Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

London Taverns

The Mermaid

By Francis Beaumont (1586–1616)

(From Mr. Francis Beaumont’s Letter to Ben Jonson)

WHAT things have we seen

Done at the Mermaid! heard words that have been

So nimble, and so full of subtle flame,

As if that every one from whence they came

Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,

And had resolved to live a fool the rest

Of his dull life; that when there hath been thrown

Wit able enough to justify the town

For three days past,—wit that might warrant be

For the whole city to talk foolishly

Till that were cancelled; and when that was gone,

We left an air behind us, which alone

Was able to make the two next companies

(Right witty, though but downright fools) more wise.