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THE HAUNCH OF VENISON.

THANKS, my Lord, for your ven’son, for finer or

fatter

Never rang'd in a forest, or smok'd 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

regretting To spoil such a delicate picture by eating : I had thoughts, in my chambers to place it in view, To be shown to my friends as a piece of virtu; 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 fry'd 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 gaz'd on the haunch,
I thought of a friend that was trusty and staunch;
So I cut it, and sent it to Reynolds undrest,

To paint it, or eat it, just as he lik'd 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 ven’son.... I know they love beef. There's my countryman Higgins....Oh! let him alone, For making a blunder or picking a bone.

* Lord Clare's nephew.

But hang it...eto poets who seldom can eat,
Your very good mutton's a very good treat;
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 center'd,
An acquaintance, a friend as he call'd himself, enter'd;
An under-bred, fine-spaken fellow was he,
And he smild as be look'd at the ven’son and me.
“What have we got here!....Why, this is good eating!
Your own

I

suppoşe....or is it in waiting?” “Why, whose should it be?" cry'd I with a flounce;

I get these things often;"....but that was a bounce: “ Some lords, my acquaintance, that settle the nation, Are pleas'd to be kind....but I hate ostentation."

“ If that be the case then," cry'd he very gay, “ I'm glad I 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: We'll have Johnson and Burke; all the wits will be there; My acquaintance is slight, or I'd ask my lord Clare.

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And

now, that I think on't, as I am a sinner!

We wanted this ven'son 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 ven'son 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 empty'd my shelf,
And “nobody with me at sea but myself;''
Tho' I could not help thinking my gentleman hasty,
Yet Johnson, and Burke, and a good ven’son pasty,
Were things that I never dislik'd in my life,
Though clogg'd with a coxcomb, and Kitty his wife.

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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 all were to dine

(A chair-lumber'd closset, just twelve feet by nine),

* See the letters that passed between his royal highness Henry duke of Cumberland and lady Grosvenor, 12mo, 1769.

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