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London Taverns.


As I pass through the town,
To see the odd mixture,
A Magpie and Crown,
The Whale and the Crow,
The Razor and Hen,
The Leg and Seven Stars,
The Scissors and Pen,
The Axe and the Bottle,
The Tun and the Lute,
The Eagle and Child,
The Shovel and Boot.

British Apollo, 1707.

BEFELLE, that, in that seson on a day,

In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay,
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury with devoute corage,
At night was come into that hostelrie
Wel nine and twenty in a compagnie
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felawship, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Canterbury wolden ride.
The chambres and the stables weren wide,
And wel we weren esed atte beste.

And shortly, whan the sonne was gon to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everich on,
That I was of bir felawship anon,
And made forword erly for to rise,
To take oure way ther as I you

Geoffrey Chaucer.



NOULS of poets dead and gone,

What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine ?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison ? O generous food !
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and browse from horn and can.

I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story,
Said he saw you in your glory,
Underneath a new old-sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.

Souls of poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern ?

John Keats.



Au Ben!
Say how or when
Shall we, thy guests,
Meet at those lyric feasts,

Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun:
Where we such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad;

And yet each verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.

My Ben!

Or come again,

Or send to us
Thy wit's great overplus;

But teach us yet
Wisely to husband it,
Lest we that talent spend :
And having once brought to an end

That precious stock, the store
Of such a wit the world should have no more.

Robert Herrick.


What things have we seen Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been So nimble, and so full of subtle flame, As if that every one from whence they came Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest, And had resolved to live a fool the rest Of his dull life; that when there hath been thrown Wit able enough to justify the town For three days past, - wit that might warrant be For the whole city to talk foolishly Till that were cancelled ; and when that was gone, We left an air behind us, which alone Was able to make the two next companies (Right witty, though but downright fools) more wise.

Francis Beaumont.

THE RED LION, DRURY LANE. WHERE the Red Lion, staring o'er the way,

, Invites each passing stranger that can pay ; Where Calvert's butt and Parson's black champagne Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury Lane; There in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug, The Muse found Scroggen stretched beneath a rug.

Oliver Goldsmith. THE COCK.


O PLUMP head-waiter at The Cock,

To which I most resort,
How goes the time? 'T is five o'clock.

Go fetch a pint of port :
But let it not be such as that

You set before chance-comers,
But such whose father-grape grew fat

On Lusitanian summers.

No vain libation to the Muse,

But may she still be kind,
And whisper lovely words, and use

Her influence on the mind,
To make me write my random rhymes,

Ere they be half forgotten; Nor add and alter, many times,

Till all be ripe and rotten.

I pledge her, and she comes and dips

Her laurel in the wine, And lay

it thrice upon my lips, These favored lips of mine; Until the charm have power to make

New lifeblood warm the bosom, And barren commonplaces break

In full and kindly blossom.

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