Ales, Beers, Shakespeares

  • Graham Holderness
  • Bryan Loughrey


Boy Would I were in an alehouse in London. I would give all my fame for a pot of ale and safety. (Henry V, 3.2.10–11)1

Here the Boy in Henry V, on the night before Agincourt, expresses his homesick longing to be out of danger, in a familiar alehouse, drinking a pot of ale. Far from the ‘vasty fields of France’ (1.Prologue.10), the national drink comes to represent shelter and safety; an alehouse in England, a pot of ale that is home. The Boy is of course killed the next day, so he never makes it home, and his pot of ale remains eternally untasted.


Seventeenth Century Telephone Conversation Brewing Industry Harvester Wheatsheaf Label Source 
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© The Editor(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Holderness
  • Bryan Loughrey

There are no affiliations available

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