Invitation to Dinner


Some think we bards have nothing real;
That poets live among the stars so,
Their very dinners are ideal, —
(And, heaven knows, too oft they are so,) —
For instance, that we have, instead
Of vulgar chops and stews and hashes.
First course — a Phaenix, at the head.
Done in its own celestial ashes:
At foot, a cygnet which kept singing
All the time its neck was wringing.
Side dishes, thus — Minerva's owl,
Or any such like learned fowl:
Doves, such as heaven's poulterer gets,
When Cupid shoots his mother's pets.
Larks stewed in Morning's roseate breath,
Or roasted by a sunbeam's splendor;
And nightingales, berhymed to death —
Like young pigs whipt to make them tender.

Such fare may suit those bards, who are able
To banquet at Duke Humphrey's table;
But as for me, who 've long been taught
To eat and drink like other people;
And can put up with mutton, bought
Where Bromham rears its ancient steeple —
If Lansdowne will consent to share
My humble feast, tho' rude the fare,
Yet, seasoned by that salt he brings
From Attica's salinest springs,
'T will turn to dainties; — while the cup,
Beneath his influence brightening up,
Like that of Baucis, touched by Jove,
Will sparkle fit for gods above!
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