For Timothy, in the Coinherence

For Timothy, in the Coinherence
Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957)

“Tutti tirati sono, e tutti tirano” –
(Paradiso xxviii, 129)

Consider, O Lord, Timothy, Thy servants’ servant.
(We give him this title, as to Thy servant the Pope,
Not knowing a better. Him too Thy ministers were observant
To vest in white and adorn with a silk cope.)

Thy servant lived with Thy servants in the exchange
Of affection; he condescended to them from the dignity
Of an innocent mind; they bent to him with benignity
From the rarefied Alps of their intellectual range.

Hierarchy flourished, with no resentment
For the unsheathed claw or the hand raised in correction;
Small wild charities took root beneath the Protection,
Garden-escapes from the Eden of our contentment.

Daily we came short in the harder human relation,
Only in this easier obeying, Lord, Thy commands;
Meekly we washed his feet, meekly he licked our hands -
Beseech Thee, overlook not this mutual grace of salvation.

Canst Thou accept our pitiful good behaving,
Stooping to share at our hand that best we keep for the beast?
Sir, receive the alms, though least, and bestowed on the least,
Save us, and save somehow with us the means of our saving.

Dante in the Eight Heaven beheld love's law
Run up and down on the infinite golden stairway;
Angels, men, brutes, plants, matter, up that fairway
All by love's cords are drawn, said he, and draw.

Thou that before the Fall didst make pre-emption
Of Adam, restore the privilege of the Garden,
Where he to the beasts was namer, tamer, and warden;
Buy back his household and all in the world's redemption.

When the Ark of the new life grounds upon Ararat
Grant us to carry into the rainbow's light,
In a basket of gratitude, the small, milk-white
Silken identity of Timothy, our cat.