An ancient Celtic poem: the monk and his pet cat

 

I and my white Pangur
Have each his special art:
His mind is set on hunting mice,
Mine is upon my special craft.

I love to rest – better than any fame! –
With close study at my little book;
White Pangur does not envy me:
He loves his childish play.

When in our house we two are all alone –
A tale without tedium!
We have sport never-ending!
Something to exercise our wit.

At times by feats of derring-do
A mouse sticks in his net,
While into my net there drops
A difficult problem of hard meaning.

He points his full shining eye
Against the  fence of the wall:
I point my keen though feeble eye
Against the keenness of science.

 

He rejoices with quick leaps
When in his sharp claw sticks a mouse:
I too rejoice when I have grasped
A problem difficult and dearly loved.

Though we are thus at all times
Neither hinders the other,
Each of us pleased with his own art
Amuses himself alone.

He is a master of the work
Which every day he does:
While I am at my own work
To bring difficulty to clearness.

 

 

 

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