Darby, Joan & an English Tankard
by Terry Betteridge on July 28th, 2014
Here we have a tale to be re-told by a Sherlock… At first glance, the tankard is English. It is Charles II in form and mark, but the chasing, a wonderful illustration in sterling silver, is extraordinary for it’s depth and detail; poetry fully written.
In 1735, a poet of little fame except for this one ode, wrote the story of his kindly hosts to whom he was apprenticed in his youth: Darby and Joan. Wrinkled and stooped, but smiling and satisfied with comfort of a lifetimes memories together, the old couple sits smoking and drinking outside their favorite pub, their dog tight by their sides. “What are the charms can you guess, that makes them so fond?” asks the writer who then answers, “Tis the remembrance of youth… The thoughts of past pleasure…”
Noel Coward, in the middle of the last century knew the poem still and parodies the loving oldsters in his musical Sail Away with the song of Bronxville Darby and Joan, keeping the story still alive and more local.