Thomas Hood

Here you will find the Long Poem Ode to W. Kitchener, M.D. of poet Thomas Hood

Ode to W. Kitchener, M.D.

Author of 
The Cook's Oracle, Observations on Vocal Music, The Art of Invigorating and Prolonging Life, Practical Observations on Telescopes, Opera-Glasses, and Spectacles, The Housekeeper's Ledger
The Pleasure of Making a Will. 

'I rule the roast, as Milton says!'
?Caleb Quotem.

Oh! multifarious man! 
Thou Wondrous, Admirable Kitchen Crichton! 
Born to enlighten 
The laws of Optics, Peptics, Music, Cooking? 
Master of the Piano?and the Pan? 
As busy with the kitchen as the skies! 
Now looking 
At some rich stew thro' Galileo's eyes,? 
Or boiling eggs?timed to a metronome? 
As much at home 
In spectacles as in mere isinglass? 
In the art of frying brown?as a digression 
On music and poetical expression, 
Whereas, how few of all our cooks, alas! 
Could tell Calliope from 'Callipee!' 
How few there be 
Could leave the lowest for the highest stories, (Observatories,) 
And turn, like thee, Diana's calculator, 
However cook's synonymous with Kater! 
Alas! still let me say, 
How few could lay 
The carving knife beside the tuning fork, 
Like the proverbial Jack ready for any work!


Oh, to behold thy features in thy book! 
Thy proper head and shoulders in a plate, 
How it would look! 
With one rais'd eye watching the dial's date, 
And one upon the roast, gently cast down? 
Thy chops?done nicely brown? 
The garnish'd brow?with 'a few leaves of bay'? 
The hair?'done Wiggy's way!' 
And still one studious finger near thy brains, 
As if thou wert just come 
From editing some 
New soup?or hashing Dibdin's cold remains; 
Or, Orpheus-like,?fresh from thy dying strains 
Of music,?Epping luxuries of sound, 
As Milton says, 'in many a bout 
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,' 
Whilst all thy tame stuff'd leopards listen'd round!


Oh, rather thy whole proper length reveal, 
Standing like Fortune,?on the jack?thy wheel. 
(Thou art, like Fortune, full of chops and changes, 
Thou hast a fillet too before thine eye!) 
Scanning our kitchen, and our vocal ranges, 
As tho' it were the same to sing or fry? 
Nay, so it is?hear how Miss Paton's throat 
Makes 'fritters' of a note! 
And how Tom Cook (Fryer and Singer born 
By name and nature) oh! how night and morn 
He for the nicest public taste doth dish up 
The good things from that Pan of music, Bishop! 
And is not reading near akin to feeding, 
Or why should Oxford Sausages be fit 
Receptacles for wit? 
Or why should Cambridge put its little, smart, 
Minc'd brains into a Tart? 
Nay, then, thou wert but wise to frame receipts, 
Equally to instruct the Cook and cram her? 
Receipts to be devour'd, as well as read, 
The Culinary Art in gingerbread? 
The Kitchen's Eaten Grammar!


Oh, very pleasant is thy motley page? 
Aye, very pleasant in its chatty vein? 
So?in a kitchen?would have talk'd Montaigne, 
That merry Gascon?humorist, and sage! 
Let slender minds with single themes engage, 
Like Mr. Bowles with his eternal Pope,? 
Or Haydon on perpetual Haydon,?or 
Hume on 'Twice three make four,' 
Or Lovelass upon Wills,?Thou goest on 
Plaiting ten topics, like Tate Wilkinson! 
Thy brain is like a rich Kaleidoscope, 
Stuff'd with a brilliant medley of odd bits, 
And ever shifting on from change to change, 
Saucepans?old Songs?Pills?Spectacles?and Spits! 
Thy range is wider than a Rumford Range! 
Thy grasp a miracle!?till I recall 
Th' indubitable cause of thy variety? 
Thou art, of course, th' Epitome of all 
That spying?frying?singing?mix'd Society 
Of Scientific Friends, who used to meet 
Welch Rabbits?and thyself?in Warren Street!


Oh, hast thou still those Conversazioni, 
Where learned visitors discoursed?and fed? 
There came Belzoni, 
Fresh from the ashes of Egyptian dead? 
And gentle Poki?and that Royal Pair, 
Of whom thou didst declare? 
'Thanks to the greatest Cooke we ever read? 
They were?what Sandwiches should be?half bred'! 
There fam'd M'Adam from his manual toil 
Relax'd?and freely own'd he took thy hints 
On 'making Broth with Flints'? 
There Parry came, and show'd thee polar oil 
For melted butter?Combe with his medullary 
Notions about the Skullery, 
And Mr. Poole, too partial to a broil? 
There witty Rogers came, that punning elf! 
Who used to swear thy book 
Would really look 
A Delphic 'Oracle,' if laid on Delf? 
There, once a month, came Campbell and discuss'd 
His own?and thy own?'Magazine of Taste'? 
There Wilberforce the Just 
Came, in his old black suit, till once he trac'd 
Thy sly advice to Poachers of Black Folks, 
That 'do not break their yolks'? 
Which huff'd him home, in grave disgust and haste!


There ca