The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 1, 2014

January 1, 1560

La Pleiade was a group of French Renaissance poets and the good friends Pierre de Ronsard (1524 to 1585) and Joachim du Bellay (ca 1522 to January 1, 1560) were members of this group. Ronsard hated cats, and his view was more typical of the times, than that of Joachim du Bellay. Bellay had a gray cat named Belaud and when his cat died in 1558, Bellay composed a long epitaph; this is a sample:

C’est Bélaud, mon petit Chat gris:
Bélaud, qui fut par avanture
Le plus bel oeuvre que Nature
Fit onc en matiere de Chats:
C’étoit Bélaud, la mort aux Rats,
Bélaud, dont la beauté fut telle,
Qu’elle est digne d’être immortelle.

and Google translate gets the gist---

This is Belaud, my little gray cat:
Belaud, which was by peradventure
The most beautiful work that Nature
[made]... in matters of Cats:
It was Belaud, death to Rats
Belaud whose beauty was such,
It is worthy to be immortal.

What turned out to be immortal was the poetry of Ronsard and du Bellay.

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