Saturday, August 01, 2015


“I may not here omit those two main plagues and common dotages of human kind, wine and women, which have infatuated and besotted myriads of people: they go commonly together.

Qui vino indulget, quemque alea decoquit, ille In Venerem putris. 1
[Who wastes his health with drink, his wealth with play, The same with womenfolk shall rot away.]

To whom is sorrow, saith Solomon (Prov. xxiii, 29), to whom is woe, but to such a one as loves drink? it causeth torture (vino tortus et ira [tortured with drunken rage]) and bitterness of mind (Sirac. xxxiv, 29). Vinumfuroris, Jeremy calls it (xxv, 15), wine of madness, as well he may, for insanire facit sanos, it makes sound men sick and sad, and wise men mad,2 to say and do they know not what. Accidit hodie terribilis casus (saith St. Austin8), hear a miserable accident; Cyrillus' son this day in his drink matrem prcegnantem nequiter oppressit, sororem violare voluit, patrem occiditfere, et duas alias sorores ad mortem vulneravit, would have violated his sister, killed his father, etc. A true saying it was of him, vino dari leetitiam et dolorem, drink causeth mirth, and drink causeth sorrow, drink causeth "poverty and want" (Prov. xxi), shame and disgrace. Multi ignobiles evasere ob vini potum, et (Austin) amissis honoribus profugi aberrarunt: many men have made shipwreck of their fortunes, and go like rogues and beggars, having turned all their substance into aurum potabile [potable gold], that otherwise might have lived in good worship and happy estate, and for a few hours' pleasure (for their Hilary term 's but short4), or free madness, as Seneca calls it, purchase unto themselves eternal tediousness and trouble.5
That other madness is on women. Apostatare facit cor [it maketh the heart go astray] saith the wise man, atque homini cerebrum minuit6 [and minishes the mind of man]. Pleasant at first she is, like Dioscorides' rhododaphne, that fair plant to the eye, but poison to the taste, the rest as bitter as wormwood in the end (Prov. v, 4), and sharp as a two-edged sword. "Her house is the way to hell, and goes down to the chambers of death" (Prov. vii, 27). What more sorrowful can be said? they are miserable in this life, mad, beasts, led like "oxen to the slaughter":7 and that which is worse, whoremasters and drunkards shall be judged; Amittunt gratiam, saith Austin, per-dunt gloriam, incurrunt damnationem ceternam: they lose grace and glory:

Brevis ilia voluptas Abrogat cetemum cash decus; x

[That pleasure of a moment Deprives him of eternal bliss above;]
they gain hell and eternal damnation.”

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy