The Varied Phases of Beer by Harold Mercer

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It was a bet 'twixt Brown and Jones.
   Brown blatantly made claim
That he could order twenty beers
   And never speak the name.

It was included in the bet
   That never twice should he
Use any phrase. Conditions set,
   We started on the spree.

Commencing, Brown bespoke "A pot,"
   And, next, "The same," he said:
Then "Ditto"; and, to get a fourth,
   "This time a bit more head."

Then Jones protested, stating we
   From bar to bar should run:
"The same" and "ditto" was not fair.
   We scored the four as one.

Thence, passing on to other bars,
   Brown ordered, first, "A mug,"
And then "A pint," "Some amber juice,"
   "Your nearest to a jug."

"Just something long and cool and wet,"
   "A trifle from the cask,"
"A schooner," and, to get the ninth,
   "A quart is all I ask."

And then he sought "A Tommy Dodd,"
   "A little with a dash
Of gingerbeer," "A simple glass,"
   "Your best for threepence, cash."

"Some yellow stuff," "A length of froth."
   "A hop-juice," "Drunkard's tea,"
And striking then a pub we knew:
   "The usual thing for me."

"A mead of stagger," then he craved;
   And with "A pony one,"
He smiled triumphantly at Jones,
   Claiming the deed as done.

Though Smith depreciated it --
   He said the name of beer
Had not at all been touched by Brown --
   The others raised a cheer.

And though old Brown inclined to doubt
   The deed as finished yet,
We promptly settled down to drink
   The ten rounds of the bet.

First published in The Bulletin, 21 October 1915

Author: Harold Bayley was born in Kelvin Grove, Queensland, in 1882 and took the name Harold Mercer after his mother divorced in 1893.  He was a chess prodigy as a child and began writing poetry at the age of 15.  He took up acting but left that role when he married in 1905.  Heavily involved in the union movement in Australia he helped set up 28 new unions.  He was appointed to the Sydney Morning Herald on the basis of his knowledge of labour affairs.  Mercer served in the AIF in France, was invalided out and returned to Australia where he worked in journalism and magazine publishing.  He died in Bondi, New South Wales, in 1952.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 21, 2012 6:38 PM.

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