Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Trollied Tuesday: Poems about Drinking

 Few things surpass old wine; and they may preach
Who please,—the more because they preach in vain,—
Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda-water the day after.

Man, being reasonable, must get drunk;
The best of life is but intoxication:
Glory, the grape, love, gold, in these are sunk
The hopes of all men, and of every nation;
Without their sap, how branchless were the trunk
Of life's strange tree, so fruitful on occasion:
But to return,—Get very drunk; and when
You wake with headache, you shall see what then.

Ring for your valet—bid him quickly bring
Some hock and soda-water, then you 'll know
A pleasure worthy Xerxes the great king;
For not the bless'd sherbet, sublimed with snow,
Nor the first sparkle of the desert-spring,
Nor Burgundy in all its sunset glow,
After long travel, ennui, love, or slaughter,
Vie with that draught of hock and soda-water.

(Byron: from Don Juan Canto II)

Quite so. You can never go wrong with a drink and you can never go wrong with a bit of Byron. This digression (in the middle of a passage about love and landscape, as it happens) proves that the essence of great poetry is the essence of life itself. And the essence of great wine is… you get the point.

You don't get many people drinking hock and soda water these days; I suspect it is too easily assumed to be a white wine spritzer, which is a bit girly. However, if more of us instructed our valets to bring us hock and soda water, the world would be a better place.



Blogger Glamourpuss said...

What's wrong with being girly? I'm sure Byron woudl have approved of being girly.


11:43 am  
Blogger bill said...

Nothing wrong with it, up to a point Puss, though it depends on who you are and in what context. His own view was that women should never been seen eating or drinking unless it were lobster and champagne.

At one stage in his life he also shacked up with a 16-year-old courtesan whom he persuaded to dress and act as if she were a boy; so I think it's fair to say Byron had his reservations about girlie-ness.

12:52 pm  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Except where his sister was concerned. If you believe the gossip...


11:18 am  

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