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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 Ne'er rang'd in a forest, or smok'd on a platter; The haunch was a picture for painters to study, The white was so white, and the red 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 chamber to place it in view, To be shown to my friends as a piece of virtû: 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 pro
nounce This tale of the bacon a damnable bounce; 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. Burne.* 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 undress’d, To paint it, or eat it, just as he lik'd best ;
• Lord Clare's nephew.
Of the neck and the breast I had next to dispose ; 'Twas a neck and a breast that might rival Monro's: But in parting with these I was puzzled again, With the how, and the who, and the where, and the when.
(Hiff There's Cooley, and Williams, and Howard, and 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 'em ruffles, when wanting a shirt.
While thus I debated, in reverie center'd, An acquaintance, a friend (as he call’d himself) enAn under-bred, fine-spoken fellow was he, [ter'd; Who smild as he gaz'd 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 pleas'd 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. And, now that I think on't, as I am a sinner! We wanted this ven'son to make out a dinner. I'll take no denial :-it shall and it must, And my wife, little Kitty, is famous for crust.
llere, porter-this ven’son with me to Mile-End; No words, my dear Goldsmith-my friend-my
dear friend! Thus, snatching his hat, he brush'd off like the wind, And the porter and eatables follow'd behind.
Left alone to reflect, having emptied my shelf, And ‘nobody with me at sea but myself;"* Though I could not help thinking my gent man
hasty, Yet Johnson, and Burke, and a good ven’son pasty, Were things that I never dislik'd in my life, Though clog'd with a coxcomh, and Kitty his wife. So next day, in due splendour to make my approach, I drove to his door in my own hackney-coach.
When come to the place where we all were to dine, (A chair-lumber'd closet, just twelve feet by nine) My friend bade me welcome, but struck me quite dumb
[come ; With tidings that Johnson and Burke could not * And I knew it, (he cried) both eternally fail, The one at the House, and the other with Thrale. But no matter, I'll warrant we'll make up
party, With two full as clever, and ten times as hearty. The one is a Scothman, 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 describ'd them by trade and by name, They enter'd; and dinner was serv'd as they came.
At the top a fried liver and bacon were seen, At the bottom was tripe, in a swinging tureen ;
* See the letters that passed between his Royal Highness Henry Duke of Camberland and Lady Grosvenor, in 1769.
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 vex'd me most, was that d-'d Scottish rogue,
[brogue, With his long-winded speeches, his smiles, and his 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-ho! (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 ihe Jew) I don't care if I keep a corner for't too.' • What the de'il, mon, a pasty!' (re-echo'd 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 abuut. While thus we resolv'd, and the pasty delay'd, With looks that quite petrified, enter'd the maid; A visage so sad, and so pale with affright, Wak'd Priam, in drawing his curtains by night. But we quickly found out (for who could mistake her?)
[baker; That she came with some terrible news from the
And so it fell out, for that negligent sloven
Dr. Goldsmith and some of his friends occasionally dined at the
St. James's Coffee-house. One day it was proposed to write epi. taphs on him. His country, dialect, and person, furnished sub. jects of witticism. He was called on for Retaliation, and at their next meeting produced the following poem.]
Of old, when Scarron his companions invited,
best dish :
* The master of St. James's coffee-house, where the Doctor, and the friends be has characterized in this poem, occasionally dined