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Then did he me greet, and said, “ Since we meet,
(And he put me in mind of the name of the dale) For Alesbury's sake some pains I would take,
And not bury the praise of a pot of good ale."
The more to procure me, then he did adjure me,
If the ale I drank last were nappy and stale, To do it its right, and stir up my sprite,
And fall to commend a pot of good ale.
Quoth I, “ To commend it I dare not begin,
Lest therein my credit might happen to fail ; For many men now do count it a sin,
But once to look toward a pot of good ale.
Yet I care not a pin, for I see no such sin,
Nor any thing else my courage to quail : For this we do find, that take it in kind,
Much virtue there is in a pot of good ale.
And I mean not to taste, though thereby much gracid,
Nor the merry-go-down without pull or hale, Perfuming the throat, when the stomach's afloat,
With the fragrant sweet scent of a pot of good ale.
• the idler title of The Ex-ale-tation of Ale.' Lord Bacon's Works, vol. i. p. 180, edit. 1730.
[Ritson's alleged reason for assigning this song to Francis Beaumont, has less cogency than he seems to have supposed; since about one third of the pieces, printed as Beaumont's poems, are referable to other writers, though left undesignated by the editor.]
Nor yet the delight that comes to the sight,
To see how it flowers and mantles in graile *, As green as a leek, with a smile in the cheek,
The true orient colour of a pot of good ale.
But I mean the mind and the good it doth find,
Not only the body so feeble and frail;
Since both are beholden to a pot of good ale.
For when heaviness the mind doth oppress,
And sorrow and grief the heart do assail,
And to wash away cares with a pot of good ale.
The widow that buried her husband of late,
Will soon have forgotten to weep and to wail, And think every day twain, till she marry again,
If she read the contents of a pot of good ale.
It is like the belly-blast to a cold heart,
And warms and engenders the spirits vitale, To keep them from damage, all sp'rits owe their homage
To the sprite of the buttery, a pot of good ale.
And down the legs too the virtue doth go,
And to a bad foot-man is as good as a sail ; When it fills the veins, and makes light the brains,
No lacquey so nimble as a pot of good ale.
[In small particles. Spenser uses the word for gravel.]
The naked complains not for want of a coat,
Nor on the cold weather will once turn his tail ;
he cuts the wind with his nose, If he be but well wrap'd in a pot of good ale.
The hungry man takes no thought for his meat,
Though his stomach would brook a ten-penny nail ; He quite forgets hunger, thinks on it no longer,
If he touch but the sparks of a pot of good ale.
The poor man will praise it; so hath he good cause,
That all the year eats neither partridge nor quail, But sets up his rest, and makes up his feast,
With a crust of brown bread, and a pot of good ale.
The shepherd, the sower, the thresher, the mower,
The one with his scythe, the other with his flail; Take them out by the poll, on the peril of my soul,
All will hold up their hands to a pot of good ale.
The blacksmith whose bellows all summer do blow,
With the fire in his face still without e'er a veil, Though his throat be full dry, he will tell you no lie,
But where you may be sure of a pot of good ale.
Whoever denies it, the pris'ners will praise it,
That beg at the grate, and lie in the jail; For even in their fetters, they think themselves better,
May they get but a twopenny black pot of good ale.
The beggar whose portion is always his prayers,
Not having a tatter to hang on his tail,
If he once but shakes hands with a tankard of ale.
It drives his poverty clean out of mind,
Forgetting his brown bread, his wallet and mail, He walks in the house like a six-footed louse,
If he once be enrich'd with a pot of good ale.
And he that doth dig in the ditches all day,
And wearies himself quite at the plough-tail,
If he touch but the top of a pot of good ale.
It is like a whetstone to a blunt wit,
And makes a supply where nature doth fail;
If his temples be wet with a pot of good ale.
Then Dick to his dearling full boldly dares speak,
Though before (silly fellow) his courage did quail, He gives her the smouch, with his hand on his pouch,
If he meet by the way with a pot of good ale.
And it makes the carter a courtier straightway,
With rhetorical terms he will tell his tale,
Being school'd but a little with a pot of good ale.
The old man whose tongue wags faster than his teeth,
(For old age by nature doth drivel and drale) Will frig and will fling, like a dog in a string,
If he warm his cold blood with a pot of good ale.
And the good old clerk whose sight waxeth dark,
And ever he thinks the print is too small,
The cheeks and the jaws to commend it have cause ;
For where they were late but even wan and pale, They will get them a colour, no crimson is fuller,
By the true dye and tincture of a pot of good ale.
Mark her enemies, though they think themselves wise,
How meagre they look, with how low a wale, How their cheeks do fall, without spirits at all,
That alien their minds from a pot of good ale.
And now that the grains do work in my brains,
Methinks I were able to give by retail, Coinmodities store, a dozen and more,
That flow to mankind from a pot of good ale.
The Muses would muse any should it misuse ;
For it makes them to sing like a nightingale, With a lofty trim note, having washed their throat
With the Cabaline * spring of a pot of good ale.
And the musician of any condition,
It will make him reach to the top of his scale ; It will clear his pipes, and moisten his lights,
If he drink alternatim a pot of good ale.
The poet divine that cannot reach wine,
times fail, Will hit on the vein to make good strain,
If he be but inspir’d with a pot of good ale.
[AHuding to fons Cabalinús, a fountain on mount Helicon, sacred to the muses: called also Hippocrene.]