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THE

HAUNCH OF VENISON.

AN

Epistle to Lord Clare.

FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1765.

THANKS, my lord, for your venison, for finer or fatter
Ne'er ranged in a forest, or smoked in a platter;
The haunch was a picture for painters to study,
The fat was so white, and the lean was so ruddy;
Though my stomach was sharp, I could scarce help
To spoil such a delicate picture by eating: (regretting
I had thoughts, in my chamber, to place it in view,
To be shown to my friends as a piece of virtù :
As in some Irish houses, where things are so so,
One gammon of bacon hangs up for a show;
But, for eating a rasher of what they take pride in,
They'd as soon think of eating the pan it is fried in.

But hold-let me pause don't I hear you pronounce,

This tale of the bacon's a damnable bounce;

Well, suppose it a bounce—sure a poet may try,
By a bounce now and then, to get courage to fly.

But, my lord, it's no bounce: I protest in my turn,
It's a truth—and your lordship may ask Mr. Burn*.
To go on with my tale-as I gazed on the haunch,
I thought of a friend that was trusty and stanch;
So I cut it, and sent it to Reynolds undress’d,
To paint it, or eat it, just as he liked best:
Of the neck and the breast I had next to dispose;
'Twas a neck and a breast that might rival Monroe's:
But in parting with these I was puzzled again,
With the how, and the who, and the where, and the

when, There's H—-d, and C-y, and H-rth, and H-ff, I think they love venison—I know they love beef. There's my countryman Higgins—Oh! let him alone, For making a blunder, or picking a bone. But hang it—to poets who seldom can eat, Your very good mutton's a very good treat;

* Lord Clare's nephew.

66

Such dainties to them, their health it might hurt,
It's like sending them ruffles when wanting a shirt.
While thus I debated, in reverie centred,
An acquaintance, a friend as he call’d himself, enter'd;
An underbred, fine-spoken fellow was he,
And he smiled as he look'd at the venison and me.
“ What have we got here?-Why, this is good eating!
Your
own,

I

suppose—or is it in waiting?" Why, whose should it be?" cried I with a flounce ; I get these things often”—but that was a bounce: “Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the nation, Are pleased to be kind—but I hate ostentation.”

“ If that be the case then,” cried he, very gay, “ I'm glad to have taken this house in my way. To-morrow you take a poor dinner with me; No words—I insist on't-precisely at three: (there; We'll have Johnson, and Burke; all the wits will be My acquaintance is slight, or I'd ask my lord Clare. And, now that I think on't, as I am a sinner! We wanted this venison to make out a dinner. What say you-a pasty, it shall, and it must, And my wife, little Kitty, is famous for crust.

Here, porter---this venison with me to Mile-end;
No stirring, I beg--my dear friend—my dear friend!"
Thus snatching his hat, he brush'd off like the wind,
And the porter and eatables follow'd behind.

Left alone to reflect, having emptied my shelf,
And“ nobody with me at sea but myself* ;
Though I could not help thinking my gentleman hasty,
Yet Johnson, and Burke, and a good venison pasty
Were things that I never disliked in my life,
Though clogg'd with a coxcomb, and Kitty his wife.
So next day, in due splendour to make my approach,
I drove to his door in my own hackney-coach.

When come to the place where we were all to dine, (A chair-lumber'd closet just twelve feet by nine), My friend bade me welcome, but struck me quite dumb With tidings that Johnson and Burke would not come; “ For I knew it,” he cried, “ both eternally fail, The one with his speeches, and the' other with Thrale ; But no matter, I'll warrant we'll make up the party With two full as clever, and ten times as hearty.

* See the letters that passed between his Royal Highness Henry Duke of Cumberland, and Lady Grosvenor.

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