Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO RALPH LEYCESTER, ESQ. ON HIS SENDING THE AUTHOR A HARE, by JOHN BYROM



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TO RALPH LEYCESTER, ESQ. ON HIS SENDING THE AUTHOR A HARE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What! Another hare, peter! Well so much the better
Last Line: "and then ""to the ladies of toft"" in a bumper."
Subject(s): Animals; Gifts & Giving; Rabbits; Hares


WHAT! another hare, Peter! Well so much the better;
I acknowledge myself to be doubly your debtor;
Should have thank'd you indeed for the last afore now,
But the forelock of time has been short of somehow:
I hope you won't take it, Sir, as an affront;
'Twas an excellent good one for what there was on't.
But since by your favour,—here, two at a time,—
Let that be for sense, and this other for rhyme:

Indeed when old Jackson, your namesake and neighbour,
Had brought what you call'd there, "the fruits of your labour,
"Of a whole day's whole labour,"—so labour'd the mountain,
Thought I, and when got to the end of her counting,
While the neighbours all round her with wonder struck dumb,
Stood to see what huge monster was waiting to come,
At last she with much ado brought forth a hero,
Which, when dress'd, would make much the same bill of fare-o.

Not that I lik'd your present one penny the worse;
No; if these be your thoughts, you are out of your course;
Your intention had had the same courtesy in't if
The fruits of your labour were e'er so dimin'tive.
Nor should I have fail'd of my thanks, if old Jackson
Had not told me that he was oblig'd to go back soon;
I began once to write but I could not proceed in't,
And indeed, as it happens, 'tis well that I didn't.

Had I answer'd your Minor, perhaps 'tis a wager
Whether ever or not I had heard of your Major;
But now having laid down your premises twain,
The conclusion is good, and the consequence plain;
For, as old Aristotle said some time agone,
"Two hens and two bacons are better than one,"
Second hares are the best, as a body may say;
D'ye take, Sir, the force of the argument? Ha?

But as after your short hare you sent a long ditto,
So you should by your letter, and lengthen it out too.
You made me to cry with your bit of a scrawl,
Like our Trinity friend—you know who—Is this all?
I expected to find an account of Miss Puss
As long as my arm,—and to fob me off thus!
I thought, when a Cheshire Squire sent a hare hither,
That at least he'd have sent the hare's pedigree with her.

Sir Peter of Chester would ne'er have been hind'red
From searching of writing to find out their kindred;
The field they were in he'd have blazon'd, I trow,
And have shew'd if your hares had been co-heirs or no;
With many such questions, so nice and so knotty;
Of which you have said not a syllable—
Yet you fancy that I should have somewhat to say to 'em,
As if I had any thing to do, but to eat 'em.

"Dr. John, 'tis long since I receiv'd any poe-
"try, Argol I've sent hare and service unto ye."
Very good, master Peter; you think, I suppose,
That verses with me are as common as prose.
"I send you a hare; send you me a conceit;"
Is the old grammar-rule then gone out of your pate?
Did your master ne'er tell you, amongst other stories,
The diff'rence betwixt lepores and lepores?

The last time, indeed, that you sent me a hare,
My fury was mov'd with another affair;
And the creature arriv'd, just as I had my head full
Of a Butcher-Hall challenge so dire and so dreadful.
But now our dear friend is remov'd to Cheapside,
With right hand, and left hand, and pen laid aside;
And for fear I should take his bread from him, has fled straight
From Butcher-Hall Lane to the corner of Bread-Street.

Having put our antagonist therefore to flight
I return to the hare here—odzooks, what a weight!
The last that you sent us was presently gone,
But this, on my word, is a whopper o' one.
Adzookus, whene'er we begin to see th' end on't,
We'll remember, old Arnold, thy worthy descendant;
With knives, and with forks, and with spoons we will thump her,
And then "to the Ladies of Toft" in a bumper.





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