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Friday, January 26, 2007

Best Advice Ever Learned from a Renaissance Poem

"Drink not the third glass, which thou canst not tame"
--George Herbert


(Unless someone wants to push for Barnabe Googe:

"Give money me, take
Friendship whoso list")

  • At 1/26/2007 10:50:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    ... poure the shame,
    Which it would poure on thee, upon the floore.
    It is most just to throw that on the ground,
    Which would throw me there, if I keep the round.


    As it happens, I did not obey this edict tonight, and drank the 3rd, and even the 4th, glasses. I just felt I had to keep the round. You know how it is.

     

  • At 1/27/2007 08:19:00 AM, Blogger Adam Roberts wrote…

    Doesn't apply to prune juice.

    Although, actually, now that I come to think of it ...

     

  • At 1/27/2007 11:55:00 AM, Blogger Flavia wrote…

    I dispute the wisdom of Herbert's advice. I mean--wasting perfectly good liquor like that? Dude just needs to work on his tolerance.

    My favorite piece of (implicit) advice from a Renaissance poem comes in Donne's "Elegy IV: The Perfume": when you're sneaking around the house of your beloved, if you wear a "loud perfume," you'll be discovered, but if you cover yourself in a bad scent, your lover's father will think it's his own smelly feet, and never detect you:

    But O ! too common ill, I brought with me
    That, which betray'd me to mine enemy,
    A loud perfume, which at my entrance cried
    Even at thy father's nose ; so were we spied.
    When, like a tyrant King, that in his bed
    Smelt gunpowder, the pale wretch shivered,
    Had it been some bad smell, he would have thought
    That his own feet, or breath, that smell had wrought.

     

  • At 1/27/2007 01:10:00 PM, Blogger Truewit wrote…

    I always expect to see something about "throwing up" here, but the OED dates that idiom to 1732.

    It is most just to throw that on the ground,
    Which I would throw up there, if I keep the round.


    the extra syllable is for extra emphasis, natch.

    And, F, Donne's loud perfume is making me reconsider the volume of perfume more generally in the period. I mean, how loud would this stuff have to have been to have traveled all the way to the stinking father's bed and to have woken him up? I guess house size fits into the picture, and sleeping arrangements could have been tight, but for some reason I imagine Donne imagining himself sneaking around with the rich girls. And thus wearing extremely loud perfume.

     

  • At 1/28/2007 11:24:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    Flavia: I also intend to ignore Herbert's advice pretty systematically. But maybe he's being wise in a way that I just don't want to acknowledge. At least, it seems that the third glass is a kind of breaking point for various theories of drinking, some more credible, some … not so much. This article says that three drinks or more per day raises bloodpressure, etc. And this site warns that three drinks of a vampire’s blood will form a lasting, but not necessarily permanent, bond with that vampire. Which I’m sure was exactly what Herbert was worried about. (Though I don’t remember it working quite that way on Buffy…).

     

  • At 1/31/2007 12:06:00 AM, Anonymous Aldo Manuzio wrote…

    I'm with Hieronomo tonight--I believe I stopped after number four tonight (I couldn't help it--the Vesper martini with the Lillet is so very tasty, and the Australian cab was unexpectedly good). In the past, I have found that it is the fifth glass that resists taming--often late at night.

    Inkhorn, you'll be happy to know that I managed to very successfully incorporate Buffy into my talk last night. Xander was revealed as both the principal point of audience identification, as well as the principal point of audience contempt. And I'm sticking to that.

     


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