Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, GOOSEBERRY-PIE; A PINDARIC ODE, by ROBERT SOUTHEY



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GOOSEBERRY-PIE; A PINDARIC ODE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Gooseberry-pie is best
Last Line: Praise my pindaric ode?
Subject(s): Food & Eating; Odes (as Poetic Form); Pies; Pindar (522-440 B.c.)


GOOSEBERRY-PIE is best.
Full of the theme, O muse begin the song!
What though the sunbeams of the west
Mature within the turtle's breast
Blood glutinous and fat of verdant hue?
What though the deer bound sportively along
O'er springy turf, the park's elastic vest?
Give them their honours due—
But gooseberry pie is best.

Behind his oxen slow
The patient ploughman plods;
And as the sower followed by the clods
Earth's genial womb received the swelling seed.
The rains descend, the grains they grow;
Saw ye the vegetable ocean
Roll its green billows to the April gale?
The ripening gold with multitudinous motion
Sway o'er the summer vale?

It flows through alder banks along
Beneath the copse that hides the hill;
The gentle stream you cannot see,
You only hear its melody,
The stream that turns the mill.
Pass on, a little way pass on,
And you shall catch its gleam anon;
And hark! the loud and agonizing groan
That makes its anguish known,
Where tortur'd by the tyrant lord of meal
The brook is broken on the wheel!

Blow fair, blow fair, thou orient gale!
On the white bosom of the sail
Ye winds enamour'd, lingering lie!
Ye waves of ocean spare the bark!
Ye tempests of the sky!
From distant realms she comes to bring
The sugar for my pie.
For this on Gambia's arid side
The vulture's feet are scaled with blood,
And Beelzebub beholds with pride,
His darling planter brood.

First in the spring thy leaves were seen,
Thou beauteous bush, so early green!
Soon ceas'd thy blossom's little life of love.
O safer than the Alcides-conquer'd tree
That grew the pride of that Hesperian grove—
No dragon does there need for thee
With quintessential sting to work alarms,
And guard thy fruit so fine,
Thou vegetable porcupine!
And didst thou scratch thy tender arms,
O Jane! that I should dine!

The flour, the sugar, and the fruit,
Commingled well, how well they suit,
And they were well bestow'd.
O Jane, with truth I praise your pie,
And will not you in just reply
Praise my Pindaric ode?





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