Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
I. Patriotism
The Roast Beef of Old England
Henry Fielding (1707–1754)
 
WHEN mighty roast beef was the Englishman’s food,
It ennobled our hearts, and enrichèd our blood;
Our soldiers were brave, and our courtiers were good.
          O, the Roast Beef of old England,
          And O, the old English Roast Beef!        5
 
But since we have learned from effeminate France
To eat their ragouts, as well as to dance,
We are fed up with nothing but vain complaisance.
          O, the Roast Beef, etc.
 
Our 1 fathers of old were robust, stout, and strong,
And kept open house with good cheer all day long,        10
Which made their plump tenants rejoice in this song.
          O, the Roast Beef, etc.
 
When good Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne,
Ere coffee and tea, and such slip-slops, were known,
The world was in terror, if e’en she did frown.
          O, the Roast Beef, etc.
 
In those days, if fleets did presume on the main,        15
They seldom or never returned back again;
As witness the vaunting Armada of Spain.
          O, the Roast Beef, etc.
 
O, then we had stomachs to eat and to fight,
And when wrongs were cooking, to set ourselves right;
But now we ’re—hum?—I could, but—good night;        20
          O, the Roast Beef of old England,
          And O, the old English Roast Beef!
 
Note 1. The last four stanzas added by Richard Loveridge. [back]
 
 
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