Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
William Stevenson. 1530?–1575
  
49. Jolly Good Ale and Old
  
I CANNOT eat but little meat, 
  My stomach is not good; 
But sure I think that I can drink 
  With him that wears a hood. 
Though I go bare, take ye no care,         5
  I nothing am a-cold; 
I stuff my skin so full within 
  Of jolly good ale and old. 
      Back and side go bare, go bare; 
      Both foot and hand go cold;  10
      But, belly, God send thee good ale enough, 
      Whether it be new or old. 
 
I love no roast but a nut-brown toast, 
  And a crab laid in the fire; 
A little bread shall do me stead;  15
  Much bread I not desire. 
No frost nor snow, no wind, I trow, 
  Can hurt me if I wold; 
I am so wrapp'd and thoroughly lapp'd 
  Of jolly good ale and old.  20
      Back and side go bare, go bare, &c. 
 
And Tib, my wife, that as her life 
  Loveth well good ale to seek, 
Full oft drinks she till ye may see 
  The tears run down her cheek:  25
Then doth she trowl to me the bowl 
  Even as a maltworm should, 
And saith, 'Sweetheart, I took my part 
  Of this jolly good ale and old.' 
      Back and side go bare, go bare, &c.  30
 
Now let them drink till they nod and wink, 
  Even as good fellows should do; 
They shall not miss to have the bliss 
  Good ale doth bring men to; 
And all poor souls that have scour'd bowls  35
  Or have them lustily troll'd, 
God save the lives of them and their wives, 
  Whether they be young or old. 
      Back and side go bare, go bare; 
      Both foot and hand go cold;  40
      But, belly, God send thee good ale enough, 
      Whether it be new or old. 
 
 
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