Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Jolly Good Ale and Old
By John Still (1543?–1608)
 
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.
    Back and side go bare, go bare, etc.
        20
 
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:
Then doth she trowl to me the bowl        25
  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, etc.
 
Now let them drink till they nod and wink,
  Even as good fellows should do;        30
They shall not miss to have the bliss
  Good ale doth bring men to;
And all poor souls that have scoured bowls
  Or have them lustily troll’d,
God save the lives of them and their wives,        35
  Whether they be young or old.
    Back and side go bare, go bare;
    Both foot and hand go cold;
    But, belly, God send thee good ale and cold,
    Whether it be new or old.        40
 
 
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