Im Gwangtaek (林光澤, 임광택, 1719?-1799?) was a Chosun Dynasty poet and petty official. He was of the Boseong Im Clan (寶城林氏, 보성임씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Shijae (施哉, 시재); and his pen name (號, 호) was Ssangbaekdang (雙栢堂, 쌍백당). Not much of his known about his life. He served in a petty government position called Seori (胥理, 서리) in an office at the capital primarily run by the skilled Chung’in class (中人, 중인) named the Gyeong’ajeon (京衙前, 경아전). Also, although he wrote about the same themes as those of his status, it seems that Im Gwangtaek was not active in any of the non-aristocratic poet circles (閭巷詩社, 여항시사). After his death, his grandson-in-law, Kim Jinhang (金鎭恒, 김진항, ?-?), compiled Im Gwangtaek’s poetry and published it in 1817. In the poem below, he complains about his cat — showing that perhaps cats have not changed much in their insolence since the 18th century.
Scolding the Cat
You do not capture in its rathole the rat;
You always steal the meat off my table.
Not having meat makes my stomach hungry;
Having rats make my grains be stolen.
Not • to capture • hole • inside • rat
Always • to steal • table • above • meat
To not have • meat • to starve • my • stomach
To have • rats • to steal • my • grains
I raised you because I need you to capture these thieves,
But why do you yourself become a thief?
With a delighted disposition, I strike you hard once,
Chasing you far away to the side of a large road!
To raise • you • to need • to capture • thieves
How • you • by oneself • to become • thief
Delightful • intent • once • hard • to strike
Afar • to chase • large • road • side
Roaming and wandering, in the end you do not leave,
Furtively entering beneath my wooden floor to lie down.
Your craftiness and slyness truly can be despised.
Writing this poem, I send you a severe scolding.
To turn • to ramble • in the end • not • to leave
Secretly • to enter • wood floor • below • to lie down
To be crafty • to be tricky • surely • to be able • to hate
To write • poem • to send • to be profound • to scold