« AnteriorContinuar »
O perfect period of the sweet birds' tune,
Of Philomel and Procne, known to fable;
Of wayward morns, and never utterable
Pigeon and quail are suited to the table;
Anchovy and sardine are noticeable; Red mullet, first of fish, is prime in June, Richmond and Greenwich tempt the Londoner To dine where Thames is cool, and whitebait crisp,
And soft the manners are and lax the morals. But I (when twilight's breezes swiftly stir, Rob the rich roses, through the woodbine lisp)
Dine on my lawn, hedged in by limes and laurels.
July,—the month of odorous orange flowers,
Welcome at nuptial banquets. Helios rages,
gages, And melons mellow through the scorching hours; Cherries and strawberries come in luscious showers ;
Cool cream of Devon the acid touch assuages
Delectable to deipnosophic sages; Through the full-foliaged copse the leveret scours.
Flutters the wheatear now, and sails the plover
Whoso is wise the latter bird will roast,
And serve him, smoking on anchovy toast.
Of cooling drinks, with claret-cup may try
August arrives. We enter the august
Portal of autumn, graced by delicate clusters
Of grapes grown purple under noontide lustres, Whence the white feet of girls shall tread the must Of a great vintage. But the perilous dust
Of battle rises, and the War Fiend blusters,
And, as along the Rhine each army musters, Its vineyards shudder at the sword's sharp thrust. Still rolls the year: adjourns the Commons' House :
Peers to their parks and prelates to their cloisters Return: for lo, the Twelfth brings back the Grouse
Even as the famous Fourth is opening Oysters. Birds and mollusks to the Epicure most dearAlas, and dearer every mortal year!
Alas ! September shakes a great dominion :
Crushed is the gastromic Capital.
Who eats Cramouski à la Cardinal,
As in the reckless days Imperial,
Ere Prussia camped before the City-wall, Or a great Empire fell for an opiniou ? Ay, and the Aï Béranger loved so well, Clicquot and Heidsieck, Piper, Moët, Roederer,
Shall not be quaffed in Pleasure's fair pavilions ;
These slake the thirst of tasteless Teuton millions, Cooling the throat of many a licensed murdererWhich I consider a confounded sell.
October! Month of the climax! King of game,
The pheasant, of the beech-copse peerless denizen,
Deserves the epicure's right earnest benison, Deserves the well-skilled sportsman's careful aim. ... [Alas, hens hatch them, and they're much too tame !]
Moreover, excellent is red-deer venison ;
And partridge, plumpas girl be-rhymed by
A sturgeon cutlet makes a pleasant dish
For any one who likes unusual fish-
Final delight-a woodcock or a snipe :
Now nobler grows the sirloin of the ox,
As autumn fields grow mistier and moister ;
And, dainty fit to tempt a nun from cloister,
Humanity with foies. Who love to royster
Know well that plumper, sweeter, grows the oyster: While for fierce-hungry followers of the fox,
Who love a mighty joint of the ancient sort,
Washed down with mighty gulps of ancient port, After a rapid run a royal revel
For them the solid splendour of the beef;
Capon and pheasant yield a light relief; And turkeys' thighs are now just fit to devil.
I don't know what to say about December :
It is the very month of hospitality,
Through which let no vile air of unreality Breathe to annoy one.
Don't we all remember Some Christmas time of boyhood—some slow ember
Of the Yule log that had its actuality
Two decades back? You'd give a principality To be a boy again, and to dismember Your goose with the boy's invincible appetite, And eat thereafter fifty-five mince pies, And think that you had wisely bridged the
isthmus Betwixt two years. What will you say to-night, Having grown somewhat cool, and calm, and wise,
And not particularly fond of Christmas ?