Flatman was a lawyer, poet, and painter. He excelled at creating miniature paintings, or simply miniatures, which is a thing. Grimilkain in this poem means an old female cat.
The poet admires a cat’s nature to love and leave. Society endorses better behavior.
Knowing that, however, reminds me of what Chris Rock said about O.J. Simpson seeing his wife, Nichole Simpson, cavorting with boyfriend Ronald Goldman.
“O.J. shouldn’t have done it. He was completely wrong. But I understand!”
An Appeal to Cats in the Business of Love
by Thomas Flatman (1637-1688)
Ye cats at midnight spit love at each other,
Who best feel the pangs of a passionate lover,
I appeal to your scratches and your tattered fur,
If the business of Love be no more than to purr.
Old Lady Grimalkin with her gooseberry eyes,
Knew something when a kitten, for why she is wise;
You find by experience, the love-fit’s soon o’er,
Puss! Puss! lasts not long, but turns to Cat-whore!
Men ride many miles,
Cats tread many tiles,
Both hazard their necks in the fray;
Only cats, when they fall
From a house or a wall,
Keep their feet, mount their tails, and away!