Collegia – Ode 74: To the Cook


(Apologies to Wordsworth)

Hurrah for rumour! We have heard,
We hear it and rejoice;
Our cook is gone! She was a bird
That spoiled our food from choice.

While we were sitting in the class
Her odours could we smell;
From room to room they seemed to pass,
At once both fresh and stale.

Though boiling only tea-time eggs
She made such crass mistakes.
They either were hard as segs,
Or ran in yellow lakes.

Thrice cursed, mistress of the range,
Thou ever wert to us
No cook, a woman rare and strange,
With power calamitous.

Whate’er thou didst in latter days
Spoiled everything. We’d try
In half a hundred thousand ways
To find the reason why.

We knew thy lack of skill was proved
By food that turned us green.
Oh, many a hunk away we’ve shoved
Where it would not be seen.

Now can we savour, and forget
The author of past pain;
May thy successor quick beget
Our appetites again.

O blessed Cook! thine own disgrace
Will downward carry thee;
And that unhallowed fiery place
Is a fit home for thee!

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