“Next to mine own shippe I do most love
That old “shippe” in Exon, a tavern in St. Martin’s Lane.” (Francis Drake, 1587)
Sir Francis Drake supped
With sixteenth century swank
As his naval ship-mates tottered with rum-tots
On oaken floor-boards, walking the plank.
I wonder whether he boozed harder
As his Elizabethan world view blurred;
Head spinning, he spun the one about the Armada,
Slurring the Spanish as his English words slurred.
A Very Important Pirate, he autographed beer-mats
For West Country folk, his Exeter fans
As in his favourite watering hole, he happily spat
Making merry in Merry England.
Meanwhile, having had no success with the weaker vessel,
His crew poured out of the tap-bar, lamenting Hello me Hearty!
Having had their melancholic fill
They set off to drown their Tudor sorrows at sea.