by Robert Southey


                     Gooseberry-Pie is best.
Full of the theme, O Muse, begin the song!
      What though the sunbeams of the West
              Mature within the Turtle’s breast
      Blood glutinous and fat of verdant hue?
What though the Deer bound sportively along
    O’er springey turf, the Park’s elastic vest?
              Give them their honours due, . .
                    But Gooseberry-Pie is best.
                    Behind his oxen slow
              The patient Ploughman plods,
        And as the Sower followed by the clods
  Earth’s genial womb received the living seed.
        The rains descend, the grains they grow;
                   Saw ye the vegetable ocean
         Roll its green ripple to the April gale?
  The golden waves with multitudinous motion
              Swell o’er the summer vale?
   It flows through Alder banks along
      Beneath the copse that hides the hill;
          The gentle stream you cannot see,
               You only hear its melody,
            The stream that turns the Mill.
              Pass on a little way, pass on,
       And you shall catch its gleam anon;
     And hark! the loud and agonizing groan
             That makes its anguish known,
Where tortured by the Tyrant Lord of Meal
         The Brook is broken on the Wheel!
    Blow fair, blow fair, thou orient gale!
           On the white bosom of the sail
        Ye Winds enamour’d lingering lie!
        Ye Waves of ocean spare the bark,
                Ye Tempests of the sky!
   From distant realms she comes to bring
                 The sugar for my Pie.
             For this on Gambia’s arid side
    The Vulture’s feet are scaled with blood,
       And Beelzebub beholds with pride,
                 His darling planter brood.
    First in the spring thy leaves were seen,
       Thou beauteous bush, so early green!
Soon ceased thy blossoms’ little life of love.
    O safer than the gold-fruit-bearing tree
   The glory of that old Hesperian grove, . .
             No Dragon does there need for thee
       With quintessential sting to work alarms,
      Prepotent guardian of thy fruitage fine,
            Thou vegetable Porcupine! . . .
      And didst thou scratch thy tender arms,
               O Jane! That I should dine!
    The flour, the sugar, and the fruit,
Commingled well, how well they suit,
          And they were well bestow’d.
O Jane, with truth I praise your Pie
          And will not you in just reply
             Praise my Pindaric Ode?
Exeter, 1799.
Robert Southey | Classic Poems

The Battle of Bleinheim ] [ Gooseberry-Pie ] The Old Man's Comforts ] The Ebb Tide ] The Inchcape Rock ]






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