In the taverns and low places of amusement haunted by those lettered songsters, on the open road and in the forests trodden by their vagrant feet, the deities of Greece and Rome were not in exile, but at home within the hearts of living men.
These elements are, briefly stated, (1) a strong partiality for subjects dealing with humble life, in country and town, with the fun of taverns and village greens, with that domestic life in the rough which goes to the making of the earlier farces in English and French; (2) a whimsical, elfin kind of wit, delighting in extravagance and topsy-turviness; (3) a frank interest in the pleasures of good company and good drink.
In those days of public conviviality, and for many years afterwards, the taverns of London held a very important place.
It is mentioned in a comedy entitled Ram Alley (1611) and Lilly the 2 Various changes in the names of the taverns are made in the folio edition of this play (1616) from the quarto (1601); thus the Mermaid of the quarto becomes the Windmill in the folio, and the Mitre of the quarto is the Star of the folio.
The gates and shops were all closed, only here and there round the taverns solitary shouts or drunken songs could be heard.