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Robert Graves (1895–1985). Fairies and Fusiliers. 1918.

30. Strong Beer

“WHAT do you think

The bravest drink

Under the sky?”

“Strong beer,” said I.

“There’s a place for everything,

Everything, anything,

There’s a place for everything

Where it ought to be:

For a chicken, the hen’s wing;

For poison, the bee’s sting;

For almond-blossom, Spring;

A beerhouse for me.”

“There’s a prize for every one

Every one, any one,

There’s a prize for every one,

Whoever he may be:

Crags for the mountaineer,

Flags for the Fusilier,

For English poets, beer!

Strong beer for me!”

“Tell us, now, how and when

We may find the bravest men?”

“A sure test, an easy test:

Those that drink beer are the best,

Brown beer strongly brewed,

English drink and English food.”

Oh, never choose as Gideon chose

By the cold well, but rather those

Who look on beer when it is brown,

Smack their lips and gulp it down.

Leave the lads who tamely drink

With Gideon by the water brink,

But search the benches of the Plough,

The Tun, the Sun, the Spotted Cow,

For jolly rascal lads who pray,

Pewter in hand, at close of day,

“Teach me to live that I may fear

The grave as little as my beer.”