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THE HAUNCH OF VENISON;

A Poetical Epistle

TO LORD CL A R E.

FIRST PRINTED IN MDCCLXV.

THE HAUNCH OF VENISON.

THANKS, my lord, for your venison, for finer

or fatter Never rang’d in a forest, or smok’d in a platter; The haunch was a picture for painters to study, The fat was so white, and the lean was so

ruddy; Though my stomach was sharp, I could scarce

help regretting To spoil such a delicate picture by eating : I had thoughts, in my chambers to place it in

view, To be shown to my friends as a piece of virtu; As in some Irish houses, where things are so-so, One gammon of bacon hangs up for a show; But, for eating a rasher of what they take pride

in, They'd as soon think of eating the pan it is

fried in. But hold—let me pause--don't I hear you

pronounce, This tale of the bacon's a damnable bounce?

E

Well, suppose it a bounce-sure a poet may

try, By a bounce now and then, to get courage to

fly. But, my lord, it's no bounce : I protest in

my turn, It's a truth and your lordship may ask Mr.

Burn To go on with my tale-as I gaz'd 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 lik'd best. Of the neck and the breast I had next to dis

pose; '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 H-d, and C—y, and H-rth, and

Häff, I think they love venison—I know they love

beef. There's my countryman Higgins Oh! let

him alone, For making a blunder, or picking a bone.

* Lord Clare's nephew.

But hang it to poets who seldom can eat, Your very good mutton's a very good treat; Such dainties to them their health it might

hurt, It's like sending them ruffles when wanting a

shirt. While thus I debated, in reverie centred, An acquaintance, a friend as he call'd himself,

enter'd; An under-bred, fine-spoken fellow was he, And he smil'd as he look'd at the venison and

me.

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•What have we got here ?_Why this is good

eating ! Your own I suppose—or is it in waiting ?' · Why whose should it be?' cried I, with a

flounce : I get these things often'—but that was a

bounce : Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the

nation, Are pleas'd to be kind—but I hate ostentation.' If that be the case then,' cried he, very

gay, • I am 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.

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