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Souls of Poets dead and gone
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of Venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his Maid Marian,
Sup and browse from horn and can.
I have heard that on a day
Mine host's signboard flew away
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story--
Said he saw you in your glory
Underneath a new-old Sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac!
Souls of poets dead and gone
What Elysium have ye known--
Happy field or mossy cavern--
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
J. KEATS., THE GOLDEN TREASURY Of the best Songs and Lyrical Pieces In the English Language Selected by Francis Turner Palgrave
Notes: The Mermaid Tavern was a tavern on Cheapside in London during the Elizabethan era, located east of St. Paul's Cathedral on the corner of Friday Street and Bread Street. It was the site of the so-called Friday Street Club (the Tavern's entrance was on Friday Street). The Club, meeting monthly, was allegedly founded by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1603, and included some of the Elizabethan era's leading literary figures, among them Ben Jonson, John Donne, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont, Thomas Coryat, John Selden, Robert Bruce Cotton, Richard Carew, Richard Martin, and others—including, perhaps, William Shakespeare.
Tags: historical, tavern, mermaid

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