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The landlord he looks very big,
With his high cock'd hat and his powder'd wig
Methinks he looks both fair and fat
But he may thank you and me for that

For 'tis O, good ale, thou art my darling
And my joy both night and morning.

The brewer brew'd thee in his pan,
The tapster draws thee in his can;
Now I with thee will play my part
And lodge thee next unto my heart
For tis, etc

Thou oft hast made my friends my foes
And often made me pawn my clothes;
But since thou art so nigh my nose
Come up, my friend, and down he goes.
For 'tis, etc

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Sabine Baring Gould, 1895, Old English Songs from English Minstrelsie

This is taken from the selection of the eight volume work by Baring Gould of the same name, reprinted by Llanerch Publishers.

The song was included in volume 7 of Baring Gould's English Minstrelsie (xix-xx, 60-61). He commented:

"This old tune has gone through many changes, and has been adapted on one side to a cock-fighting song, and on the other has become that still popular song, O Rare Turpin Hero, which is sung by our peasantry. Mr. Chappell points out that O Good Ale resembles in the outset the air John, come kiss me now. It is also used for the popular ballad of The Gypsy Countess. The song is to be found on half-sheet music in the British Museum (G. 312). There is an additional verse which I have not thought necessary to print with the music. It runs -

But if my wife should thee despise,
By Jove, I'd bang out both her eyes;
But if she loves me as I love thee,
A happy couple we shall be."

The most common melody heard today is that sung by the Copper family. The melody here is also well-known - see the discussion thread for more information.

Roud: 203 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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