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THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT TAVERNER
by
Alan Jay

(with due acknowledgement and apology to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

It is an ancient Taverner,
Who drinketh one of three.
The others he spills on the floor,
Or on the barmaid's knee.

Mine Hoste he tries to ban this man,
And showeth him the door,
The Taverner turns back angrily
Insisting he'll drink more.

'You've hade enough!' Mine Hoste replies
'I'll order you a taxi.
If you don't go you'll get the boot
I'll kick you up the jaxi!'

'For fifty year I've drunk your beer
My money you have taken.
For cider and for food forsooth,
This place has been my haven.'

'Each lunchtime since I was a lad,
I haven't missed a day.
You've made a fortune out of me
And now you say away!'

'Now say you so that I must go,
This is a sorry day.
You snake in the grass, you're a pain in the neck!
There, now I've had my say.'

'For fifty years...' Mine Hoste vouchsafed
'We've put up with your fits.
You've argued 'bout the change we give
And pinched the barmaid's bottom!'

'And now 'tis time to say farewell,
Go sailing down the river
Do anything, but go from here...
I wouldn't have your liver!'

The Tav'ner staggered out the door
And dropped dead in the street.
A p'liceman gave the kiss of life
'Cos it happened on his beat.

The Taverner did not revive,
They gathered up his booty.
The Sergeant charged the copper
With being drunk on duty.

'I haven't touched a drink all day!'
The policeman said, indignant.
'The smell around the corpse's mouth
Might well be disinfectant.'

The coroner agreed with him,
He added with a shiver
'That first aid could have given you...
Cirrhosis of the liver.'

The Taverner's ghost haunted Mine Hoste,
He stood there in the silence.
'You cannot stay...' Mine Host did say,
'For I have no spirits licence!'

 
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