Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 168
Context: Edward Robert Bulwer, an English poet and statesman, who was Viceroy of India and an ambassador to France, wrote poetry under the pen name of Owen Meredith. In his most popular work, the long, sentimental poem Lucile, he relates the ill-fated love story of the Comtesse Lucile de Nevers and Lord Alfred Vargrave, who is to marry Miss Matilda Darcy. He has just received a letter from Lucile asking him to honor a pledge by paying her a visit and by returning her letters of ten years ago. John, a cousin of Alfred, advises him not to go, but Alfred feels that he must honor his pledge and thus makes the journey. In Serchon, where Lucile is staying, Alfred stops at the inn l'Herisson for lodging. The author says of the dinner hour:
We may live without poetry, music, and art;
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without cooks.