A Tankard Of Ale - online songbook

An Anthology Of 120 Drinking Song Lyrics

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A Tankard of Ale
liquors are very probably considered to be teetotal drinks —like Port. At any rate there is a pleasant and redeeming smack of archaism about their names. Beer, however, is quite another matter. One may only sing of that in a music-hall—and not too often even there.
Very delightful verses are still occasionally written about drinking, but generally these efforts have a purely literary inspiration and cannot be honoured with the name of drinking songs. Thus Charles Stuart Calverley wrote, somewhere about the middle of last century, an elaborate treatise upon ' that mild, luxurious, and artful beverage, beer.' Yet in spite of the ode's noble apos­trophe :
" Oh Beer ! Oh Hodgson, Guinness, Allsopp, Bass ! Names that should be on every infant's tongue ! "
we feel that Calverley's main interest lies in his poem rather than in his tankard. The elegant undergraduate speaks rather than the toper. And Mr. Housman, carolling :
" Malt does more than Milton can To reconcile God's ways to man,"
seems to find more satisfaction in a happy alliteration than in his ale. He may be writing about malt— but the maltworm's note is absent.
More recently the mild Mr. Masefield has led his swaggering pirates on the stage, decked with striped jerseys and cutlasses and (that nothing be lacking in their artistic get-up) full of rum.
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