78 KIPLING'S SUSSEX
The morn when menacing Spain found Drake at play.
Without a fierce wind holds the rain at bay, But here the firelight's ruddy welcome streams O'er toilworn forms, and on the pewter gleams
Where foams the bright brown ale of Arcady.
The cares of the brief winter day are o'er.
Now Hesperus brings his boons ; the pipes are lit, Fast flows the interchange of homely wit,
The talk of ten-mile-travels and wildwood lore."
As far back as one can follow the ancient records of the town, there has always been a Mermaid Inn there, and when it is remembered that Rye was the birthplace, in 1579 °f Fletcher, the Elizabethan dramatist, it seems to bring the whole place into quite close connection with Shakespeare and the famous Mermaid Tavern in Bread Street. The Mermaid Inn at Rye has been refronted, and is built round a small courtyard. It has several good fireplaces and oak-panelled rooms. Lower down the street is Old Hospital, as it is called, which once belonged to the well-known Rye family of Jeake. It is an almost perfect specimen of a timbered house, with three pointed overhanging gables, steep, tiled roof, and charming leaded windows, whose diamond panes bulge in and out with age and catch the light at all angles. At the bottom of the steep pitch we turn to the right into the Mint, which winds