Matthew Concanen, “A Ballad”


“A Ballad”

Sung in the Same Play, by Mr. Layfield, who Acted the Inn-Keeper.



How void of Ease,
He spends his Days,
Who wastes his Time in Thinking?
How like a Beast,
That ne’er can taste                                                5
The Pleasures of good Drinking?

May Curses light upon the Sot
That ever kennels sober,
Or rises e’er without a Pot
Of lovely Brown OCTOBER.                                         10


Let others raise
Their Voice, to praise
The Rhenish or the Sherry,
The Sparkling White,
Champaign so bright,                                                15
The Claret or Canary.

‘Tis true, they’ll thaw the freezing Blood,
And hinder our being sober;
But what for that was e’er so good
As lovely Brown OCTOBER?                                            20


What Knaves are they,
Who cross the Sea,
To bring such Stuffs among us?
How blind are we,
Who will not see                                                          25
How grievously they wrong us?

They spoil the Products of the Land,
And of her Coin disrobe her;
But yet their Dregs can never stand
Against our Brave OCTOBER.                                          30


My jolly Boys,
Let us rejoyce,
And cast away all Sorrow.
Let’s never think,
While thus we drink,                                                     35
What may fall out tomorrow.

Let’s waste our Wealth, enjoy Content,
And never more live sober:
By Jove, the Coin is brightly spent,
That’s melted in OCTOBER.                                              40


Subtitle The play in question is Concanen’s Wexford-Wells, which was performed at Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre on November 7, 1720.  Lewis Layfield played the role of Inn-Keeper (The Dublin Stage, 1720-1745: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments, and Afterpieces, p. 94).

7 Sot “One who dulls or stupefies himself with drinking” (OED).

10 Brown OCTOBER A brown ale generally associated with the harvest season.

13  Rhenish “Wine produced in the Rhine region” of Germany (OED); Sherry “White wine made near Xeres (now Jerez de la Frontera),” in Andalusia, Spain (OED).

16 Claret “A name originally given (like French vin clairet) to wines of yellowish or light red colour” (OED); Canary “A sweet fortified white wine produced in the Canary Islands” (OED).

21 Knaves “A dishonest unprincipled man” (OED).

29 Dregs “The sediment of liquors; the more solid particles which settle at the bottom of a solution” (OED).

39  Jove  “A poetical equivalent of Jupiter, name of the highest deity of the ancient Romans” (OED).

Source: Poems, Upon Several Occasions (Dublin, 1722), pp. 33-35. [Google Books]

Edited by Daria Myakonkova

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