First, then, I saw a man whose name was Nereus;
With noble oysters laden; an aged man,
And clad in brown sea-weed. I took the oysters
And eke some fine sea-urchins; a good prelude
To a rich banquet daintily supplied.
When they were done, next came some little fish,
Still quivering as if they felt a fear
Of what should now befal them. Courage, said I,
My little friends, and fear no harm from me;
And to spare them I bought a large flat glaucus.
Then a torpedo came; for it did strike me,
That even if my wife should chance to touch it
She from its shock would surely take no harm.
So for my frying-pan I've soles and plaice,
Carides, gudgeons, perch, and spars, and eels,
A dish more varied than a peacock's tail.
Slices of meat, and feet, and snouts, and ears,
And a pig's liver neatly wrapp'd in caul.
For by itself it looks too coarse and livid.
No cook shall touch or e'er behold these dainties;
He would destroy them all. I'll manage them
Myself; with skill and varied art the sauce
I will compound, in such a tasty way
That all the guests shall plunge their very teeth
[p. 178] Into the dish for joy and eagerness;
And the recipes and different modes of dressing
I am prepared to teach the world for nothing,
If men are only wise enough to learn.
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