Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHRIMP, SELS, by MOSES BROWNE



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THE SHRIMP, SELS, by            
First Line: A shrimp! Black thing as widow's crape
Last Line: You choke the pretty harmless chickens.
Subject(s): Shrimp; Prawns


A SHRIMP! Black thing as widow's crape
In its primeval, vitat shape;
Red as a soldier's coat of cloth
When stewed alive in native broth;
Armed with such tusks at sides and jowl
Would choke a dog to swallow whole;
Seeming (good simile, I hope)
Like flea in cloist'ring microscope,
With staring eyes and whiskers long;
Now—contradict me, if I'm wrong.
A shrimp! (theme ample as I'd wish)
Affords the angler bait to fish;
And cooked up by the kitchen lass
Supplies us, when they're dressed, with sauce;
The oyster, juicy from the shell,
Th' anchovy mixed, delight us well,
But this the lymph with higher goût
Both relishes and thickens too.
Lo! when in summer, stived to death,
We roam th' inviting fields for breath,
By Sadler's, rows of water-nymphs
To trav'llers sell salacious shrimps;
The fair receive 'em with delight
In handkerchiefs all lily white,
Cheap purchase, and amuse the way
With feeding on this luscious prey;
While, dreary sight! all scattered round,
In heaps their skeletons are found.
So in Arachne's web we spy
Full many a fresh-embowelled fly;
Or in old beds (coarse trope, I own)
View bugs, all shrunk to skin and bone.
Some taste, some smell, you'll all agree
Must at one time most pleasing be;
The shrimp both pleasures will dispense:
But if apart each different sense
You in perfection would regale,
Then taste 'em fresh—and smell 'em stale.
Good writers moral ends propose.
Mark, mothers, mine, with which I close:
Let not your children, meddling brats,
This banquet taste—nor fav'rite cats;
Lest, heedless of their beards, adsdikkins!
You choke the pretty harmless chickens.





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