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Anacreontic Invitation By Moore








The following, one of the latest productions of the poet Moore,
addressed to the Marquis of Lansdowne, shows that though by that time
inclining to threescore and ten, he retained all the fire and vivacity
of early youth. It is full of those exquisitely apt allusions and
felicitous turns of expression in which the English Anacreon excels. It
breathes the very spirit of classic festivity. Such an invitation to
dinner is enough to create an appetite in any lover of poetry:--

"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 phoenix 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 stew'd in morning's roseate breath,
Or roasted by a sunbeam's splendour;
And nightingales, be-rhymed to death--
Like young pigs whipp'd to make them tender
Such fare may suit those bards who're 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, though rude the fare
Yet, seasoned by that salt he brings
From Attica's salinest springs,
'Twill 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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Next: The Poets In A Puzzle

Previous: Lord Hervey's Wit



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