Tuesday, October 11, 2016



John Taylor (1578-1653), "Drinke and welcome: or the Famovs Historie of the Most Part of Drinks, in Use Now in the Kingdomes of Great Brittaine and Ireland, with an especiall declaration of the potency, vertue, and operation of our English ALE," Works of John Taylor the Water Poet not Included in the Folio Volume of 1630. Second Collection (Manchester: Spenser Society, 1873), pp. 12-13:
Ale is rightly called Nappy, for it will set a nap upon a mans threed bare eyes when he is sleepy. It is called Merry-goe-downe, for it slides downe merrily; It is fragrant to the sent; It is most pleasant to the taste; the flowring and mantling of it (like Chequer work), with the Verdant smiling of it, is delightfull to the sight, it is Touching or Feeling to the Braine and Heart; and (to please the senses all) it provokes men to singing and mirth, which is contenting to the Hearing. The speedy taking of it doth comfort a heavy and troubled minde; it will make a weeping widow laugh and forget sorrow for her deceased husband; It is truly termed the spirit of the Buttry (for it puts spirit into all it enters,) It makes the footmans Head and heeles so light, that he seemes to flie as he runnes; It is the warmest lineing of a naked mans Coat (that's a Bull) It satiates and asswageth hunger and cold; with a Toaste it is the poore mans comfort, the Shepheard, Mower, Plowman, Labourer and Blacksmiths most esteemed purchase; It is the Tinkers treasure, the Pedlers Jewell, the Beggers Joy, and the Prisoners loving Nurse; it will whet the wit so sharp, that it will make a Carter talke of matters beyond his reach; It will set a Bashfull suitor a woing; It heates the chill blood of the Aged; It will cause a man to speake past his owne or any other mans capacity, of understanding; It sets an edge upon Logick and Rhetorick; It is a friend to the Muses; It inspires the poore Poet, that cannot compasse the price of Canarie or Gascoigne; It mounts the Musitian above Ecla; It makes the Balladmaker Rime beyond Reason, It is a Repairer of a decaied Colour in the face; It puts Eloquence into the Oratour; It will make the Philosopher talke profoundly, the Scholler learnedly, and the Lawyer Acute and feelingly. Ale at Whitsontide, or a Whitson Church Ale, is a Repairer of decayed Countrey Churches; It is a great friend to Truth, for they that drinke of it (to the purpose) will reveale all they know, be it never so secret to be kept; It is an Embleme of Justice, for it allowes and yeelds measure; It will put courage into a Coward, and make him swagger and fight; It is a seale to many a good Bargaine. The Physitian will commend it; the Lawyer will defend it, It neither hurts, or kils, any but those who abuse it unmeasurably and beyond bearing; It doth good to as many as take it rightly; It is as good as a paire of Spectacles to cleare the eyesight of an old parish Clarke; and in Conclusion, it is such a nourisher of Mankinde, that if my mouth were as bigge as Bishopsgate, my Pen as long as a Maypole, and my Inke a flowing spring, or a standing fishpond, yet I could not with Mouth, Pen, or Inke, speake or write the true worthinesse of Ale.

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