Monday, 18 April 2016

A grace for London Taverns

"Long since, in King James's time, I have heard my uncle Danvers say (who knew him) that he lived without Temple Bar, at a comb-maker's shop about the Elephant and Castle*.  In his later time he lived in Westminster, in the old house under which you pass as you go out of the churchyard into the old palace; where he died.

A Grace by Ben Jonson, extempore, before King James:
'Our king and queen, the Lord-God bless
The Paltzgrave, and the Lady Bess,
And God bless every living thing
That lives, and breathes, and loves the king,
God bless the Council of Estate,
And Buckingham, the fortunate.
God bless them all, and keep them safe,
And God bless me, and God bless Raph.'

The king was mighty inquisitive to know who this Raph was.  Ben told him 'twas the drawer at the Swan tavern, by Charing Cross, who drew him good canary.  For this drollery his majesty gave him a hundred pounds."

Brief Lives  John Aubrey

 The Workes of Benjamin Jonson, Folio edition 1616
Folger Shakespeare Library

* "In the south suburbs, at the Elephant,
Is best to Lodge: I will bespeak  our diet,
Whiles you beguile the time and feed your knowledge
With viewing of the town: there shall you have me." 

Antonio in Twelfth Night, Act III

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