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John Keats (1795-1821)

Lines on the Mermaid Tavern


              1Souls of Poets dead and gone,
              2What Elysium have ye known,
              3Happy field or mossy cavern,
              4Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
              5Have ye tippled drink more fine
              6Than mine host's Canary wine?
              7Or are fruits of Paradise
              8Sweeter than those dainty pies
              9Of venison? O generous food!
            10Drest as though bold Robin Hood
            11Would, with his maid Marian,
            12Sup and bowse from horn and can.

            13     I have heard that on a day
            14Mine host's sign-board flew away,
            15Nobody knew whither, till
            16An astrologer's old quill
            17To a sheepskin gave the story,
            18Said he saw you in your glory,
            19Underneath a new old sign
            20Sipping beverage divine,
            21And pledging with contented smack
            22The Mermaid in the Zodiac.

            23     Souls of Poets dead and gone,
            24What Elysium have ye known,
            25Happy field or mossy cavern,
            26Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?

Notes

1] The Mermaid Tavern was the principal resort of the Elizabethan dramatists.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Keats, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820). Facs. edn.: Scolar Press, 1970. PR 4830 E20AB Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1820
RPO poem editor: J. R. MacGillivray
RP edition: 3RP 2.623.
Recent editing: 4:2001/12/20

Composition date: February 1818
Rhyme: couplets


Other poems by John Keats