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A Poetical Epistle




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?

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.

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


'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


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


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


'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


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