The Maltworm's Madrigal.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

I drink of the Ale of Southwark, I drink of the Ale of Chepe;
At noon I dream on the settle; at night I cannot sleep;
For my love, my love it groweth; I waste me all the day;
And when I see sweet Alison, I know not what to say.

The sparrow when he spieth his Dear upon the tree,
He beateth-to his little wing; he chirketh lustily;
But when I see sweet Alison, the words begin to fail;
I wot that I shall die of Love--an I die not of Ale.

Her lips are like the muscadel; her brows are black as ink;
Her eyes are bright as beryl stones that in the tankard wink;
But when she sees me coming, she shrilleth out--"Te-Hee!
Fye on thy ruddy nose, Cousin, what lackest thou of me?"

"Fye on thy ruddy nose, Cousin! Why be thine eyes so small?
Why go thy legs tap-lappetty like men that fear to fall?
Why is thy leathern doublet besmeared with stain and spot?
Go to. Thou art no man (she saith)--thou art a Pottle-pot!"

"No man," i'faith. "No man!" she saith. And "Pottle-pot" thereto!
"Thou sleepest like our dog all day; thou drink'st as fishes do."
I would that I were Tibb the dog; he wags at her his tail;
Or would that I were fish, in truth, and all the sea were Ale!

So I drink of the Ale of Southwark, I drink of the Ale of Chepe;
All day I dream in the sunlight; I dream and eke I weep,
But little lore of loving can any flagon teach,
For when my tongue is loos├ęd most, then most I lose my speech.

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