H.L. Stephens is said to have had the idea for an American humor magazine while drinking at Pfaffs, a saloon where Walt Whitman and other writers spent their evenings in 1859. Once Vanity Fair was launched, frequent references to Whitman appeared in their pages, along with parodies of his writing. The Song of the Barbecue was printed in the September 29, 1860 issue, referring to a gathering for Stephen A. Douglas held at Jones Wood on September 12.
I sing not of the cue of Phelan,
I sing not of the actor’s cue,
I sing not of the Roman Q,
I sing not of the cu-rious,
I sing of the Barbe-cue.
I sing to thee of fools,
I sing to thee of apes,
I sing to thee of idiots,
I sing to thee of knaves—
Managers of the barbecue.
Meat was stale, order not kept;
Roughs were bosses, chiefs and all,
And the only calves and pigs,
Also sheep who were to be there,
Were low-legged, in shoes and shirts.
For issues of Vanity Fair, see Graphic Arts GAX Oversize Hamilton 1219q