Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Ode To The Goddess Ceres
by [?]


“legiferoe Cereri Phoeboque.”–VERGIL.

Dear Goddess of Corn whom the ancients, we know,
(Among other odd whims of those comical bodies,)
Adorned with somniferous poppies to show
Thou wert always a true Country-gentleman’s Goddess.

Behold in his best shooting-jacket before thee
An eloquent ‘Squire, who most humbly beseeches.
Great Queen of Mark-lane (if the thing doesn’t bore thee),
Thou’lt read o’er the last of his–never-last speeches.

Ah! Ceres, thou knowest not the slander and scorn
Now heapt upon England’s ‘Squirearchy, so boasted;
Improving on Hunt,[1] ’tis no longer the Corn,
‘Tis the growers of Corn that are now, alas! roasted.

In speeches, in books, in all shapes they attack us–
Reviewers, economists–fellows no doubt
That you, my dear Ceres and Venus and Bacchus
And Gods of high fashion, know little about.

There’s Bentham, whose English is all his own making,–
Who thinks just as little of settling a nation
As he would of smoking his pipe or of taking
(What he himself calls) his “postprandial vibration.”[2]

There are two Mr. Mills to whom those that love reading
Thro’ all that’s unreadable call very clever;–
And whereas Mill Senior makes war on good breeding,
Mill Junior makes war on all breeding whatever!

In short, my dear Goddess, old England’s divided
Between ultra blockheads and superfine sages;–
With which of these classes we landlords have sided
Thou’lt find in my Speech if thou’lt read a few pages.

For therein I’ve proved to my own satisfaction
And that of all ‘Squires I’ve the honor of meeting
That ’tis the most senseless and foul-mouthed detraction
To say that poor people are fond of cheap eating.

On the contrary, such the “chaste notions”[3] of food
That dwell in each pale manufacturer’s heart,
They would scorn any law, be it ever so good,
That would make thee, dear Goddess, less dear than thou art!

And, oh! for Monopoly what a blest day,
Whom the Land and the Silk[4] shall in fond combination
(Like Sulky and Silky, that pair in the play,)[5]
Cry out with one voice for High Rents and Starvation!

Long life to the Minister!–no matter who,
Or how dull he may be, if with dignified spirit he
Keeps the ports shut–and the people’s mouths too–
We shall all have a long run of Freddy’s prosperity,

And, as for myself, who’ve, like Hannibal, sworn
To hate the whole crew who would take our rents from us,
Had England but One to stand by thee, Dear Corn,
That last, honest Uni-Corn[6] would be Sir Thomas!

[1] A sort of “breakfast-power,” composed of roasted corn, was about this time introduced by Mr. Hunt, as a substitute for coffee.

[2] The venerable Jeremy’s phrase for his after-dinner walk.

[3] A phrase in one of Sir Thomas’s last speeches.

[4] Great efforts were, at that time, making for the exclusion of foreign silk.

[5] “Road to Ruin.”

[6] This is meant not so much for a pun, as in allusion to the natural history of the Unicorn, which is supposed to be, something between the Bos and the Asinus, and, as Rees’s Cyclopaedia assures us, has a particular liking for everything “chaste.”