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HAUNCH OF VENISON.
A POETICAL EPISTLE TO LORD CLARE.
FIRST PRINTED IN 1765.
Thanks, my lord, for your ven’son, for finer or fatter
But, my lord, it's no bounce-I protest, in my turn, It's a truth, and your lordship may ask Mr. Burnel.
1 Lord Clare's nephew.
To go on with my tale—as I gazed on the haunch, I thought of a friend that was trusty and staunch; So I cut it, and sent it to Reynolds undrest, To paint it, or eat it, just as he liked best; Of the neck and the breast I had next to dispose'Twas a neck and a breast that might rival Monroe's: But in parting with these, I was puzzled again With the how, and the who, and the where, and the when. There's Coley, and Williams, and Howard, and Hiff, I think they love ven’son— I know they love beef; There's my countryman Higgins--oh! let him alone For making a blunder, or picking a bone: But hang it--to poets that seldom can eat, Your very good mutton's a very good treat; Such dainties to them, it would look like a flirt, Like sending them ruffles when wanting a shirt.
While thus I debated, in reverie centered, An acquaintance, a friend (as he called himself) entered; An under-bred, fine-spoken fellow was he, Who smiled as he gazed at the ven’son and me. “What have we got here? Why this is good eating! Your own, I suppose or is it in waiting?” “Why whose should it be, sir?” cried I with a flounce; “I get these things often"--but that was a bounce: “Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the nation, Are pleased to be kind—but I hate ostentation.”
“If that be the case, then,” cried he, very gay, “I'm glad I have taken this house in my way: To-morrow you take a poor dinner with me No words I insist on't-precisely at three: We'll have Johnson, and Burke all the wits will be there: My acquaintance is slight, or I'd ask my Lord Clare,
Ånd, now that I think on't, as I am sinner!
Left alone to reflect, having emptied my shelf,
When come to the place where we all were to dineA chair-lumbered closet, just twelve feet by nine My friend bade me welcome, but struck me quite dumb With tidings that Johnson and Burke would not come: “And I knew it,” he cried, “both eternally failThe one at the House, and the other with Thrale: But no matter, I'll warrant we'll make up the party With two, full as clever, and ten times as hearty: The one is a Scotchman, the other a Jew, Who dabble and write in the papers, like you: The one writes the Snarler, the other the Scourge ; Some think he writes Cinna-he owns to Panurge." While thus he described them by trade and by name, They entered, and dinner was served as they came.
1 See the letters that passed between his Royal Highness Henry Duke of Cumberland and Lady Grosvenor.
At the top a fried liver and bacon were seen, At the bottom was tripe, in a swinging tureen; At the sides there were spinage and pudding made hot; In the middle a place where the pasty—was not. Now, my lord, as for tripe, it's my utter aversion, And your bacon I hate like a Turk or a Persian; So there I sat stuck like a horse in a pound, While the bacon and liver went merrily round. But what vexed me most was that d-d Scottish rogue, With his long-winded speeches, his smiles, and his brogue; And, “Madam," quoth he, “may this bit be my poison, If a prettier dinner I ever set eyes on: Pray, a slice of your liver, though may I be curst But I've eat of your tripe till I'm ready to burst.” “The tripe," quoth the Jew, “if the truth I may speak, I could eat of this tripe seven days in a week; I like these here dinners so pretty and small, But your friend there, the doctor, eats nothing at all." "0_10!" quoth my friend, “he'll come on in a trice, He's keeping a corner for something that's nice. There's a pasty” “A pasty!" repeated the Jew, “I don't care if I keep a corner for't too." “What the deil, mon, a pasty!" re-echoed the Scot, “ Though splitting, I'll still keep a corner for thot.” “We'll all keep a corner,” the lady cried out; “We'll all keep a corner," was echoed about. While thus we resolved, and the pasty delayed, With looks that quite petrified, entered the maid: A visage so sad, and so pale with affright, Waked Priam, in drawing his curtains by night. But we quickly found out for who could mistake her? That she came with some terrible news from the baker:
And so it fell out; for that negligent sloven
think very slightly of all that's your own: So, perhaps, in your habits of thinking amiss, You may make a mistake, and think slightly of this,
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1774.
(Dr. Goldsmith and some of his friends occasionally dined
at the St. James's coffee-house. One day it was proposed to write epitaphs on him. His country, dialect, and person, furnished subjects of witticism. He was called on for Retaliation, and, at their next meeting, produced the following poem.]
Os old, when Scarron his companions invited,
1 The master of St. James's coffee-house, where the Doctor, and the friends he has characterized in this poem, occasionally dined.