A Tankard Of Ale - online songbook

An Anthology Of 120 Drinking Song Lyrics

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" ' Oh some are fond of fiddles and a song well sung, And some are all for music that you lilt upon the tongue, But mouths were made for tankards and for sucking at the bung,'
Says the old, bold mate of Henry Morgan."
The unfortunate thing about this cheerful poem is that pirates do not talk like this—at least none of the pirates that I know do so.
Then Robert Louis Stevenson once created a pirate— not so gory and blasphemous as those who stalk about in Mr. Masefield's pages, but a very nice pirate all the same. Still, I don't think that :
" Fifteen men on the dead man's chest— Yo-ho ! ho ! and a bottje of rum,"
was exactly the kind of observation that John Silver and his companions would have been likely to make.
Songs of this type are all either offered with apologetic humorousness or an equally apologetic braggadocio. None of them come within miles of catching the simple seriousness of the genuine boozer. With hardly an excep­tion, modern drinking songs appear to have been written either out of pleasant affectation or in order to point a moral. Beer was not made to be moralised about, but to be drunk.
Those old drinking songs, in which the English lan­guage is so happily rich, are in a different class. Among all their countless numbers there is no trace of such a thing as self-consciousness. They were not written to prove that beer ought to be consumed, but merely to
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