Bring Us Good Ale

DESCRIPTION: The singer, "for our blessed Lady's sake," demands that the server "Bring us in good ale." Other foods are rejected (e.g. "Bring us in no brown bread, for that is made of bran, And bring us in no white bread, for therein is no gain.")
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1475 (Oxford, MS. Bodl. Eng. Poet. e.1)
KEYWORDS: food drink nonballad MiddleEnglish
FOUND IN: Britain
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Greene-TheEarlyEnglishCarols, #422, pp. 285-286, "(no title)" (2 texts)
Sidgwick/Chambers-EarlyEnglishLyrics CXXVIII, pp. 222-223, "(no title)" (1 text)
Stevick-OneHundredMiddleEnglishLyrics 82, "(Bryng Us in Good Ale)" (1 text)
Rickert-AncientEnglishChristmasCarols, p. 245, "Bring us in Good Ale" (1 text)
Chappell/Wooldridge-OldEnglishPopularMusic I, pp. 30-31, "Nowell, Nowell" (1 tune, with a fragment of this text appended)
Brown/Robbins-IndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse, #549
DigitalIndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse #893
ADDITIONAL: Richard Greene, editor, _A Selection of English Carols_, Clarendon Mdieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962, #88, pp. 154-155, "(Bryng us in good ale, and bryng us in good ale)" (1 text)
Rossell Hope Robbins, Secular Lyrics of the XIVth and XVth Century , Oxford University Press, 1952, pp. 9-10, "Bring Good AleI" (1 text)
Celia and Kenneth Sisam, _The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse_, Oxford University Press, 1970; corrected edition 1973, #222, p. 482, "Bring us in Good Ale" (1 text)
Reginald Nettel, _Seven Centuries of Popular Song_, Phoenix House, 1956, pp. 31-32, "(no title)" (1 text)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #72, "Bring Us In Good Ale" (1 text)
MANUSCRIPT: {MSEngPoetE1}, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Eng. Poet. e.1 (Bodley 29734), folio 41
MANUSCRIPT: {MSHarley541}, London, British Library, MS. Harley 541, folio 214

NOTES [184 words]: This is another song that cannot be demonstrated to have circulated in oral tradition. Its prevalence in the printed collections (starting with Ritson and Gammer Gurton's Garland), however, argues for its inclusion here -- especially as there are two distinct Middle English texts, from Bodleian MS. Eng. poet e. 1 (eight stanzas) and British Library MS. Harley 541 (six stanzas), a manuscript with only about nine poetic items although there is much other material.
According to RIckert, one of the manuscripts contains a note which seems to say that this is sung to the same tune as a carol which begins, "Nowel, nowell, nowell, This is the salutation of the angel Gabriel" -- i.e. the song indexed as "The Salutation Carol." For this tune, see Chappell/Wooldridge-OldEnglishPopularMusic. However, Nettel, p 31, says that the association of text and tune is due to a bookbinding mistake, and that the carol and drinking song do not even fit the same melody.
For more about the famous anthology Bodleian MS. Eng. Poet. e.1 (Bodleian 29734), see the notes to "The Golden Carol (The Three Kings)." - RBW
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File: MEL82

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