This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The best poets are often familiar with numerous branches of science; on the other hand men devoted to science are not unfrequently gifted with the poet's fire. Prof. T. C. Porter, the distinguished botanist, was known as the "plant-presser" in his earliest years. The following lines, quoted from Lafayette College Journal, written when but seventeen years old, shows a love for the Muses quite as worthy of recognition as was his other love:
Let frog-devouring France and beef-fed Bull
Disdain thee, Cabbage, when their mouths are full;
Let lazy Neapolitan discard,
Who eats his macaroni by the yard ;
And Chinese gourmand think that dish the best
Which savors of the swallow's gluey nest;
Or, brought from distant ocean-isles, prefer
The relish of the costly biche-de-mer;
Let Abyssinian cut the quivering flesh
From the live heifer and devour it fresh,
While Alpine monk esteems the slimy snail
Above the juice of broccoli or kale;
Let Paddy whistle at the very thought
Of new paratees boiling in the pot,
And Yankee tell, with rapture in his eye,
The varied virtues of the pumpkin pie -
But, as for me, sprung of Teutonic blood,
Give me the cabbage as the choicest food.
O far-famed Sauer Kraut! compared with thee,
All dainties rifled from the land and sea
Were heaps of trash, and viands on the boards
Of prodigal Lucullus, or the hoards
Of which renowned Apicius could boast,
Detestably insipid - and the host
That followed Epicurus, at the best,
Mere common swine, unpampered and unblest.*
Had but the gods on high Olympus' brow Caught thy rich odor wafted from below, Loathing as bitter their celestial bread, They all in haste to Germany had fled.
What gave the fierce Barbarian strength to wield His ponderous weapon on the battle-field, When from the North his brawny right arm hurled A bolt of vengeance o'er the Roman world? Thy hidden power, O matchless Cabbage, thine, Dweller upon the Danube and the Rhine.
Ye vain philosophers of titled worth,
Go to this lowly denizen of earth,
And read a lesson from his furrowed leaves ;
Their words are truth ; that volume ne'er deceives.
Castles and monuments have passed away,
Pillars and temples crumbled to decay,
Leaving no trace behind them to proclaim
To after ages their possessor's fame,
While on his brow unfaded yet appears
The wrinkled wisdom of six thousand years.
I love thine honest countenance, old friend; My earliest mem'ries with thy history blend,
And Hallow Eve, free to the wile and plot Of boyish cunning, cannot be forgot; The ringing shout, the merry laugh and cheer, Still and will ever linger in mine ear.
May never he who slanders thy good name Have his recorded on the scroll of fame ! May he ne'er taste thee, whose proud looks despise. But Time increase thine honor as he flies!