To the cats at the hospital of Saint Ann


At sea, when it grows dark and nasty storms
Confuse the water with resounding waves,
The tired night-watch sailor lifts his head
To the sky, where the pole-star shows its flame,

So in these sad days when fate's against me
I turn, dear cat, to your two holy lights,
And then it seems i have two stars before
Me in the storm, that point me toward the North.

Another little cat appears; i've got
The Great Bear and the Small--both Dippers shine!
Beloved cats, the lanterns of my study,

May God protect you both from sticks and stones,
And Heaven daily feed you fish and milk:
Just give me light enough to write these songs!

-- Torquato Tasso