1825
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

London Eclogues. Verses supposed to be written by Alexander "Kitchener."

The Examiner (13 November 1825) 722.

Anonymous


Seven double-quatrain stanzas, not signed, comprising a verse character of a London gourmand. The pastoral contest between art and nature takes a fierce toll on this sufferer from the gout: "When I think on a sweetbread ragout, | In a transport I start from my chair, | But the sight of my flannels and shoe | Soon hurries me back to despair!" The humor appears to be directed at William Kitchiner (1775?-1827), author of Apicius Redivivus, or the Cook's Oracle (1817, many later editions). The complete title is "Verses supposed to be written by Alexander 'Kitchener' in the desolate Island of 'Porridge, in St. Martin's in the Fields.'" The Examiner reprints the poem from the Globe and Traveller.



I am partial to table and tray,
My taste there is none can dispute,
Ragout, fricandeau, entremet,
I'm a judge of fish, flesh, fowl, and fruit;
Oh, Wilberforce, where is the charm
You and Betterworth find in a grace?
Unless I've my turbot quite warm,
Better dine on a horrible plaice!

O'er the rich smoking viands to preach,
Should be left for your love-feasts alone;
So books on good eating still teach,
In particular vide my own;
But your through-bred Saints, it is plain,
Cooling Soup with indifference see,
Let the sparkles subside from Champaign,—
Their tameness is shocking to me.

Ye haunches of fat buck or doe,—
In kindness bestow'd upon men,—
Could I drive this curs'd gout from my toe,
How soon I'd attack you again!
My palate I then might regale
On a white or a brown fricasee,
Dispatch a hen-pheasant or quail,
Or a basin of dear Callipee.

Callipee! Oh, what pleasure untold
Resides in that rapturous word,
More than Sybarite banquets of old,
Or the modern Cuisine can afford!
But the sound of the sweet dinner-bell
At this moment excites but my spleen,
For no more, with its once pleasing knell,
It announces the smoking Tureen.

Ye Doctors, who're making your sport
At each twinge which compels me to roar,
In pity convey some report
Of the taverns I visit no more!
Mr. Cuff, does he now and then send
A wish or a thought after me?
Oh! say Mr. Kay is my friend,
Though the Albion no longer I see.

How sweet is a turkey and chine!
Ah, who from a dory could fly?
A carp stew'd in port, how divine!
How enchanting a perigord pie:
When I think on a sweetbread ragout,
In a transport I start from my chair,
But the sight of my flannels and shoe
Soon hurries me back to despair!

Come, wheel me away to my nest,
There let me in dreams yet partake
Of those dainties, the choicest and best,
Which fly me, alas! when awake:
A flask near my pillow, too, place,
Since old Sherry (Madeira's now out)
Is considered not bad for my case,
And half reconciles me to Gout.

[p. 722]