Inviting a Friend to Supper
by Ben Jonson
grave sir, both my poor house and I
equally desire your company;
that we think us worthy such a guest,
that your worth will dignify our feast
those that come; whose grace may make that seem
which else could hope for no esteem.
is the fair acceptance, sir, creates
entertainment perfect, not the cates.
you shall have, to rectify your palate,
olive, capers, or some better salad
the mutton; with a short-legged hen,
we can get her, full of eggs, and then
and wine for sauce; to these, a coney
not to be despaired of, for our money;
though fowl now be scarce, yet there are clerks,
sky not falling, think we may have larks.
tell you of more, and lie, so you will come:
partridge, pheasant, woodcock, of which some
yet be there; and godwit, if we can;
rail and ruff, too. Howsoe'er, my man
read a piece of Virgil, Tacitus,
or of some better book to us,
which we'll speak our minds, amidst our meat;
I'll profess no verses to repeat;
this, if aught appear which I not know of,
will the pastry, not my paper, show of.
cheese and fruit there sure will be;
that which most doth take my muse and me
a pure cup of rich Canary wine,
is the Mermaid's now, but shall be mine;
which had Horace or Anacreon tasted,
lives, as do their lines, till now had lasted.
nectar, or the Thespian spring
all but Luther's beer to this I sing.
this we will sup free, but moderately;
we will have no Poley or Parrot by;
shall our cups make any guilty men,
at our parting we will be as when
innocently met. No simple word
shall be uttered at our mirthful board
make us sad next morning, or affright
liberty that we'll enjoy tonight.