Lines 310-375 from Canto III of “The Hasty Pudding” by Joel Barlow

I leave them to their feast. There still belong
More useful matters to my faithful song.
For rules there are, though ne’er unfolded yet,
Nice rules and wise, how pudding should be ate.

Some with molasses grace the luscious treat,
And mix, like bards, the useful and the sweet,
A wholesome dish, and well deserving praise,
A great resource in those bleak wintry days,
When the chill’d earth lies buried deep in snow,
And raging Boreas dries the shivering cow.

Blest cow! thy praise shall still my notes employ,
Great source of health, the only source of joy;
Mother of Egypt’s god,—but sure, for me,
Were I to leave my God, I’d worship thee.
How oft thy teats these pious hands have press’d!
How oft thy bounties prove my only feast!
How oft I’ve fed thee with my favorite grain!
And roar’d, like thee, to see thy children slain!

Ye swains who know her various worth to prize,
Ah! house her well from winter’s angry skies.
Potatoes, pumpkins, should her sadness cheer,
Corn from your crib, and mashes from your beer;
When spring returns, she’ll well acquit the loan,
And nurse at once your infants and her own.

Milk then with pudding I should always choose;
To this in future I confine my muse,
Till she in haste some further hints unfold,
Good for the young, nor useless to the old.
First in your bowl the milk abundant take,
Then drop with care along the silver lake
Your flakes of pudding; these at first will hide
Their little bulk beneath the swelling tide;
But when their growing mass no more can sink,
When the soft island looms above the brink,
Then check your hand; you’ve got the portion due,
So taught my sire, and what he taught is true.

There is a choice in spoons. Though small appear
The nice distinction, yet to me ’tis clear.
The deep bowl’d Gallic spoon, contrived to scoop
In ample draughts the thin diluted soup,
Performs not well in those substantial things,
Whose mass adhesive to the metal clings;
Where the strong labial muscles must embrace,
The gentle curve, and sweep the hollow space.
With ease to enter and discharge the freight,
A bowl less concave, but still more dilate,
Becomes the pudding best. The shape, the size,
A secret rests, unknown to vulgar eyes.
Experienced feeders can alone impart
A rule so much above the lore of art.
These tuneful lips that thousand spoons have tried,
With just precision could the point decide.
Though not in song; the muse but poorly shines
In cones, and cubes, and geometric lines;
Yet the true form, as near as she can tell,
Is that small section of a goose egg shell,
Which in two equal portions shall divide
The distance from the centre to the side.

Fear not to slaver; ’tis no deadly sin:—
Like the free Frenchman, from your joyous chin
Suspend the ready napkin; or like me,
Poise with one hand your bowl upon your knee;
Just in the zenith your wise head project,
Your full spoon, rising in a line direct,
Bold as a bucket, heed no drops that fall,
The wide mouth’d bowl will surely catch them all!

From: http://www.bartleby.com/400/poem/608.html

Date: 1793

By: Joel Barlow (1754-1812)

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