Henry N. Beard

“The Prologue to TERRITORY LOST"Of cats' first disobedience, and the heightOf that forbidden tree whose doom'd ascentBrought man into the world to help us downAnd made us subject to his moods and whims,For though we may have knock'd an apple looseAs we were carried safely to the ground,We never said to eat th'accursed thing,But yet with him were exiled from our placeWith loss of hosts of sweet celestial miceAnd toothsome baby birds of paradise,And so were sent to stray across the earthAnd suffer dogs, until some greater CatRestore us, and regain the blissful yard,Sing, heavenly Mews, that on the ancient banksOf Egypt's sacred river didst inspireThat pharaoh who first taught the sons of menTo worship members of our feline breed:Instruct me in th'unfolding of my tale;Make fast my grasp upon my theme's dark threadsThat undistracted save by naps and snacksI may o'ercome our native reticenceAnd justify the ways of cats to men.”
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