King, William

England, (1663–1712)

The Art of Cookery,
In Imitation of Horace’s Art of Poetry

  1. (excerpt, lines 1-39)
  2. Ingenious Lister! were a Picture drawn
  3. With Cynthia’s Face, but with a Neck like Brawn;
  4. With Wings of Turkey, and with Feet of Calf,
  5. Tho’ drawn by Kneller, it would make you laugh!
  6. Such is (good Sir) the Figure of a Feast,
  7. By some rich Farmer’s Wife and Sister drest.
  8. Which, were it not for Plenty and for Steam,
  9. Might be resembled to a sick Man’s Dream,
  10. Where all Ideas hudling run so fast,
  11. That Syllibubs come first, and Soups the last.
  12. Not but that Cooks and Poets still were free,
  13. To use their Pow’r in nice Variety;
  14. Hence Mac’rel seem delightful to the Eyes,
  15. Tho’ dress’d with incoherent Gooseberries.
  16. Crabs, Salmon, Lobsters are with Fennel spread,
  17. Who never touch’d that Herb till they were dead;
  18. Yet no Man lards salt Pork with Orange Peel,
  19. Or garnishes his Lamb with Spitchcockt Eel.
  20.  
  21. A Cook perhaps has mighty things profest,
  22. Then sent up but two Dishes nicely drest,
  23. What signifie Scotcht-Collops to a Feast?
  24. Or you can make whip’d Cream! Pray what Relief
  25. Will that be to a Saylor who wants Beef?
  26. Who, lately, ship-wreckt, never can have Ease,
  27. Till re-establish’d in his Pork and Pease.
  28. When once begun let Industry ne’er cease
  29. Till it has render’d all things of one Piece:
  30. At your Desert bright Pewter comes too late,
  31. When your first Course was all serv’d up in Plate.
  32.  
  33. Most knowing Sir! the greatest part of Cooks
  34. Searching for Truth, are couzen’d by its Looks.
  35. One wou’d have all things little, hence has try’d
  36. Turkey Poults fresh, from th’Egg in Batter fry’d:
  37. Others, to shew the largeness of their Soul,
  38. Prepare you Muttons swol’d, and Oxen whole.
  39. To vary the same things some think is Art.
  40. By larding of Hogs-feet and Bacon Tart,
  41. The Tast is now to that Perfection brought,
  42. That Care, when wanting Skill, creates the Fault.
  43. -—-—-

  1. (excerpt, lines 153-177)
  2. Your Betters will despise you if they see,
  3. Things that are far surpassing your degree;
  4. Therefore beyond your Substance never treat,
  5. ‘Tis Plenty in small Fortune to be neat.
  6. Tis certain that a Steward can’t afford
  7. An Entertainment equal with his Lord.
  8. Old Age is frugal, gay Youth will abound
  9. With Heat, and see the flowing Cup go round.
  10. A Widow has cold Pye, Nurse gives you Cake,
  11. From gen’rous Merchants Ham or Sturgeon take.
  12. The Farmer has brown Bread as fresh as Day,
  13. And Butter fragrant as the Dew of May.
  14. Cornwal Squab-Pye, and Devon White-Pot brings,
  15. And Lei’ster Beans and Bacon, Food of Kings!
  16.  
  17. At Christmas time be careful of your Fame,
  18. See the old Tenant’s Table be the same;
  19. Then if you wou’d send up the Brawner’s Head,
  20. Sweet Rosemary and Bays around it spread:
  21. His foaming Tusks let some large Pippin grace,
  22. Or midst those thund’ring Spears an Orange place;
  23. Sauce like himself, offensive to its Foes,
  24. The Roguish Mustard, dang’rous to the Nose.
  25. Sack and the well-spic’d Hippocras the Wine
  26. Wassail the Bowl with antient Ribbands fine,
  27. Porridge with Plumbs, and Turkeys with the Chine.
  28. -—-—-

  1. (excerpt, lines 353-364)
  2. There is no Dish but what our Cooks have made,
  3. And merited a Charter by their Trade.
  4. Not French Kick-shaws, or Oglio’s brought from Spain,
  5. Alone have found Improvement from their Brain;
  6. But Pudding, Brawn, and White-pots own’d to be
  7. Th’Effects of Native Ingenuity.
  8.  
  9. Our British Fleet which now commands the Main
  10. Might glorious Wreaths of Victory obtain
  11. Wou’d they take time: Wou’d they with Leisure work,
  12. With Care wou’d salt their Beef, and cure their Pork;
  13. Wou’d boil their Liquor well whene’er they brew,
  14. Their Conquest half is to the Victualler due.
  15. -—-—-

  1. (excerpt, lines 476-487)
  2. He that of feeble Nerves and Joints complains
  3. From Nine-pins, Coits, and from Trap-ball abstains;
  4. Cudgels avoids, and shuns the wrestling place,
  5. Lest Vinegar resounds his loud Disgrace.
  6. But ev’ry one to Cookery pretends,
  7. Nor Maid, or Mistress e’er consult their Friends.
  8. But, Sir, if you wou’d rost a Pig, be free:
  9. Why not with Brawn, with Locket, or with me?
  10. We’ll see when ’tis enough, when both Eyes out,
  11. Or if it wants the nice concluding bout.
  12. But if it lies too long the Crackling’s pall’d,
  13. Not by the drudging Box to be recall’d.
  14. -—-—-

Editor’s Note:

The poem excerpts above are the pig pertinent portions of the entire 635+ line poem. You can read the full narrative poem at the links below.

William King. Art of Cookery. London: Bernard Lintott (1708).

About the Poet:

William King (1663–1712), was an English poet and bureaucrat. After study at Westminster School, William King attended Christ Church Oxford (B.A. 1685, M.A. 1688, LL.D. and D.C.L. 1692). King practiced law at Doctors’ Commons (1692), was secretary to Princess Anne of Denmark (1694) and Judge of the Admiralty in Ireland (1702).

King was seen as an indolent wit by his contemporaries as remained unable or unwilling to pursue multiple opportunities for preferment. He became known as an influential writer on the Tory and High Church side, producing humorous and satirical pieces that served the Tory cause.

His best known and less political works include the book A Journey to London, in the year 1698. After the Ingenious Method of that madeby Dr Martin Lister to Paris, in the same Year (1699), which King considered his best work and the long poems The Art of Cookery: in imitation of Horace’s Art of Poetry. With some Letters to Dr Lister and Others (1708) and his most amusing work The Art of Love; in imitation of Ovid (1709). [DES-12/14]

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