A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bad Poetry: A Supper of Stinking Ducks

Faithful readers of this blog will remember the Reverend Samuel Wesley, Sr., for his "Pindarique on the Grunting of a Hog." That poem was published in 1685 in his Maggots: Or, Poems On Several Subjects, Never Before Handled by a Schollar. The Harmonious Hog had lots of good company there: lice, maggots, chamber-pots, and, last but not least, a couple of stinking ducks.

The author offers this explanatory note:

At a Clubb of Younkers, after a Frost a couple of Wild-Ducks were bought. A thaw coming the day after, these having before been frozen hard, fell in, appear'd all black, and stunk most harmoniously-yet, that nothing good might be wasted, the Purchasers dress't'em, and eat the first pretty nimbly, not staying to tast it; but by that time, Colon being a little pacifi'd, advancing to the second, it drove 'em all off, and was given a decent burial at last in the Boghouse.

Here's one verse from "A Supper of Stinking Ducks:"

Some will say they've a whiff like a Worm-eaten Bitch,
Or a Tartar Ragoo, ready dresst in a Ditch:
Or a cleanly blue-Pig-but ne're keck honest fellow!
For they're wholesome enow, tho' a little too mellow.
They're black, but where Indians do paint the De'el White,
That colour be sure's a most heavenly sight:
They dropt from the Moon out of Breath, and the Thumps
Which they took on the Ground have discolour'd their Rumps.
Cozen John! 't had been better if y'had not been so sickle,
But in our Garden-Cellar had laid 'em in pickle:
Tho' the Cook says they're sweet, I'll venture engage her,
That the Ducks should ha' stunk with the T--'s for a Wager.
Pothecary's Bills have full often half broke us,
With chargeable Vomits of Carduus and Crocus:
When these Ducks from the Bum-gut to Keckhorn would draw,
And like a Turn'd-Pudding-bag empty the Maw;
O Spirits of Arm-pits, and Essence of Toes!
O Hogo of Ulcers, and Hospital Nose!

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