Sunday, August 27, 2006


Drinking Songs

In my list of drinking songs by the Chesterbelloc, I overlooked Hilaire Belloc's West Sussex Drinking Song:
They sell good Beer at Haslemere
And under Guildford Hill.
At Little Cowfold, as I've been told,
A beggar may drink his fill:
There is a good brew in Amberley too,
And by the bridge also;
But the swipes they take in at Washington Inn
Is the very best Beer I know, the very best Beer I know.

With my here it goes, there it goes,
All the fun's before us;
The tipple's aboard and the night is young,
The door's ajar and the Barrel is sprung,
I am singing the best song ever was sung
And it has a rousing chorus.

If I were what I never could be,
The master or the squire:
If you gave me the hundred from here to the sea,
Which is more than I desire:
Then all my crops should be barley and hops,
And should my harvest fail
I'd sell every rood of mine acres, I would,
For a bellyful of good Ale, a bellyful of good Ale.

With my here etc.
I suspect that the following verses by D.B. Wyndham Lewis, with the bombastic title Song in Praise of Saint Dunstan and the Holy Country of Sussex, and to the Eternal Confusion of Them That Live in Surrey and Do Very Damnably Peddle in Stocks; Peccator Videbit et Irascetur; Meet to be Sung at Hock-Tide and Festivals with Octave, are a parody of the Chestertonian/Bellocian manner:

Saint Dunstan was a Sussex Man,
  Benedicamus Domino.
He drank strong ale from a silver can,
  Semper sit laudatio.
The Devil came bouncing out of Surrey
And left for home in a devilish hurry,
At Gué-de-Vède he lost his way --
He found it again at Buzançay.


Oh, snouts are red at Wisboro' Green,
And they whack the pot like men, I ween,
In Horsham Town and Helling-ly,
In little Alfriston and in Rye.


The Devil he lived round Hindhead way,
  Bombinans in vacuo.
He snatched five brokers' souls away,
  Mortis in articulo.
But when he got to Roundabout
They banged him silly and threw him out,
At Storrington they gnawed his ear --
They welcomed him at Haslemere.


Oh, the lads of Sussex swagger and screech
From Ditchling Beacon to Hastings Beach,
And Sussex men do bellow and sing
From Birling Gap to Chancton Ring.


The Devil flew off to Périgueux,
  Tamquam leo rugiens.
By Folq-les-Rois, Fijeac, and Eu,
  Prae timore fugiens.
But Saint Dunstan he called the Sussex Men
From barn and sheepfold, byre and pen,
From Harting, Houndsditch, Troon, and Tring,
And they roared and howled like anything.


Oh, the brown ale foams in Uckfield inns,
And in Lewes they drink from salmon-tins,
But the Sussex lads who roar the most
Take a genteel sip and give up the ghost.


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