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Athenaeus of Naucratis / Volume I: Books I-VII

Book II: epitome,   pp. 57-121


Page 59

a. 3.]                    DRINKING.- 
Wine to our daily feasts brings cheerful laughter, 
When mix'd with proper quantities of water; 
Men saucy get if one-third wine they quaff; 
While downright madness flows from half-and-half; 
And neat wine mind and body too destroys; 
While moderation wise secures our joys. 
And well the oracle takes this position, 
That Bacchus is all people's best physician. 
3. And Eubulus introduces Bacchus as saying- 
Let them three parts of wine all duly season 
With nine of water, who'd preserve their reason; 
The first gives health, the second sweet desires, 
The third tranquillity and sleep inspires. 
These -are the wholesome draughts which wise men please, 
Who from the banquet home return in peace. 
From a fourth measure insolence proceeds; 
Uproar a fifth, a sixth wild licence breeds; 
A seventh brings black eyes and livid bruises, 
The eighth the constable next introduces; 
Black gall and hatred lurk the ninth beneath, 
The tenth is madness, arms, and fearful death; 
For too much wine pourd in one little vessel, 
Trips up all those who seek with'it to wrestle. 
And Epicharmus says- 
A. Sacrifices feasts produce, 
Drinking then from feasts proceeds. 
B. Such rotation has its use. 
A. Then the drinking riot breeds; 
Then on riot and confusion 
Follow law and prosecution; 
Law brings sentence; sentence chains; 
Chains bring wounds and ulcerous pains. 
And Panyasis the epic poet allots the first cup of wine to the 
Graces, the Hours, and Bacchus; the second to Venus, and 
again to Bacchus; the third to Insolence and Destruction, 
And so he says- 
O'er the first glass the Graces three preside, 
And with the smiling Hours the palm divide; 
Next Bacchus, parent of the sacred vine, 
And Venus, loveliest daughter of the brine, 
Smile on the second cup, which cheers the heart, 
And bids the drinker home in peace depart. 
But the third cup is waste and sad excess, 
Parent of wrongs, denier of redress; 
Oh, who can tell what evils may befall 
When Strife and Insult rage throughout the hall I 


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