A poem by John Davies of Hereford: "The author loving these homely meats..."

The author loving these homely meats specially,
Viz: cream, pancakes, buttered pippin-pies
(laugh, good people) and tobacco; writ to
That worthy and virtuous gentlewoman,
Whom he call mistress, as followeth

If there were, oh! An Hellespont of cream
Between us, milk-white mistress, I would swim
To you, to show both my love's extreme,
Leander-like, -yea! Dive from brim to brim.
But met I with a buttered pippin-pie
Floating upon't, that I would make my boat
To waft me to you without jeopardy,
Though sea-sick I might be while it did float.
Yet if a storm should rise, by night or day,
Of sugar-snows and hail of caraways,
Then, if I found a pancake in my way,
It like a plank should bring me to your kays;
Which having found' if they tobacco kept,
The smoke ahould dry me well before I slept

(c1565 - July 1618)

J.D. chillaxing with a quill (quillaxing?) before laying down some phat Anglo-Welsh poetry

I think "The author loving these homely meats..." may well be my favourite poem. I discovered it in a neglected anthology of comic verse in the library of my alma mater, The Ecclesbourne School. I adore the idea of a love-struck young fellow having to complete a food-based obstacle course (a sort of early 17th century Krypton Factor) to be with his lady. It conjures up such delightful imagery "of sugar-snows and hail of caraways", although the "pippin-pie" is a bit unnerving - my daughter's hamster is called Pippin (his full name is Pip Nibbleton).

B.R. 21/05/2012


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