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Only, beware of brawn—be sure, beware!
Yet brawn has taste—it has; their veal has none,
Save what the butcher's breath inspires alone;
Just Heaven one day may send them hail for
Who spoil all veal because it should be white.
Tis hard to say of what compounded paste
Their bread is wrought, for it betrays no taste,
Whether 'tis flour and chalk, or chalk and flour,
Shell’d and refined till it has taste no more;
But if the lump be white, and white enough,
No matter how insipid, dry or tough.
In salt itself the sapid savour fails,
Burnt alum for the love of white prevails :
While tasteless cole-seed we for mustard swallow,
”Tis void of zest indeed—but still ’tis yellow.
Parsnip or parsley-root, the rogues will soon
Scrape for horse-radish, and 'twill pass unknown,
For by the colour, not the taste, we prove all,
As hers will sit on chalk, if 'tis but oval.
I must with caution the cook's reign invade, Hot as the fire, and hasty from his trade,
A cook of genius, bid him roast a hare,
By all that's hot and horrible would swear,
Parch native dryness! zounds, that's not the thing-
But stew him, and he might half dine a king.
His generous broth I should almost prefer
To turtle soup, though turtle travels far.
You think me nice perhaps: yet I could dine
On roasted rabbit; or fat turkey and chine;
Or fulsome haslet; or most drily cram
My throat with tasteless fillet and wet ham:
But let me ne'er of mutton-saddle eat,
That solid phantom, that most specious cheat;
Yet loin is passable, he was no fool
Who said the half is better than the whole:
But I have cooked and carved enough and more; We come to drinking next. "Till dinner 's o'er. I would all claret, even champaign forbear; Give me fresh water-bless me with small-beer. But still, whate'er you drink, with cautious lip Approach, survey, and e'er you swallow, sip; For often, o defend all honest throats! The reeling wasp on the drench'd borage floats. I've known a dame, sage else as a divine, For brandy whip off ipecacuan wine; And I'm as sure amid your careless glee, You 'll swallow port one time for cote-rotie. But you aware of that Lethean flood, Will scarce repeat the dose--forbid
should! 'Tis such a deadly foe to all that's bright, "Twould soon encumber e'en your fancy's flight: And if 'tis true what some wise preacher says, That we our generous ancestors disgrace, The fault from this pernicious fountain flows,
Hence half our follies, half our crimes and woes; 204
And ere our maudlin genius mounts again,
'Twill cause a sea of claret and champaign
Of this retarding glue to rinse the nation's brain.
The mud-fed carp refines amid the springs,
And time and burgundy might do great things:
But health and pleasure we for trade despise,
For Portugal's grudged gold our genius dies.
O hapless race! O land to be bewailed!
With murders, treasons, horrid deaths appalled;
Where dark-red skies with livid thunders frown,
While Earth convulsive shakes her cities down;
Where Hell in Heaven's name holds her impious court,
And the grape bleeds out that black poison, port;
Sad poison to themselves, to us still worse,
Brewed and rebrewed, a double, treble curse.
Tossed in the crowd of various rules, I find Still some material business left behind:
The fig, the gooseberry, beyond all grapes,
Mellower to eat, as rich to drink perhaps.
But pleasures of this kind are best enjoyed,
Beneath the tree, or by the fountain side,
Ere the quick soul and dewy bloom exhale,
And vainly melt into the thankless gale.
Who from the full meal yield to natural rest,
A short repose; ’ 'tis strange how soon you 'll find
A second morn rise cheerful on your mind:
Besides, it softly, kindly, soothes away
The saddest hour to some that damps the day,
But if you're coy to sleep, before you spread
Some easy-trotting poet's lines—you're dead
At once: even these may hasten your repose,
Now rapid verse, now halting nearer prose;
There smooth, here rough, what I suppose you'd
As men of taste hate sameness in the Muse:
Yes, I'd adjourn all drinking till ’tis late,
And then indulge, but at a moderate rate.
By Heaven, not . . . with all his genial wit,
Should ever tempt me after twelve to sit-
You laugh-at noon you say: I mean at night.
I long to read your name once more again, But while at Cassel, all such longing 's vain. Yet Cassel else no sad retreat I find, While good and amiable Gayot 1 is my friend, Generous and plain, the friend of human-kind; Who scorns the little-minded's partial view; One you would love, one that would relish you. With him sometimes I sup, and often dine, And find his presence cordial more than wine. There lively, genial, friendly, Goy and I Touch glasses oft to one whose company Would-but what's this?- Farewell — within two