Collegia – Ode 71: Food


To force un food that we loathe
Is something we will never suffer;
Though Cook does her utmost to clothe
Appetisingly all the rank growth,
The mutton it never was tougher.

Old Jockie may think it not right;
In fact, may deem it appalling,
Or take as a personal slight
That in some things we take not a bite;
But scavenging’s not our true calling.

When bacon is red, blue and green,
And in pies we have spices and salmon,
No wonder our words are obscene,
And away from the table we lean,
Whilst praying within for a famine.

Now Bernard may eat as he please,
And Gibson, or Hemstock, or Lawson;
And Henderson covered with fleas,
His teeth on rank cabbage may squeeze,
It we will not move our jaws on.

Now Aspinall Robert and I,
And Arthur and Chippy and Chivers,
Are always exceedingly shy
Of anything we think is high,
And consider our healthy young livers.

So you see the pale faces of those
Who cluster around their dear Beaseley,
They look like a set of scarecrows,
And white as fresh-driven snows,
Their faces all potted and measly.

While we revel in health and are bright,
The others’ poor bellies are aching;
They take in their food no delight,
But with jaw-bones as long as the night
They sit, a loud champing noise making.

19. 5. 29