Roast Beef of Olde England

Words and music by: Richard Leveridge (1735)

In these days of vegetarianism and mad cow disease some people would prefer to forget that roast beef is England’s true national dish. It’s not for nothing that the Frogs call us ‘Le Rosbifs’ you know.

Roast Beef of Olde England

When Mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman’s Food
It ennobl’d our veins and enriched our Blood:
Our Soldiers were Brave and our Courtiers were Good.
Oh! The Roast Beef of Old England,
And Old English Roast Beef!

But since we have learned from all vapouring France,
To eat their Ragouts, as well as to Dance.
We are fed up with nothing but vain Complaisance,
Oh! The Roast Beef, etc.

Our Fathers, of old, were Robust, Stout and Strong,
And kept open House, with good cheer all day long.
Which made their plump Tenants rejoyce in this Song,
Oh! The Roast Beef, etc.

When good Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne
E’er Coffee and Tea and such slip-slops were known;
The World was in Terror if e’er she did frown.
Oh! The Roast Beef, etc.

In those days, if Fleets did presume on the Main,
They seldom, or never, return’d back again,
As witness, the Vaunting Armada of Spain.
Oh! The Roast Beef, etc.

Random Quote

While the Scottish anthem, Flower of Scotland, goes on about beating the English 600 years ago, Jerusalem talks of the future, of fighting for something yet to be achieved “till we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land”.

— Billy Bragg, The Mirror

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