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RfV July 2013
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- Apparently it is an error, but quite an ancient one. In the prologue to Chaucer's Cantebury Tales Skeat writes "Speght wrongly explained ale-stake as 'a Maypole,' and has misled many others, including Chatterton, who thus was led to write the absurd line—' Around the ale-stake minstrels sing the song'; Ælla, st. 30. ' At the ale-stake' is correct". The definition of maypole is given in numerous 18th and 19th century dictionaries, but no actual usages besides the luckless poet mentioned by Skeat. The correct meaning is "a post outside an ale-house on which a garland is hung". SpinningSpark 16:22, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
- And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
- A gerland hadde he set upon his heed
- As greet as it were for an ale-stake;
- A bokeleer hadde he maad him of a cake. - Chaucer