Thomas Earle Welby had asked for rhymed epigrams to beer, much as there had been a French song about a particular wine. Welby’s introduction is a little wordy (‘I hope it will be taken for granted that I had no operating prejudices about one beer as against another’). But he admits to a brew from Salisbury by a Mr. Lovibond, and is surprised there is no mention, either of Simmonds of Reading – or Guinness. He offers the advice that half-in-half of Guinness and tonic-water after strenuous extertion, like tennis, is particularly ‘salutary’. I’m going to pass on that one.
This is the first report that has been squeezed by space (so much so that even the poem held over from the previous week is held over again … a sign of a healthy magazine). There are commendations for Lester Ralph (the only original signatory not to have won any cash), and six others, including one not disqualified for writing about cider (this is a lax judge!).
MEUX DE LUXE
” ‘Tis nectar, sure, I knew it,
Pressed from Olympus’ vine.
From Kentish hops they brew it
In the Land where Elms are Nine.
Meux is its one begetter.”
He answered: “I suggest
Mieux is but France’s better,
But Meux is England’s best.”
Not a great poem, I’m afraid, but it’s an excuse to bring out this link to a Meux catastrophe.
Second prize is slighter slighter still: and for some reason (does he have shares in it?) H.C.M. won’t even name it (he’s sent in a private note):
“Whence is this beer I’ve quaffed?
Came it from Heav’n?”
“Sure, ’tis the famous draught
Ale of Loch Leven,
Made by … alas, I can
Not recollect … er …”
“Heed not, I’ll dub the man
Brewer of Nectar.”
2B. The two Latin translations are briefly commended, and the runners up include Lester Ralph, Valimus, H.C.M. – and of course, Seacape. E.J.M gets the guinea; Non Omnia the half-guinea. The flower/ power rhyme can’t be resisted.
Take, my Flower, this flower,
A token of Love’s power;
For the love that flowers thereon
Is too great to bear alone.
Yon flower pluck, O Rose my Rose,
Yon flower wherein Love’s own self glows:
And hold it, for that very flower
Holds me with Love’s almighty power.