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Puzzle [How many to dine]

This puzzle was first invented by C. L. Dodson, and published in The Monthly Packet' in 1881. I have set it in verse form, crack it in prose or verse.

The cake is iced, the pudding set,
Veal and viand are ready.
Cider, champagne and claret:
The flow of wine is steady.

With loving care, do we prepare
A table set for three.
For me some meat, for wife a seat,
And a guest have we.

My father's dear brother-in-law
Is a good candidate,
But brother's cherished pa-in-law,
We do not bear him hate.

Father-in-law's brother dear
We would love to invite,
Brother-in-law's father we fear,
We cannot do him spite.

For deserve, but one we serve,
Do set our hearts at ease!
Four men to dine, also to wine,
With whom share we our peas?

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