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Poems of Andrew Lang


THE FOOD OF FICTION


To breakfast, dinner, or to lunch
My steps are languid, once so speedy;
E'en though, like the old gent in PUNCH,
"Not hungry, but, thank goodness! greedy."
I gaze upon the well-spread board,
And have to own--oh, contradiction!
Though every dainty it afford,
There's nothing like the food of fiction.

"The better half"--how good the sound!
Of Scott's or Ainsworth's "venison pasty,"
In cups of old Canary drowned,
(Which probably was very nasty).
The beefsteak pudding made by Ruth
To cheer Tom Pinch in his affliction,
Ah me, in all the world of truth,
There's nothing like the food of fiction!

The cakes and ham and buttered toast
That graced the board of Gabriel Varden,
In Bracebridge Hall the Christmas roast,
Fruits from the Goblin Market Garden.
And if you'd eat of luscious sweets
And yet escape from gout's infliction,
Just read "St. Agnes' Eve" by Keats -
There's nothing like the food of fiction.

What cups of tea were ever brewed
Like Sairey Gamp's--the dear old sinner?
What savoury mess was ever stewed
Like that for Short's and Codlin's dinner?
What was the flavour of that "poy" -
To use the Fotheringay's own diction -
Pendennis ate, the love-sick boy?
There's nothing like the food of fiction.

Prince, you are young--but you will find
After life's years of fret and friction,
That hunger wanes--but never mind!
There's nothing like the food of fiction.