Saturday, May 04, 2013


In Praise of Chocolate

"In Praise of Chocolate," from Merry Drollery Compleat: or, A Collection of Jovial Poems, Merry Songs, Witty Drolleries, Intermixed with Pleasant Catches. The First Part. Collected by W.N. CB. R.S. J.G. Lovers of Wit (London: William Miller, 1691), pp. 48-52:
Doctors lay by your irkesome books:
And all the petty-fogging Rooks
Leave quacking, and enucleate
The vertues of our Chocolate.

Let th' universall medicine
(Made up of dead-mens bones and skin)
Be henceforth illegitimate,
And yield to sovereign Chocolate.

Let bawdy-baths be us'd no more,
Nor smoaky-stoves, but by the whore
Of Babylon, since happy fate
Hath blessed us with Chocolate.

Let old Puncieus greaze his shooes
With his mock-Balsome, and abuse
No more the world: but meditate
The excellence of Chocolate.

Let Doctor Trig (who so excells)
No longer trudge to westward wells;
For though that water expurgate,
It's but the dregs of Chocolate.

Let all the Paracelsian Crew,
Who can extract Christian from Jew,
Or out of Monarchy or state
Break all their Stills for Chocolate.

Tell us no more of weapon-salve,
But rather doom us to a grave,
For sure our wounds will ulcerate
Unless they're washt with Chocolate.

The thriving Saint, that will not come
Within a sack-shops bouzing Room,
(His spirits to exhilerate)
Drinks bowls (at home) of Chocolate.

His spouse, when she (brim-full of sence)
Doth want her due benevolence,
And babes of grace would propagate,
Is alwaies sipping Chocolate.

The roaring Crew of gallant ones,
Whose marrow rots within their bones,
Their bodies quickly regulate,
If once but sous'd in Chocolate.

Young heirs, that have more Land than wit,
When once they do but taste of it,
Will rather spend their whole Estate
Than weaned be from Chocolate.

The nut-brown Lasses of the Land,
Whom Nature vail'd in face and hand,
Are quickly beauties of high rate,
By one small draught of Chocolate.

Besides, it saves the moneys lost
Each day in patches, which did cost
Them dear, untill of late
They found this heavenly Chocolate.

Nor need the women longer grieve,
Who spend their Oyl, yet not conceive:
But its a help immediate
If such but lick of Chocolate.

Consumptions too (be well assur'd)
Are no less soon than soundly cur'd
(Excepting such as do relate
Unto the purse) by Chocolate.

Nay more: Its Virtue is so much,
That if a Lady get a touch,
Her grief it will extenuate,
If she but smell of Chocolate.

The feeble man, whom nature ties
To do his Mistris's drudgeries:
O how it will his mind elate,
If she allow him Chocolate.

'Twill make old women young and fresh,
Create new motions of the flesh,
And cause them long for you know what,
If they but taste of Chocolate.

There's ne'er a Common-Council man,
Whose life will reach unto a span,
Should he not well affect the state,
And first and last drink Chocolate.

Nor ne'er a Citizen's chaste wife
That ever shall prolong her life,
(Whilst open stands her postern gate)
Unless she drink of Chocolate.

Nor dos't the Levite any harm,
It keepeth his devotion warm;
And eke the hair upon his pate,
So long as he drinks Chocolate.

Both high and low, both rich and poor,
My Lord, my Lady, and his ———
With all the folks at Billingsgate,
Bow, bow your hams to Chocolate.

Jean-Baptiste Charpentier (1728-1806),
La Famille du Duc de Penthièvre,
ou La Tasse de Chocolat

Karl Maurer writes:
[A]ll 88 lines are impeccable iambic tetrameter, except that line 50 is a trimeter, "Them dear, untill of late". If I had to bet, I'd bet that a word dropped out (probably a printer's error).

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