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Although the following poem contains no immediate reference to the Christmas season, still, the pictures which it presents of the hospitality of the period, and the character of the entertainment met with at the table of a country gentleman, of the reign of Charles I., render it peculiarly applicable to that particular season of the year, when open-handed liberality, such as it commemorates, is in the ascendant.
A PANEGYRIC TO SIR LEWIS PEMBERTON.
TILL I shall come again, let this suffice,
To thee, thy lady, younglings, and as far
To the worn threshold, porch, hall, parlour, kitchen,
The wholesome savour of thy mighty chines,
Invites to supper him who dines,
Where laden spits, warped with large ribs of beef,
To the lank stranger and the sour swain,
Where both may feed and come again;
Beats with a buttoned-staff the poor;
For thou no porter keep'st who strikes.
Of some rough groom, who, yirked with corns, says, "Sir,
And with our broth and bread and bits, Sir friend,
You've fared well, pray make an end;
An elfish spirit.
Two days you've larded here; a third, you know,
Merry at another's hearth! you 're here
Welcome as thunder to our beer;"
His stomach to a second meal. No, no,
Thy house, well fed and taught, can show
No such crabbed visard: Thou hast learnt thy train
And by the armsful, with the breast unhid,
As the old race of mankind did,
When either's heart, and either's hand did strive
Thou dost redeem those times; and what was lost
It keeps a growth in thee, and so will run
Keeping no currish waiter to affright,
Which fain would waste upon thy cates, but that
When checked by the butler's look.
No, no, thy bread, thy wine, thy jocund beer
Find equal freedom, equal fare:
Jove, joy'st when guests make their abode To eat thy bullock's thighs, thy veals, thy fat Wethers, and never grudged at
The pheasant, partridge, godwit, reeve, ruff, rail,
Of thy glad table; not a dish more known
But as thy meat, so thy immortal wine
Makes the smirk face of each to shine,
And spring fresh rosebuds, while the salt, the wit Flows from the wine, and graces it;
While reverence, waiting at the bashful board,
No scurrile jest, no open scene is laid
But temp'rate mirth dealt forth, and so discreet-
By cruise and measure; thus devoting wine
Yet, ere twelve moons shall whirl about
Next, may your dairies prosper so,
• Fine wheaten bread.
Like to a solemn sober stream,
Banked all with lilies, and the cream
Then may your plants be pressed with fruit,
But sweetly sounding like a lute.
Next, may your duck and teeming hen,
Last, may your harrows, shares, and ploughs,