“My TABLES! MEAT it is, I SET IT down!”–Hamlet
I think it was Spring–but not certain I am–
When my passion began first to work;
But I know we were certainly looking for lamb,
And the season was over for pork.
‘T was at Christmas, I think, when I met with Miss Chase,
Yes–for Morris had asked me to dine–
And I thought I had never beheld such a face,
Or so noble a turkey and chine.
Placed close by her side, it made others quite wild
With sheer envy, to witness my luck;
How she blushed as I gave her some turtle, and smiled
As I afterward offered some duck.
I looked and I languished, alas! to my cost,
Through three courses of dishes and meats;
Getting deeper in love–but my heart was quite lost
When it came to the trifle and sweets.
With a rent-roll that told of my houses and land,
To her parents I told my designs–
And then to herself I presented my hand,
With a very fine pottle of pines!
I asked her to have me for weal or for woe,
And she did not object in the least;–
I can’t tell the date–but we married I know
Just in time to have game at the feast.
We went to —-, it certainly was the sea-side;
For the next, the most blessed of morns,
I remember how fondly I gazed at my bride,
Sitting down to a plateful of prawns.
O, never may memory lose sight of that year,
But still hallow the time as it ought!
That season the “grass” was remarkably dear,
And the peas at a guinea a quart.
So happy, like hours, all our days seemed to haste,
A fond pair, such as poets have drawn,
So united in heart–so congenial in taste–
We were both of us partial to brawn!
A long life I looked for of bliss with my bride,
But then Death–I ne’er dreamt about that!
O, there’s nothing is certain in life, as I cried
When my turbot eloped with the cat!
My dearest took ill at the turn of the year,
But the cause no physician could nab;
But something, it seemed like consumption, I fear–
It was just after supping on crab.
In vain she was doctored, in vain she was dosed,
Still her strength and her appetite pined;
She lost relish for what she had relished the most,
Even salmon she deeply declined!
For months still I lingered in hope and in doubt,
While her form it grew wasted and thin;
But the last dying spark of existence went out.
As the oysters were just coming in!
She died, and she left me the saddest of men,
To indulge in a widower’s moan;
Oh! I felt all the power of solitude then,
As I ate my first “natives” alone!
But when I beheld Virtue’s friends in their cloaks,
And with sorrowful crape on their hats,
O my grief poured a flood! and the out-of-door folks
Were all crying–I think it was sprats!