Hell in Herefordshire
The wild white rose is cankered along the vale of Lugg;
There is poison in the tankard; there is murder in the mug.
Through all the pleasant valley where stand the pale-faced kine,
Men raise the Devil's chalice and drink this bitter wine.
Unspeakable carouses that shame the summer sky
Take place in little houses that look towards the Wye.
And near the Radnor border and the dark hills of Wales,
Beelzebub is warder, and sorcery prevails.
For, spite of Church and chapel, ungodly folk there be
Who pluck the cider apple from the cider apple tree,
And squeeze it in their presses until the juice runs out,
At various addresses that no-one knows about.
And, maddened by the orgies of that ungodly brew,
They slit each others' gorges from one a.m. till two,
Till Ledbury is in shambles, and in the dirt and mud
Where Leominster sits and gambles, the dice are stained with blood.
But still, if strength suffices, before the day is done,
I'll go and share the vices of Clungunford and Clun
But watch the red sun sinking across the March again,
And join the secret drinking of outlaws at Presteigne.
by E.V. Knox
as heard on Poetry Please Radio 4
I'm going to sing this.