Wednesday, June 22, 2011

While We're on the Topic of Beer

And because this is ostensibly a blog that deals with things like literature, now seems as good a time as any to mention English poet John Skelton.
Kind of reminds me of Prince.

Skelton was a poet in the late 15th to early 16th century, and tends to get overlooked. His poetry is not terribly complex, tending to be straightforward and musical. This is why I like him. With lullay, lullay, like a child is as good an example as you'll find. It's set in verse and could just as easily be a song. The word "lullay," which repeats, is basically another form of "la la la."



Of course, this was just an excuse to post (part of) "The Tunnyng of Elynor Rummyng," a poem about the mistress of an alehouse, and a work that got the "crude" label slapped on Skelton.

The bolded passage? A bit of beer history. Apparently it wasn't unheard of to let birds poop in the ale tun. Something to do with speeding up the fermentation process, IIRC. Yeah, if anyone ever offers me a beer they describe as "old-fashioned" I'm running for the exit.

Secundus Passus

Some haue no mony
That thyder commy,
For theyr ale to pay,
That is a shreud aray ;
Elynour swered, Nay,
Ye shall not beare away
My ale for nought,
By hym that me bought !

With, Hey, dogge, hay,
Haue these hogges away !
With, Get me a staffe,
The swyne eate my draffe !
Stryke the hogges with a clubbe,
They haue dronke vp my swyllynge tubbe !
For, be there neuer so much prese,
These swyne go to the hye dese,
The sowe with her pygges ;
The bore his tayle wrygges,
His rumpe also he frygges
Agaynst the hye benche !
With, Fo, ther is a stenche !
Gather vp, thou wenche ;
Seest thou not what is fall ?
Take vp dyrt and all,
And bere out of the hall :
God gyue it yll preuynge
Clenly as yuell cheuynge !

But let vs turne playne,
There we lefte agayne.
For, as yll a patch as that,
The hennes ron in the mashfat ;
For they go to roust
Streyght ouer the ale ioust,
And donge, whan it commes,
In the ale tunnes.
Than Elynour taketh
The mashe bolle, and shaketh
The hennes donge away,
And skommeth it into a tray
Whereas the yeest is,
With her maungy fystis :
And somtyme she blennes
The donge of her hennes
And the ale together ;
And sayeth, Gossyp, come hyther,
This ale shal be thycker,
And flowre the more quicker ;

For I may tell you,
I lerned it of a Jewe,
Whan I began to brewe,
And I haue founde it trew ;
Drinke now whyle it is new ;
And ye may it broke,
It shall make you loke
Yonger than ye be
Yeres two or thre,
For ye may proue it by me ;
Beholde, she sayde, and se
How bryght I am of ble !
Ich am not cast away,
That can my husband say,
Whan we kys and play
In lust and in lykyng ;
He calleth me his whytyng,
His mullyng and his mytyng,
His nobbes and his conny,
His swetyng and his honny,
With, Bas, my prety bonny,
Thou art worth good and monny.
This make I my falyre fonny,
Til that he dreme and dronny ;
For, after all our sport,
Than wyll he rout and snort ;
Than swetely together we ly,
As two pygges in a sty.

To cese me semeth best,
And of this tale to rest,
And for to leue this letter,
Because it is no better,
And because it is no swetter ;
We wyll no farther ryme
Of it at this tyme ;
But we wyll turne playne
Where we left agayne.

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