BETA

Father Prout’s Inaugurative Ode

To the Author of “Vanity Fair.”


I.

Ours is a faster, quicker age :1
Yet erst at Goldsmith’s homely Wakefield Vicarage,2
While Lady Blarney from the West End glozes3
Mid the Primroses,4
Fudge ! cries Squire Thornhill,5
Much to the wonder of young greenhorn Moses.6
Such word of scorn ill7
Matches the “ Wisdom Fair” thy whim proposes8
To hold on Cornhill.9

II.

With Fudge, or Blarney, or the “ Thames on Fire ! ” 10
Treat not thy buyer ;11
But proffer good material12
A genuine Cereal,13
Value for twelvepence, and not dear at twenty.14
Such wit replenishes thy Horn of Plenty !15

III.

Nor wit alone dispense,16
But sense :17
And with thy sparkling Xerez18
Let us have Ceres.19
Of loaf thou hast no lack,20
Nor set, like Shakspeare’s zany, forth,21
With lots of sack,22
Of bread one pennyworth.23

IV.

Sprightly, and yet sagacious,24
Funny, yet farinaceous,25
Dashing, and yet methodical26
So may thy periodical,27
On this auspicious morn,28
Exalt its horn,29
Thron’d on the Hill of Corn !30

V.

Of aught that smacks of sect, surplice, or synod,31
Be thy grain winnow’d !32
Nor deign to win our laugh33
With empty chaff.34
Shun aught o’er which dullard or bigot gloats ;35
Nor seek our siller36
With meal from Titus Oates37
Or flour of Joseph Miller.38

VI.

There’s corn in Egypt still39
(Pilgrim from Cairo to Cornhill ! ) 40
Give each his fill.41
But all comers among42
Treat best the young ;43
Fill the big brothers’ knapsacks from thy bins,44
But slip the Cup of Love in Benjamin’s.45

VII.

Next as to those46
Who bring their lumbering verse or ponderous prose47
To where good Smith and Elder48
Have so long held their49
Well garnish’d Cornhill storehouse50
Bid them not bore us.51
Tell them instead52
To take their load next street, the Hall of Lead !53

VIII.

Only one word besides54
As he who tanneth hides55
Stocketh with proper implements his tannery :56
So thou, Friend ! do not fail57
To store a stout corn flail,58
Ready for use, within thy Cornhill granary.59
Of old there walked abroad,60
Prompt to right wrongs, Caliph Haroun al Rashid :61
Deal thus with Fraud,62
Or Job or Humbug—thrash it !63

IX.

Courage, old Friend ! long found64
Firm at thy task, nor in fixt purpose fickle :65
Up ! choose thy ground,66
Put forth thy shining sickle ; —67
Shun the dense underwood68
Of Dunce or Dunderhood :69
But reap North, South, East, Far West,70
The world-wide Harvest !71