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monarchs or heroes, whose lives have been persons of quality, in large vessels. The devoted to the service of their country. All of words addressed by Agamemnon to his guest these are usually celebrated with great intem- Idomeneus, King of Crete, well illustrate perance. A host of anniversary meetings of this practice :this description might be cited. The Pitt, “ Though all the rest with stated rules we bound, Fox, and other similar political dinners ; the Unmixed, unmeasured, are thy goblets crowned.” annual assemblies of various public societies ;
POPE. and in particular, the birth-day festivities of Athenæus, among other examples, makes our sovereigns, commonly present to our mention of a vessel so large that it was notice scenes of gross intemperance. almost too heavy to be carried by a young
The elections of members of parliament man. The same author, however, remarks, have long been notorious for the intemper- that though men of great estates and quality, ance with which they have been accompanied. in his time, used large cups, it was not In some districts, during the continuance of anciently the practice of Greece, but lately these elections, the streets are crowded with learned from barbarous nations, who being drunkards, riots ensue, and not unfrequently ignorant of arts and humanity, indulge lives are lost.
themselves in the immoderate use of drink, The various corporation and other civic and all sorts of dainties ; whereas it does not feasts have been equally notorious for in- appear, says he, from the testimony of those dulgence in strong drink. A humourous who lived before our times, that a cup of a example which took place in the reign of very large size was ever made use of in any Queen Elizabeth, is given in Beatniffe's part of Greece, except those which belonged Tour in Norfolk. The stock of wines in to the heroes. * the possession of the old Bristol corporation, After supper it was usual to introduce (see advertisement of its sale,) comprised cups of a larger size than those which had no less than 6300 bottles, “ selected with been previously used. the nicest care and judgment, for civic “ Postquam prima quies epulis, mensæque remotæ, hospitality”—(drunkenness.)
Crateras magnos statuunt, et vina coronant."The manner in which these various feasts
VIRGIL. have been conducted, almost entirely pre- It was customary, among the Greeks and cludes the possibility of maintaining sobriety. Romans, to wear crowns or garlands, during Among the Greeks and Romans it was cus- the continuance of their feasts. These were tomary at every feast to appoint a governor, not considered as ornaments merely, but or president, as he would be now called in were supposed to prevent speedy intoxiEngland, whose duty it was to see that the cation. Each guest, after supper, was prolaws of drinking were properly observed, and vided with one of these singular appendages, that each individual took his full share of previously to his partaking freely of wine. the inebriating draught. At Athens, public Among other varieties of crowns, described officers were appointed for this purpose : by Athenæus and contemporary writers, was και έφεώρων εί κατ' ίσον πίνουσιν οι συνόντες one called Tumultuaria. It was placed on who were called ò.vórtai and at other times the head of the drunkard. Of this descripin a metaphorical sense, opdaruoi, eyes. tion is the one which Plautus alludes to Those individuals who refused to drink their when the servant declares that he will put a full share were necessitated to depart. This crown on his head and feign himself drunk. was in accordance with the well-known law
"Capiam coronam in caput, assimulabo me esse of such meetings, '
Hii ň, &triði, either ebrium.” drink or begone. The manner in which On these occasions, it was also usual to this law was estimated among these nations, anoint their heads with ointments and permay be known by the remarks of Cicero : fumes, which, like the Coroniæ, were sup• To me," saith he, “ it seems but reason- posed by their cooling properties, to prevent able, in the affairs of life, to observe the the evil effects which arise from vinous exsame law which the Greeks keep at their citement. entertainments—either let them drink, (say A skeleton, or the representation of one, they) or depart—very right, for one should was commonly introduced by the ancient either partake of the pleasure of drinking Romans at their feasts. This practice is and being merry, or leave the company.* said to have been instituted in imitation of
The strictness with which the laws of the Egyptians. The governor of the feast drinking were observed, gave occasion to was accustomed to look at this repulsive Cicero to reproach an individual that qui object and utter these words, vivamus, dum nunqam populi Romani legibus paruisset, licet esse bene, let us live while it is periis legibus quæ in poculis ponebantur ob-mitted us to enjoy life. Iive TE KAI TEPTEV, temperabat,-he who never hads ubmitted to coreal gap atrobavwv TULOUTOS, drink and be the laws of the Roman people, should yield merry, for thus shalt thou be after death.t obedience to the laws of drinking.t Some writers suppose, however, that these
Among other customs observed at Grecian feasts, was that of drinking to heroes and * Vide Potter's Grecian Antiquities, vol. ii. lib. practices were instituted to remind those practised in his times. After a striking present of death, and the importance of a illustration of the mode in which their feasts due regard of their latter end. The Scy- were conducted, he says, If a man in war thians, we are told, were accustomed to finds himself too weak, he turns his arms drink out of a skull.
iv. c. ii. p. 389.
