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Friday, June 22, 2018

The Gourmet’s Love Song

Guest Blogger Dept.: Another poem by Wodehouse, you cry? My pleasure. The English writer P.G. Wodehouse not only was a master of light verse – he also showed himself to be an acclaimed lyricist, working with Jerome Kern on the famouse Princess Theater shows of 1915-1917, and inspiring many a fledgling lyricist, like Ira Gershwin, Howard Dietz, and E.Y. Harburg, along the way.


Who Cupid’s power belittles,
For Cupid ‘tis who makes me shun
My customary victuals.

Oh, EFFIE, since that painful scene
That left me broken-hearted,
My appetite, erstwhile so keen,
Has utterly departed.

My form, my friends observe with pain,
Is growing daily thinner.
Love only occupies the brain
That once could think of dinner.

Around me myriad waiters flit,
With meat and drink to ply men;
Alone, disconsolate, I sit,
And feed on thoughts of Hymen.

The kindly waiters hear my groan,
They strive to charm with curry;
They tempt me with a devilled bone –
I beg them not to worry.

Soup, whitebait, entrées, fricassees,
They bring me uninvited.
I heed them not, for what are these
To one whose life is blighted?

They show me dishes rich and rare,
But ah! My pulse no joy stirs.
For savouries I’ve ceased to care,
I hate the thought of oysters.

They bring me roast, they bring me boiled,
But all in vain they woo me;
The waiters softly mutter, “Foiled!”
The chef, poor man, looks gloomy.

So, EFFIE, turn that shell-like ear,
Nor to my sighing close it,
You cannot doubt that I’m sincere –
This ballad surely shows it,

No longer spurn the suit I press,
Respect my agitation,
Do change your mind and answer, “Yes,”
And save me from starvation.

– P.G. Wodehouse, Punch, 24 December 1902

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