The Menu

A poem by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

I beg you come to-night and dine.
A welcome waits you, and sound wine--
The Roederer chilly to a charm,
As Juno's breath the claret warm,
The sherry of an ancient brand.
No Persian pomp, you understand--
A soup, a fish, two meats, and then
A salad fit for aldermen
(When aldermen, alas, the days!
Were really worth their mayonnaise);
A dish of grapes whose clusters won
Their bronze in Carolinian sun;
Next, cheese--for you the Neufchatel,
A bit of Cheshire likes me well;
Cafe au lait or coffee black,
With Kirsch or Kummel or Cognac
(The German band in Irving Place
By this time purple in the face);
Cigars and pipes. These being through,
Friends shall drop in, a very few--
Shakespeare and Milton, and no more.
When these are guests I bolt the door,
With Not at Home to any one
Excepting Alfred Tennyson.

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