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[Part of the spring and summer of the year 1771, Goldsmith passed at Gosfield and at Bath, with his friend Lord Clare. On his return from this visit he drew up the following amusing little poem. It was not published till 1776, two years after his decease. A second edition, with considerable additions and corrections, appeared in the same year. See Life, ch. xx.
“ The leading idea of the • Haunch of Venison,'” observes the Right Hon. J. W. Croker, in a communication to the editor,“ is taken from Boileau's third Satire (which itself was no doubt suggested by Horace's raillery of the banquet of Nasidienus); and two or three of the passages which one would, à priori, have pronounced the most original and natural, are closely copied from the French poet:
“We'll have Johnson and Barke-all the wits will be there;
My friend bade me welcome, but struck me quite dumb,
But, to be sure, Goldsmith's host, and his wife,' Little Kitty,' and the Scot, and the • Jew, with his chocolate cheek,' are infinitely more droll and more natural than Boileau's deur campagnards. The details of the dinner, too, overdone and tedious in Boileau, are touched by Goldsmith with a pleasantry not carried too far."]
THANKS, my Lord, for your Ven’son; for finer or fatter
[" The white was so white, and the red was so ruddy.”—First edit.] + [Nearly the same thought occurs in “ Animated Nature,” vol. iii. p, 9. as applicable to the peasantry of other countries : “ There is scarcely a cottage in Germany, Poland, and Switzerland, that is not hung round with these marks of hospitality; and which often makes the owner better contented with hunger, since he has it in his power to be luxurious when he thinks proper. A piece of beef hung up there, is considered as an elegant piece of furniture, which though seldom touched, at least argues the possessor's opulence and ease."]
Well! suppose it a bounce—sure a poet may try,
To go on with my tale—as I gaz'd on the Haunch,
* Lord Clare's nephew.
t (“There's Coley, and Williams, and Howard, and Hiff."-First edit.)
(Dr. Paul Hiffernan. For an account of this eccentric character, see Life, ch. xx.]
$ ["Such dainties to them! It would look like a flirt.
Like sending 'em ruffles when wanting a shirt."--First edit.) 1 ["A fine-spoken Custom house officer he,
Who smil'd as he gaz'd on the Ven'son and me."-Ibid.)