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When a rapt audience has encored " Fra Poco "
Or " Casta Diva," I have heard that then The Prima Donna, smiling herself out, Recruits her flagging powers with bottled stout.
But what is coffee but a noxious berry, Born to keep used-up Londoners awake ?
What is Falernian, what is Port or Sherry, But vile concoctions to make dull heads ache ?
Nay, stout itself—(though good with oysters, very)— Is not a thing your reading man should take.
He that would shine, and petrify his tutor,
Should drink draught Allsopp in its " native pewter."
But hark ! a sound is stealing on my ear— * A soft and silvery sound—I know it well. Its tinkling tells me that a time is near
Precious to me—it is the Dinner Bell. Oh blessed Bell! Thou bringest beef and beer,
Thou bringest good things more than tongue may tell; Seared is (of course) my heart—but unsubdued Is, and shall be, my appetite for food.
I go, untaught and feeble is my pen :
But on one statement I may safely venture ;
That few of our most highly gifted men Have more appreciation of the trencher.
I go. One pound of British beef, and then
What Mr. Swiveller called a " modest quencher " ;
That home-returning, I may " soothly say,"
" Fate cannot touch me : I have dined to-day."