Nature's Cook

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

Death is the cook of Nature; and we find
Meat dressèd several ways to please her mind.
Some meats she roasts with fevers, burning hot,
And some she boils with dropsies in a pot.
Some for jelly consuming by degrees,
And some with ulcers, gravy out to squeeze.
Some flesh as sage she stuffs with gouts, and pains,
Others for tender meat hangs up in chains.
Some in the sea she pickles up to keep,
Others, as brawn is soused, those in wine steep.
Some with the pox, chops flesh, and bones so small,
Of which she makes a French fricasse withal.
Some on gridirons of calentures is broiled,
And some is trodden on, and so quite spoiled.
But those are baked, when smothered they do die,
By hectic fevers some meat she doth fry.
In sweat sometimes she stews with savoury smell,
A hodge-podge of diseases tasteth well.
Brains dressed with apoplexy to Nature's wish,
Or swims with sauce of megrims in a dish.
And tongues she dries with smoke from stomachs ill,
Which as the second course she sends up still.
Then Death cuts throats, for blood-puddings to make,
And puts them in the guts, which colics rack.
Some hunted are by Death, for deer that's red.
Or stall-fed oxen, knockèd on the head.
Some for bacon by Death are singed, or scalt,
Then powdered up with phlegm, and rheum that's salt.


calentures: fevers
megrim: a pain affecting only one half of the head or face; a migraine headache.
scalt: scalded


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