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Old Deuteronomy’s lived a long time;

He’s a Cat who has lived many lives in succession.

He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme

A long while before Queen Victoria’s accession.

Old Deuteronomy’s buried nine wives

And more—I am tempted to say, ninety-nine;

And his numerous progeny prospers and thrives

And the village is proud of him in his decline.

At the sight of that placid and bland physiognomy,

When he sits in the sun on the vicarage wall,

The Oldest Inhabitant croaks: ‘Well, of all . . .

Things . . . Can it be . . . really! . . . No! . . . Yes! . . .

Ho! hi!

Oh, my eye!

My sight may be failing, but yet I confess

I believe it is Old Deuteronomy!’

Old Deuteronomy sits in the street,

He sits in the High Street on market day;

The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat,

But the dogs and the herdsmen will turn them away.

The cars and the lorries run over the kerb,

And the villagers put up a notice: road closed—

So that nothing untoward may chance to disturb

Deuteronomy’s rest when he feels so disposed.

Or when he’s engaged in domestic economy:

And the Oldest Inhabitant croaks: ‘Well, of all . . .

Things . . . Can it be . . . really! . . . No! . . . Yes! . . .

Ho! hi!

Oh, my eye!

I’m deaf of an ear now, but yet I can guess

That the cause of the trouble is Old Deuteronomy!’

Old Deuteronomy lies on the floor

Of the Fox and the French Horn for his afternoon sleep;

And when the men say: ‘There’s just time for one more,’

The the landlady from her back parlour will peep

And say: ‘Now then, out you go, by the back door,

For Old Deuteronomy mustn’t be woken—

I’ll have the police if there’s any uproar’—

And out they all shuffle, without a word spoken.

The digestive repose of that feline’s gastronomy

Must never be broken, whatever befall:

And the Oldest Inhabitant croaks: ‘Well, of all . . .

Things . . . Can it be . . . really! . . . No! . . . Yes! . . .

Ho! hi!

Oh, my eye!

My legs may be tottery, I must go slow

And be careful of Old Deuteronomy!’