The Cat As A Tormentor
Shakespeare, in "Lucrece," says:
"Yet foul night-waking cat, he doth but dally,
While in his holdfast foot the weak mouse panteth."
In an essay on "The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting" (1753), the cat is
alluded to in the frontispiece--a cat at play with a mouse, below which
is the couplet:
The cat doth play,
And after slay.
Giovanni Batista Casti, in his book, "Tre Giuli" (1762), likens the cat
to one who lends money, and suddenly pounces on the debtor:
Thus sometimes with a mouse, ere nip,
The cat will on her hapless victim smile,
Until at length she gives the fatal grip.
Again, John Philips, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, in
his poem of "The Splendid Shilling," referring to debtors, writes:
Grimalkin to Domestick Vermin sworn
An everlasting Foe, with watchful Eye
Lies nightly brooding o'er a chinky Gap
Protending her fell Claws, to thoughtless Mice