Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON MARRIOT, by CHARLES COTTON

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ON MARRIOT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thanks for this rescue time; for thou hast won
Last Line: Send us no more such eaters, or more meat.
Subject(s): Food & Eating; Marriott, John (d. 1653)

THANKS for this rescue Time; for thou hast won
In this more glory than the States have done
In all their conquests; they have conquer'd men,
But thou hast conquer'd that would conquer them,
Famine; and in this parricide hast shown
A greater courage than their acts dare own;
Thou 'st slain thy eating brother, 'tis a fame
Greater than all past heroes e'er could claim:
Nor do I think thou could'st have conquer'd him
By force, it surely was by stratagem.
There was a dearth when he gave up the ghost:
For, (on my life) his stomach he ne'er lost,
That never fail'd him, and without all doubt
Had he been victual'd he had still held out:
Howe'er, it happen'd for the Nation well,
All fear of famine now 's impossible,
Since we have scap't his reign; blest were my rhymes,
Could they but prove that for the People's crimes
He an atonement fell; for in him dy'd
More bulls, and rams, than in all times beside,
Though we the numbers of them all ingrost,
Offer'd with antique piety, and cost:
And 't might have well become the People's care
To have embowel'd him, if such there were,
Who, in respect of their forefathers' peace,
Would have attempted such a task as this,
For 'tis discreetly doubted he'll go hard
To eat up all his fellows i' th' Churchyard:
Then, as from several parts each mangled limb
Meet at the last, they all will rise in him;
And he, (as once a Pleader) may arise
A general Advocate at the last Assize.

I wonder Death durst venture on this prize,
His jaws more greedy were, and wide than his,
'Twas well he only was compos'd of bone,
Had he been flesh, this eater had not gone;
Or had they not been empty skeletons,
As sure as Death he'd crush't his marrow-bones;
And knockt 'em too, his stomach was so rife,
The rogue lov'd marrow, as he lov'd his life.
Behold! behold, O Brethren! you may see
By this late object of mortality,
'Tis not the lining of the inward man,
(Though ne'er so soundly stuff't, and cramb'd) that can
Keep life and soul together; for if that
Could have preserv'd him, he had kick't at Fate
With his high shoes, and liv'd to make a prey
Of butchers' stinking offal to this day.

But he is gone, and 't had been excellent sport
When first he stalked into Pluto's Court,
Had one but seen with what an angry gust
The greedy rascal worried Cerberus;
I know he'd do 't before he would retreat,
And he and 's stomach are not parted yet;
But, that digested, how he'll do for meat
I can't imagine: for the Devil a bit
He'll purchase there, unless this tedious time
The tree of Tantalus was sav'd for him;
Should it prove so, no doubt he would rejoice,
Spite of the Devil, and Hell's horrid noise.
But then, could 't not be touch't, 'twould prove a curse
Worse than the others, or he'd bear it worse:
Oh! would his fortitude in suffering rise
So much in glory 'bove his gluttonies,
That, rather than confess them to his Sire,
He would, like Portia, swallow coals of fire,
He might extinguish Hell, and, to prevent
Eternal pains, void ashes, and repent;
For, without that, his torments still would last,
It were damnation for him to fast.

But how had I been like to have forgot
Myself, with raving of a thing is not,
Of his Eternity; I should condole
His death and ruin, had he had a soul:
But he had none: or 't was mere sensitive;
Nor could the gourmandising beast outlive;
So that 't may properly of him be said,
Marriot the Eater of Grays Inn is dead,
And is no more: dear Jove, I thee intreat
Send us no more such eaters, or more meat.

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