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A Panegyric To Sir Lewis Pemberton

by Robert Herrick, 1648

Till I shall come again let this suffice,
  I send my salt, my sacrifice
To thee, thy lady, younglings, and as far
  As to thy Genius and thy Lar;
To the worn threshold, porch, hall, parlour, kitchen,
  The fat-fed smoking temple, which in
The wholesome savour of thy mighty chines
  Invites to supper him who dines,
Where laden spits, warp’d with large ribs of beef,
  Not represent but give relief
To the lank stranger and the sour swain,
  Where both may feed and come again;
For no black-bearded vigil from thy door
  Beats with a button’d-staff the poor;
But from thy warm love-hatching gates each may
  Take friendly morsels and there stay
To sun his thin-clad members if he likes,
  For thou no porter keep’st who strikes.
No comer to thy roof his guest-rite wants,
  Or staying there is scourg’d with taunts
Of some rough groom, who, yirkt with corns, says: “Sir,
  Y’ave dipped too long i’ th’ vinegar;
And with our broth, and bread, and bits, sir friend,
  Y’ave fared well: pray make an end;
Two days y’ave larded here; a third, ye know,
  Makes guests and fish smell strong; pray go
You to some other chimney, and there take
  Essay of other giblets; make
Merry at another’s hearth — y’are here
  Welcome as thunder to our beer;
Manners know distance, and a man unrude
  Would soon recoil and not intrude
His stomach to a second meal”. No, no!
  Thy house well fed and taught can show
No such crabb’d vizard: thou hast learnt thy train
  With heart and hand to entertain,
And by the armsful, with a breast unhid,
  As the old race of mankind did,
When either’s heart and either’s hand did strive
  To be the nearer relative.
Thou dost redeem those times, and what was lost
  Of ancient honesty may boast
It keeps a growth in thee, and so will run
  A course in thy fame’s pledge, thy son.
Thus, like a Roman tribune, thou thy gate
  Early sets ope to feast and late;
Keeping no currish waiter to affright
  With blasting eye the appetite,
Which fain would waste upon thy cates, but that
  The trencher-creature marketh what
Best and more suppling piece he cuts, and by
  Some private pinch tells danger’s nigh
A hand too desp’rate, or a knife that bites
  Skin-deep into the pork, or lights
Upon some part of kid, as if mistook,
  When checked by the butler’s look.
No, no; thy bread, thy wine, thy jocund beer
  Is not reserved for Trebius here,
But all who at thy table seated are
  Find equal freedom, equal fare;
And thou, like to that hospitable god,
  Jove, joy’st when guests make their abode
To eat thy bullock’s thighs, thy veals, thy fat
  Wethers, and never grudged at.
The pheasant, partridge, gotwit, reeve, ruff, rail,
  The cock, the curlew and the quail,
These and thy choicest viands do extend
  Their taste unto the lower end
Of thy glad table: not a dish more known
  To thee than unto anyone.
But as thy meat so thy immortal wine
  Makes the smirk face of each to shine
And spring fresh rosebuds, while the salt, the wit,
  Flows from the wine and graces it;
While reverence, waiting at the bashful board,
  Honours my lady and my lord.
No scurril jest; no open scene is laid
  Here for to make the face afraid;
But temperate mirth dealt forth, and so discreet-ly that it makes the meat more sweet;
And adds perfumes unto the wine, which thou
  Dost rather pour forth than allow
By cruse and measure; thus devoting wine
  As the Canary Isles were thine;
But with that wisdom and that method, as
  No one that’s there his guilty glass
Drinks of distemper, or has cause to cry
  Repentance to his liberty.
No, thou knowest order, ethics, and has read
  All economics, know’st to lead
A house-dance neatly, and canst truly show
  How far a figure ought to go,
Forward or backward, sideward, and what pace
  Can give, and what retract a grace;
What gesture, courtship, comeliness agrees
  With those thy primitive decrees,
To give subsistence to thy house, and proof
  What Genii support thy roof,
Goodness and Greatness; not the oaken piles;
  For these and marbles have their whiles

To last, but not their ever; virtue’s hand
  It is which builds ‘gainst fate to stand.
Such is thy house, whose firm foundation’s trust
  Is more in thee than in her dust
Or depth; these last may yield and yearly shrink
  When what is strongly built, no chink
Or yawning rupture can the same devour,
  But fix’d it stands, by her own power
And well-laid bottom, on the iron and rock
  Which tries and counter-stands the shock
And ram of time, and by vexation grows
  The stronger; virtue dies when foes
Are wanting to her exercise, but great

  And large she spreads by dust and sweat.
Safe stand thy walls and thee, and so both will,
  Since neither’s height was rais’d by th’ ill
Of others; since no stud, no stone, no piece
  Was rear’d up by the poor man’s fleece;
No widow’s tenement was rack’d to gild
  Or fret thy ceiling or to build
A sweating-closet to anoint the silk-soft skin, or bathe in asses’ milk;
No orphan’s pittance left him serv’d to set
  The pillars up of lasting jet,
For which their cries might beat against thine ears,
  Or in the damp jet read their tears.
No plank from hallowed altar does appeal
  To yond’ Star–Chamber, or does seal
A curse to thee or thine; but all things even
  Make for thy peace and pace to heaven.
Go on directly so, as just men may
  A thousand times more swear than say:
This is that princely Pemberton who can
  Teach man to keep a god in man;
And when wise poets shall search out to see
  Good men, they find them all in thee.

Published in Hesperides

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