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They tell whom it kills, but say not a word,

How many a man liveth both sound and hale, Though he drink no beer any day in the year,

By the radical humour of a pot of good ale.

But to speak of killing them am I not willing;
For that in a manner were but to rail;
But beer hath its name, 'cause it brings to the bier,
Therefore well fare, say I, to a pot of good ale.

Too many (I wis) with their deaths prove this,
And therefore (if ancient records do not fail)
He that first brew'd the hop* was rewarded with a rope,
And found his beer far more bitter than ale.

O ale ab alendo, the liquor of life!

That I had but a mouth as big as a whale! For mine is but little, to touch the least tittle That belongs to the praise of a pot of good ale.

Thus (I trow) some virtues I have mark'd you out,
And never a vice in all this long trail,

But that after the pot, there cometh a shot,
And that's th' only blot of a pot of good ale."

With that my friend said, "that blot will I bear, You have done very well, it is time to strike sail ; We'll have six pots more, though I die on the score, To make all this good of a pot of good ale."


[Introduced into England about 1523, says Baker in his Chronicle: but Fuller, in his Worthies, mentions a petition to Parliament in the reign of Henry VI. against that wicked weed called hops.']



WHILST Some in epic strains delight,
Whilst others pastorals invite, †


As taste or whim prevail;
Assist me, all ye tuneful nine!
Support me in the great design,
To sing of nappy ale.

Some folks of cyder make a rout,
And cyder's well enough no doubt,
When better liquors fail ;

But wine, that's richer, better still,
E'en wine itself (deny't who will)
Must yield to nappy ale.

Rum, brandy, gin with choicest smack,
From Holland brought, Batavia 'rack.
All these will naught avail;
To cheer a truly British heart,
And lively spirits to impart,
Like humming nappy ale.

Oh! whether thee I closely hug
In honest can, or nut-brown jug, ·

Or in the tankard hail;

* This ballad is printed as Mr. Gay's, in some editions of his works: i. e. the spurious ones published by Mr. Bell, bookseller in the Strand.

+ So the copies: quære indite?

In barrel or in bottle pent,
I give the gen'rous spirit vent,
Still may I feast on ale.

But chief, when to the cheerful glass From vessel pure thy streamlets pass, Then most thy charms prevail; Then, then I'll bet, and take the odds, That nectar, drink of heathen gods, Was poor, compar'd to ale,

Give me a bumper, fill it up :
See how it sparkles in the cup;
Oh! how shall I regale !
Can any taste this drink divine,
And then compare rum, brandy, wine,
Or aught with nappy ale ?

Inspir'd by thee the warrior fights,
The lover woos, the poet writes,

And pens the pleasing tale ;
And still in Britain's isle confest,
Nought animates the patriot's breast
Like gen'rous nappy ale.

High church and low oft raise a strife,
And oft endanger limb and life,
Each studious to prevail;

Yet whig and tory, opposite
In all things else, do both unite

In praise of nappy ale.

O blest potation! still by thee,
And thy companion, liberty,

Do health and mirth prevail;
Then let us crown the can, the glass,
And sportive bid the minutes pass,
In quaffing nappy ale.

Ev'n while these stanzas I indite,
The bar-bells grateful sounds invite
Where joy can never fail.
Adieu, my muse, adieu! I haste
To gratify my longing taste,
With copious draughts of ale.


BACKE and side go bare, go bare,
Both foote and hande go colde:
But bellye, God sende thee good ale ynoughe,

Whether it be newe or olde.

I cannot eat but lytle meate,

My stomacke is not good;

But sure I thinke that I can drynke

With him that weares a hood.

* From A ryght pithy, pleasant and merie comedie; intytuled Gammer Gurton's Nedle.' London, 1575.-This very humorous ancient drama is preserved, amongst divers similar curiosities, in the excellent collection of old plays, published by Mr. Dodsley. [Also in vol. i. of the Origin of the English Drama by the Rev. T. Hawkins, who terms it the first regular comedy in our language, being (according to Mr. Oldys' manuscript tables,) printed in 1551.]

Thoughe I go bare, take ye no care,

I am nothinge a colde;

I stuff my skyn so full within,
Of joly good ale and olde.
Backe and syde go bare, go bare,
Both foote and hand go colde:

But, belly, God send thee good ale inoughe,
Whether it be new or olde.

I love no rost, but a nut-browne toste,
And a crab* laid in the fyre;

A little breade shall do me stead,
Much breade I not desyre.

No frost nor snow, nor winde I trowe,

Can hurte mee if I wolde

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I am so wrapt, and throwly lapt,

Of joly good ale and olde. Backe and syde go bare, &c.

And Tyb my wyfe, that as her lyfe,
Loveth well good ale to seeke ;
Full oft drynkes shee, tyll ye may see
The teares run downe her cheeke:
Then doth she trowle to mee the bowle,
Even as a mault-worme ́shuld;
And sayth, sweete hart, I tooke my part

Of this joly good ale and olde.

Backe and syde go bare, &c.

Now let them drynke, tyll they nod and winke, Even as good felowes shoulde doe :

• Crab-apple.

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