Great epoch in the history of bards!
Important day to those who woo the nine;
Better than fame are visitation-cards,
And heaven on earth at a great house to dine.
O cruel memory! do not conjure up
The ghost of Sally Dab, the famous cook;
Who gave me solid food, the cheering cup,
And on her virtues begg'd I'd write a book.
For her dear sake I braved the letter'd fates,
And all her loose thoughts in one volume cramm'd;
"The Accomplish'd Cook, in verse, with twenty plates:"
Which (O! ungrateful deed!) the critics d----d.
D--n them, I say, the tasteless envious elves;
Malicious fancy makes them so expert,
They write 'bout dinners, who ne'er dine themselves,
And boast of linen, who ne'er had a shirt.
Rest, goddess, from all broils! I bless thy name,
Dear kitchen-nymph, as ever eyes did glut on!
I'd give thee all I have, my slice of fame,
If thou, fat shade! could'st give one slice of mutton.
Yet hold--ten minutes more, and I am bless'd;
Fly quick, ye seconds; quick, ye moments, fly:
Soon shall I put my hunger to the test,
And all the host of miseries defy.
Thrice is he arm'd, who hath his dinner first,
For well-fed valour always fights the best;
And though he may of over-eating burst,
His life is happy, and his death is just.
To-day I dine--not on my usual fare;
Not near the sacred mount with skinny nine;
Not in the park upon a dish of air:
But on true eatables, and rosy wine.
Delightful task! to cram the hungry maw,
To teach the empty stomach how to fill,
To pour red port adown the parched craw;
Without that dread dessert--to pay the bill.
I'm off--methinks I smell the long-lost savour;
Hail, platter-sound! to poet music sweet:
Now grant me, Jove, if not too great a favour,
Once in my life as much as I can eat!