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Anna Jane Vardill

Brown Bread

Found in an Attic Poet’s Cupboard

Dear Rhoda, our friends are ungrateful—
 Yet who can give more when they wed?
We sent them of bride cake a plateful,
 And feasted ourselves on Brown Bread.

Our paper no essences scented,
 No Cupids emboss’d it, ’tis said—
But we with Love’s essence acquainted
 Have kept it to grace our Brown Bread.

Not once, when I look’d on thy beauty,
 Did eatables enter my head:
Till sighing I thought how thy duty
 Might doom thee to share my Brown Bread.

Yet Fortune herself in her blindness
 No gall on our morsel shall shed;
No tear but the sweet one of kindness
 Shall moisten our meal of Brown Bread.

May hearts of such kindness unmindful,
 Remain with their crust overspread,
They know not how faces like thine full
 Of smiles, may embellish Brown Bread!

Gay Wit may illumine the table,
 While crouds at the banquet are fed,
But only Good Nature is able
 To find regale in Brown Bread.

Then Rhoda, bid scorners good-bye too;—
 When Whim, Wealth, and Beauty have fled,
Fame, Fashion, and Friendship, shall fly too,
 And leave them to welcome Brown Bread.

But when by the proud world forsaken,
 Our white cottage threshold they tread,
Their cup at our board shall be taken
 With blessings, and half our Brown Bread!


The European Magazine, Vol. 70, November 1816, p. 457