Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
 
Lines on the Mermaid Tavern
By John Keats (1795–1821)
 
SOULS 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        5
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        10
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.
 
  I have heard that on a day
Mine host’s sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till        15
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,        20
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,        25
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
 
 
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