A Bill of Fare

Expect no strange, or puzzling Meat, no Pye
Built by Confusion, or Adultery
Of forced Nature; No mysterious dish
Requiring an Interpreter, no Fish
Found out by modern Luxury: Our Corse Board
Press'd with no spoyls of Elements, doth aford
Meat, like our Hunger, without Art, each Mess
Thus differing from it only, that 'tis less.
Imprimis some Rice Porredge, sweet, and hot,
Three knobs of Sugar season the whole Pot.
Item , one pair of Eggs in a great dish,
So Ordered that they Cover all the Fish.
Item , one gaping Haddocks Head, which will
At least afright the Stomach, if not fill.
Item , one thing in Circles, which we take
Some for an Eele, but th'Wiser for a Snake.
We have not still the same, sometimes we may
Eat muddy Plaise, or Wheate; perhaps next day
Red, or White, Herrings, or an Apple Pye:
There's some variety in Misery.
To this come Twenty Men, and though apace,
We bless these Gifts, the Meal's as short as Grace.
Nor eat we yet in Tumult; but the Meat
Is broke in Order; Hunger here is neat;
Division, subdivision, yet two more
Members, and they divided, as before.
O what a fury would your Stomach feel
To see us vent our Logick on an Eele?
And in one Herring to revive the Art
Of Keckerman , and shew the Eleventh part?
Hunger in Armes is no great wonder, we
Suffer a Siedge without an Enemy.
On Midlent-Sunday , when the Preacher told
The Prodigal's return, and did unfold
His tender welcome, how the good old man
Sent for new Rayment, how the Servant ran
To kill the Fatling Calf. O how each Ear
List ned unto him, greedy ev'n to hear
The bare Relation; how was every Eye
Fixt on the Pulpit; how did each man pry,
And watch, if, whiles he did this word dispence,
A Capon, or a Hen would fly out thence?
Happy the Jews cry we, when Quailes came down
In dry and wholsome Showers, though from the frown
Of Heaven sent, though bought at such a Rate;
To perish full is not the worst of Fate;
We fear we shall dye Empty, and enforce
The Grave to take a Shaddow for a Corse:
For, if this Fasting hold, we do despair
Of life; all needs must vanish into Air;
Air, which now only feeds us, and so be
Exhal'd, like Vapours to Eternity.
W'are much refin'd already, that dull house
Of Clay (our Body) is Diaphanous;
And if the Doctor would but take the pains
To read upon us, Sinnews, Bones, Guts, Veines,
All would appear, and he might shew each one,
Without the help of a Dissection.
In the aboundance of this want, you will
Wonder perhaps how I can use my Quill?
Troth I am like small Birds, which now in Spring,
When they have nought to Eat do sit and Sing.
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