillaz, Jamie Hewlett. Whitey with the red hair back there is wearing Buddha’s magic underpants!
(gosh it is hard to get around to posting even when I’m in the moooooood! bizzy, bizzy!)

Phat Ladies Ahoy!

James Gillray is my true love.
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And no, it is not a mistake that the pudgy funster on the right looks like Charles James Fox. o_0

“Following the Fashion” a December 1794 caricature by James Gillray, which satirizes incipient neo-Classical trends in women’s clothing styles, particularly the trend towards what were known at the time as “short-bodied gowns” (i.e. short-bodiced or high-waisted dresses). This caricature satirizes the figure-type which is most flattered by high-waisted dresses, contrasting it with a body-type which was not flattered by the style — as well as playing on the perennial struggle between attempts of the “Cits” (families of rich merchants in the City of London area) to imitate the stylish aristocrats of west London, versus the determination of the aristocrats to socially repulse the Cits, and consider them to be still unstylish.
Text in image:
“St. James’s giving the Ton: a soul without a body” [i.e. bodice]
“Cheapside aping the mode: a body without a soul.”

I love fat ladies in art. Unfortunately, most of them are unflattering caricatures. But because I don’t find fat unflattering, I love them anyways. And that last drawing “Dido in Despair” makes me unbelievably happy.

Continue reading Phat Ladies Ahoy!

I Cari Estinti

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Picked this up last night: Marion Peck’s I Cari Estinti (The Dearly Departed). Sentimental portraits of small children and pets.
You can picture how fast my little legs took me to the check out counter at the downtown Berkeley comic shop. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! The little girl above is how I picture Imogen. Just perfectly. I even have a wig similar. Sigh. I lurves her so much!
Marion Peck favorites: Hair, Divine Swine, and The Happy Captain!

The Tudors

I don’t know how I feel about this. Article at New York Times.

I just don’t know why they can’t do something more rock ‘n’ roll and keep the costumes more traditional. Or something. I’m not that stuffy, I’ve loved some non-traditional adaptations. But they have to be good. Like “Titus.” Yarm, yarm!
But I really haven’t liked much of the recent Tudor pix or series, and one of the reasons is their modernist approach and all that “must get the ignorant masses to relate to crazy tudor england” stuff. I love Jonathon Rhys Meyers though. And Jonathon Rhys Meyers in gold lame even better.
I guess after Anne of the Thousand Days it is all downhill.
Also, why “The Tudors”? Looks like it is just one Tudor to me. Meh.