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Robert Herrick

(1591-1674 / London / England)

A PANEGYRIC TO SIR LEWIS PEMBERTON


Till I shall come again, let this suffice,
I send my salt, my sacrifice
To thee, thy lady, younglings, and as far
As to thy Genius and thy Lar;
To the worn threshold, porch, hall, parlour, kitchen,
The fat-fed smoking temple, which in
The wholesome savour of thy mighty chines,
Invites to supper him who dines:
Where laden spits, warp'd with large ribs of beef,
Not represent, but give relief
To the lank stranger and the sour swain,
Where both may feed and come again;
For no black-bearded Vigil from thy door
Beats with a button'd-staff the poor;
But from thy warm love-hatching gates, each may
Take friendly morsels, and there stay
To sun his thin-clad members, if he likes;
For thou no porter keep'st who strikes.
No comer to thy roof his guest-rite wants;
Or, staying there, is scourged with taunts
Of some rough groom, who, yirk'd with corns, says, 'Sir,
'You've dipp'd too long i' th' vinegar;
'And with our broth and bread and bits, Sir friend,
'You've fared well; pray make an end;
'Two days you've larded here; a third, ye know,
'Makes guests and fish smell strong; pray go
'You to some other chimney, and there take
'Essay of other giblets; make
'Merry at another's hearth; you're here
'Welcome as thunder to our beer;
'Manners knows distance, and a man unrude
'Would soon recoil, and not intrude
'His stomach to a second meal.'--No, no,
Thy house, well fed and taught, can show
No such crabb'd vizard: Thou hast learnt thy train
With heart and hand to entertain;
And by the arms-full, with a breast unhid,
As the old race of mankind did,
When either's heart, and either's hand did strive
To be the nearer relative;
Thou dost redeem those times: and what was lost
Of ancient honesty, may boast
It keeps a growth in thee, and so will run
A course in thy fame's pledge, thy son.
Thus, like a Roman Tribune, thou thy gate
Early sets ope to feast, and late;
Keeping no currish waiter to affright,
With blasting eye, the appetite,
Which fain would waste upon thy cates, but that
The trencher creature marketh what
Best and more suppling piece he cuts, and by
Some private pinch tells dangers nigh,
A hand too desp'rate, or a knife that bites
Skin-deep into the pork, or lights
Upon some part of kid, as if mistook,
When checked by the butler's look.
No, no, thy bread, thy wine, thy jocund beer
Is not reserved for Trebius here,
But all who at thy table seated are,
Find equal freedom, equal fare;
And thou, like to that hospitable god,
Jove, joy'st when guests make their abode
To eat thy bullocks thighs, thy veals, thy fat
Wethers, and never grudged at.
The pheasant, partridge, gotwit, reeve, ruff, rail,
The cock, the curlew, and the quail,
These, and thy choicest viands, do extend
Their tastes unto the lower end
Of thy glad table; not a dish more known
To thee, than unto any one:
But as thy meat, so thy immortal wine
Makes the smirk face of each to shine,
And spring fresh rose-buds, while the salt, the wit,
Flows from the wine, and graces it;
While Reverence, waiting at the bashful board,
Honours my lady and my lord.
No scurril jest, no open scene is laid
Here, for to make the face afraid;
But temp'rate mirth dealt forth, and so discreet-
Ly, that it makes the meat more sweet,
And adds perfumes unto the wine, which thou
Dost rather pour forth, than allow
By cruse and measure; thus devoting wine,
As the Canary isles were thine;
But with that wisdom and that method, as
No one that's there his guilty glass
Drinks of distemper, or has cause to cry
Repentance to his liberty.
No, thou know'st orders, ethics, and hast read
All oeconomics, know'st to lead
A house-dance neatly, and canst truly show
How far a figure ought to go,
Forward or backward, side-ward, and what pace
Can give, and what retract a grace;
What gesture, courtship, comeliness agrees,
With those thy primitive decrees,
To give subsistence to thy house, and proof
What Genii support thy roof,
Goodness and greatness, not the oaken piles;
For these, and marbles have their whiles
To last, but not their ever; virtue's hand
It is which builds 'gainst fate to stand.
Such is thy house, whose firm foundations trust
Is more in thee than in her dust,
Or depth; these last may yield, and yearly shrink,
When what is strongly built, no chink
Or yawning rupture can the same devour,
But fix'd it stands, by her own power
And well-laid bottom, on the iron and rock,
Which tries, and counter-stands the shock
And ram of time, and by vexation grows
The stronger. Virtue dies when foes
Are wanting to her exercise, but, great
And large she spreads by dust and sweat.
Safe stand thy walls, and thee, and so both will,
Since neither's height was raised by th'ill
Of others; since no stud, no stone, no piece
Was rear'd up by the poor-man's fleece;
No widow's tenement was rack'd to gild
Or fret thy cieling, or to build
A sweating-closet, to anoint the silk-
Soft skin, or bath[e] in asses' milk;
No orphan's pittance, left him, served to set
The pillars up of lasting jet,
For which their cries might beat against thine ears,
Or in the damp jet read their tears.
No plank from hallow'd altar does appeal
To yond' Star-chamber, or does seal
A curse to thee, or thine; but all things even
Make for thy peace, and pace to heaven.
--Go on directly so, as just men may
A thousand times more swear, than say
This is that princely Pemberton, who can
Teach men to keep a God in man;
And when wise poets shall search out to see
Good men, they find them all in thee.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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