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Song LXXIII., pp.325-328.

[Tea-Table Miscellany Contents]

The tippling Philosophers


DIogenes surly and proud, 

Who snarl’d at the Macedon youth, 

Delighted in wine that was good, 

Because in good wine there was truth; 

But growing as poor as a Job

Unable to purchase a flask, 

He chose for his mansion a tub, 

And liv’d by the scent of the cask. 


Heraclitus ne’er would deny 

A bumper, to cherish his heart; 

And when he was maudlin would cry, 

Because he had empty’d his quart: 

Tho’ some are so foolish to think, 

He wept at men’s follies and vice, 

‘Twas only his custom to drink, 

Till the liquor flow’d out of his eyes. 


Democritus always was glad 

To tipple, and cherish his soul; 

Would laugh like a man that was mad, 

When over a good flowing bowl; 

As long as his cellar was stor’d, 

The liquor he’d merrily quaff; 

And when he was drunk as a lord, 

At them that were sober he’d laugh. 


Wise Solon, who carefully gave 

Good laws unto Athens of old, 

And thought the rich Creesus a slave 

(Tho’ a king) to his coffers of gold; 

He delighted in plentiful bowls; 

But drinking much talk would decline, 

Because ‘twas the custom of fools, 

To prattle much over their wine. 


Old Socrates ne’er was content, 

Till a bottle had heighten’d his joys, 

Who in’s cups to the oracle went, 

Or he ne’er had been counted so wise: 

Late hours he most certainly lov’d, 

Made wine the delight of his life, 

Or Xantippe would never have prov’d 

Such a damnable scold of a wife. 


Grave Seneca, fam’d for his parts, 

Who tutor’d the bully of Rome

Grew wise o’er his cups and his quarts, 

Which he drank like a miser at home; 

And, to shew he lov’d wine that was good 

To the last, (we may truly aver it) 

He tinctur’d his bath with his blood, 

So fancy’d he died in his claret. 


Pythagoras did silence enjoin, 

On his pupils who wisdom would seek; 

Because he tippled good wine, 

Till himself was unable to speak; 

And when he was whimsical grown, 

With sipping his plentiful bowls, 

By the strength of the juice in his crown, 

He conceiv’d transmigration of souls. 


Copernicus too, like the rest, 

Believ’d there was wisdom in wine, 

And thought that a cup of the best 

Made reason the brighter to shine; 

With wine he replenish’d his viens, 

And made his philosophy reel; 

Then fancy’d the world, like his brains, 

Turn’d round like a chariot wheel. 


Aristotle, that master of arts, 

Had been but a dunce without wine, 

And what we ascribe to his parts, 

Is due to the juce of the vine: 

His belly, most writers agree, 

Was big as a watering-trough; 

He therefore leapt into the sea, 

Because he’d have liquor enough. 


Old Plato was reckon’d divine, 

He fondly to wisdom was prone; 

But had it not been for good wine, 

His merits had never been known. 

By wine we are generous made, 

It furnishes fancy with wings, 

Without it we ne’er shou’d have had 

Philosophers, poets, or kings. 

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