Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw–
For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime–Macavity’s not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no on like Macavity,
He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime–Macavity’s not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air–
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there!

Macavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly doomed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square–
But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!

He’s outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s.
And when the larder’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair–
Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Macavity’s not there!

And when the Foreign Office finds a Treaty’s gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scap of paper in the hall or on the stair–
But it’s useless of investigate–Macavity’s not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
“It must have been Macavity!”–but he’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macacity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibit, or one or two to spare:
And whatever time the deed took place–MACAVITY WASN’T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!

Analysis, meaning and summary of T.S. Eliot's poem Macavity: The Mystery Cat

29 Comments

  1. KamLun Chongthu, Sirhima says:

    How great is Macavity- a cat depicting criminals of today!

  2. Sanya says:

    Its a very good poem epsecially while doing Speech & Drama.Its very expressive & one can enact each stanza’s.This poem is very funny& makes studying English a real pleasure.I’m in class V& I’m studying this poem right now.

  3. Betty says:

    Ha Ha Bobby from the US are you trying to be funny? Where do you think the Musical Cats got there song from? The poet T.S.Eliot was born 1888-1965 and wrote Macavity in the 30’s. The play Cats was created in 1981 by Andrew Lloyd Webber and was based on Eliots book ‘Old Possums book of Practical Cats’ Therefore Macavity was and always will be originally a T.S.Eliot poem. Don’t be so thick.

  4. Bobby says:

    Hi,
    This poem is under copyright as a song from the Broadway musical CATS. If i am not mistaken, all you did sir was take away a verse and add your own. I would take this poem off before any of the creators of CATS see it. Looking at an official government website, you can be placed in prison for a minimum of 25 years for copyright felony. You did not write his poem because Andrew Lloyd Webber, who was the son of William Lloyd Webber, therefore neither of them were born nor alive at the time of computers to post this. I might get your name and report you to the National Copyright Police.

  5. Nandita Mishra says:

    Macavity is one of the most challenging poems to teach in class. The use of allusions and humuour makes the ironyt very meaningful for all. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.

  6. Nandita Mishra says:

    Macavity is one of the most challenging poems to teach in class. The use of allusions and humour makes the irony very meaningful for all. A thoroughly enjoyable experience.

  7. Mione says:

    This Poem is extremely humourous as there is use of hyperbole. The poet tells us about how macavity is very dangerous and hard to catch(use of repetition, “macavity’s not there”, to emphasise difficulty in the capture of Macavity). Yet, later in stanza 5, “Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke’s been stifled,
    Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair–” shows that the crimes were childish and sort of low. Committment of low crime yet, the poet exagerates that he is the napoleon of crime and that he is dangerous. This adds humour to the poem- as it is – the purpose of hyperbole.

  8. emilia says:

    Gah!! this poem is SOOOO funny…i have a final covering this tomm!

  9. Meline says:

    This is a song that my sister did in her performance Night On Broadway!!!

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