Lines on the Mermaid Tavern

By John Keats 1795–1821 John Keats
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 bowse from horn and can.

       I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board 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?

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Poet John Keats 1795–1821

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Activities, Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences, Eating & Drinking

Poetic Terms Refrain, Couplet

 John  Keats

Biography

John Keats, who died at the age of twenty-five, had perhaps the most remarkable career of any English poet. He published only fifty-four poems, in three slim volumes and a few magazines. But at each point in his development he took on the challenges of a wide range of poetic forms from the sonnet, to the Spenserian romance, to the Miltonic epic, defining anew their possibilities with his own distinctive fusion of earnest energy, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Poetry & Poets, Arts & Sciences, Eating & Drinking

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Refrain, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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