top of page

艾性夫《貓犬歎》“Sighing over my cat and dog” by Ai Xingfu (fl. late 13th century)















For my cat [I] offer fish flesh

And with tenderness share my bed.

For my dog [I] mix chaff and bran

And with scolding chase [it] out to the courtyard.

The dog always walks with its head down,

Yet the cat sits with its legs spread wide.

Love and disgust in stark contrast,

Timidity and impudence [emerge] exactly where expected.

[After] a night of scuffling in the empty hall,

Suddenly came the report that the dog had caught a mouse.

[I] ask the cat: where were you?

Messing about with the urn, stealing meat paste and jerkies.

The dog, though out of place, cares for its master after all;

[But] cat, alas, who eats the bread of idleness, what use have I of you?

* From 艾性夫 Ai Xingfu (fl. late 13th century), Shengyu 剩語 (Wenyuange yingyin Siku quanshu 文淵閣景印四庫全書 vol. 1194, Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1987) 1.3b-4a;

[1] Red characters rhyme.

"Chunye yan taoliyuan" 春夜宴桃李園 by Leng Mei 冷枚 (1669-1742)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei

Detail of the hanging scroll above, showing a cat sitting on the table and dogs running on the ground


Copyright Declaration*:

The texts and images used on the website of Rachelle's Lab are either from the public domain (e.g. Wikipedia), databases with open data licenses (e.g. Shuhua diancang ziliao jiansuo xitong 書畫典藏資料檢索系統, National Palace Museum, Taipei), online libraries that permit reasonable use (e.g., or original work created for this website.

Although fair use of the website for private non-profit purposes is permitted, please note that the website of Rachelle's Lab and its content (including but not limited to translations, blog posts, images, videos, etc.) are protected under international copyright law. If you want to republish, distribute, or make derivative work based on the website content, please contact me, the copyright owner, to get written permission first and make sure to link to the corresponding page when you use it.



*Read more about copyright and permission here.

1 comment

1 ความคิดเห็น

This is so brilliant! Cats behaving in a cat like fashion through the ages - why do we put up with them?

bottom of page