White flowering o’er the tankard’s crown
Thou boast of every British town
Nicknamed ‘old stout’ & ‘nock em down’—
Old England’s glory:
All hail thou stingo of renown
Ale, I adore thee.

Thou down right death to pain & care
Of them I know I’ve had my share
And most been drove to hell’s despair—
When they’ve distressed me:
But thee I’ve sought at feast & fair
And thou hast blest me.

And though I love thee best of juices
I’ll ne’er go make no vile excuses
For drunkards who thy name abuses—
They’re worse then hogs:
When friend with friend each other bruises
Like lugging dogs.

In public house such brutes of men
When e’re I chance drop down again
I’ll never care to join them then—
Curse on their spite:
I call for half pint to my sen
And let ‘em fight.

O ale, O ale, what soul can ken
The wonders thou performs on men
How thou drivst perking up agen—
The drowking heart:
Like majic spell to grief & pain
Is a full quart.

(Lines 1-24 & 61-66 of Clare’s ‘Ale’)
The poem actually has 174 lines

Anyone know a good rousing tune to which this might be sung?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that's more like it! A lovely poem (and a new one to me) and photograph. Why aren't they on the wall at the The Bluebell?