In the Kitchen

O'er the warm kettles, and the savoury steams,
Grave Colinettus of his oxen dreams:
Then, starting, anxious for his new-mown hay,
Runs headlong out to view the doubtful day.
But dinner calls with more prevailing charms,
And surly Gruffo in his awkward arms
Bears the tall jug, and turns a glaring eye,
As though he feared some insurrection nigh
From the fierce crew, that gaping stand a-dry.
O'er-stuffed with beef, with cabbage much too full,
And dumpling too (fit emblem of his skull!),
With mouth wide open, but with closing eyes,
Unwieldy Roger on the table lies.
His able lungs discharge a rattling sound:
Prince barks, Spot howls, and the tall roofs rebound.
Him Ursula views; and, with dejected eyes,
‘Ah! Roger, ah!’, the mournful maiden cries,
‘Is wretched Ursula then your care no more,
That, while I sigh, thus you can sleep and snore?
Ingrateful Roger! wilt thou leave me now?
For you these furrows mark my fading brow;
For you my pigs resign their morning due;
My hungry chickens lose their meat for you;
And was it not, ah! was it not for thee,
No goodly pottage would be dressed by me.
For thee these hands wind up the whirling jack,
Or place the spit across the sloping rack.
I baste the mutton with a cheerful heart,
Because I know my Roger will have part.’

Thus she—but now the dish-kettle began
To boil and blubber with the foaming bran.
The greasy apron round her hips she ties,
And to each plate the scalding clout applies:
The purging bath each glowing dish refines,
And once again the polished pewter shines.
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