+ Herod. ii. 78. s. 74. Plut. Conv. Sapient 6. # Tusc. Quæst. lib 5. Cicero. orat, in verrem. Petr. 34.
and deserves a pardon; but here, if any man VII. No one cause has contributed so gives up, or turns his cup, he is urged to much to the formation of intemperate habits, drink.” In your banquets, if a man take at festive entertainments, as the practice of off his hand from the wine, it is poured into health drinking; and, in more modern his mouth. All are drunk; the conquerors times, the custom of drinking toasts, which and conquered do all lie down drunk.* has indeed, in a great measure, superseded St. Ambrose, in a subsequent place, inveighs the former. It dates its origin from a very against the unlawful and arbitrary practice early period. The customs of the Greeks of drinking healths.t and Romans, in respect to health-drinking, Lord Coke informs us, that the Ancient bear great similarity to those of the present Britons, had a similar custom : day. The plea of reverence to the gods,
“Ecce Brittanorum mos est laudabilis iste, and remembrance of absent friends, among Ut bibat arbitrio pocula quisque suo. I these nations, was the common inducement to free drinking. The habit of drinking
The origin of the Wassail bowl is inti. wine unmixed with water, first to the gods, mately connected with the practice of healthand then to absent friends, was termed by drinking. Mr. Brand, an English antiquarian Cicero,* • Græco more bibere," or, to drink of great learning and research, states, on the after the Greek fashion. A favourite authority of Thomas de la Moore,!! and old custom among these people was to drink Havillan, $ that was-haile and drinc-heil healths to their absent mistresses. As these were the usual ancient phrases of quaffing healths were popular, they were drunk with among the English, and synonymous with the proportionate honour. It not unfrequently
" Come, here's to you,” and “I pledge happened, that the number of cups drank you," of the present day. equalled the letters in their mistresses name. The annual custom of handing round the Thus in Martial, t.
wassail-bowl, according to Geoffrey of Mon.
mouth and other writers, had its rise in the “NAEVIA Sex Cyathis Septum JUSTINA bibatur."
following circumstance. Hengist, the Saxon This practice, however, was not confined to general, invited Voltigern to a feast. Rowena, the honour of the ladies. The health of daughter of the Saxon, by command of her Cæsar, for example, was celebrated with six father, entered the banquet-hall with a bowl glasses, while that of Germanicus was of wine, and thus welcomed the British honoured with ten. Thus, also, with regard king—“Louerd king wass-heil,” that is, to others. In course of time, the number of Be of health, Lord King. The British glasses drunk was considered an indication monarch, through the medium of an interof the respect entertained by the proposer preter, replied, “ Drinc heile,” or drink towards the honoured individual. Numer-health. This, according to Robert of ous other popular toasts are recorded by Gloster, was “ in this land the first was-heil." ancient writers. The muses, for example, The poet thus relates the circumstance :being nine, a proportionate number of cups were drunk to their honour; but those who
“ Health, my lord king, the sweet Rowena said ;
Health, cry'd the chieftain, to the Saxon maid ; wished to exhibit their moderation, confined Then gaily rose, and 'midst the concourse wide themselves to the graces. Horace thus de- Kiss'd her hale lips, and plac'd her by his side :
At the soft scene such gentle thoughts abound, scribes this practice :
That health and kisses 'mongst the guests went “ Here's a bumper to midnight; to Luna's first round; shining;
From this the social custom took its rise, A third to our friend in his post of divining. We still retain.” Come, fill up the bowl, then fill up your bumpers, Let three or thrice three, be the jovial of numbers. This occurrence took place nearly 1400 years The poet enraptured sure never refuses His brimmers thrice three to his odd numbered ago.
Since that period, the practice of
banding round the wassail-bowl, has been But the graces, in naked simplicity cautious, more or less intimately associated with the Are afraid, more than three might to quarrels drinking usages of this country: debauch us."
The practice of drinking healths was inThe arbitrary customs of drinking were op, terdicted at the court of Louis XIV., of posed in the court of Ahasuerus. the drinking was according to the law; ment to the formation of habits of intem
France, in consequence of its strong inducenone did compel: for so the king had
appointed-that they should do according to
Sir Wm. Temple, during a diplomatic every man's pleasure.''A similar custom visit to the Bishop of Munster, was witness prevailed among the Lacedemonians.
to a remarkable example of health-drinking, St. Ambrose exclaims in strong terms against the temptations to excess commonly * Ambrose de Helia etc. cap. 13.
+ Ibid cap. 17. * Orat. iii. in verrem. + Lib. i. Epigram. 72. I Coke's Instit. iii. c. 96. 1 Esther i. 8.
| Vita Edw. II. § In Architren, lib. ii.
which he denominates “the most episcopal every idle fellow's mistress, till the whole way of drinking that could be invented.”, company's wits be drowned in drink, that The bishop called for wine to drink the king's not religion only, but reason be wholly health. They brought him a formal bell, exiled, and the meeting itself be rather called of silver gilt, that might hold about two a drunken match, than a marriage feast."'* quarts or more-he took it, pulled out the “ The ingenious and Rev. Samuel Ward, clapper, and gave it to me, whom he intended of Ipswich, gives cases of six or seven to drink to, then had the bell filled, and that died after the drinking of healths; and drank it off to his majesty's health I then prescribes as the best means for ruining asked me for the clapper, put it again into drunkenness, if great persons would first the bell, and rang out a loud peal to show he begin thorough reformation in their own had played fair! This jolly peal was rung families, banish the spirits from their butteries, by every gentleman in the hall, myself ex- abandon that foolish and vicious custom, as cepted, who could never in my life manage St. Ambrose and Basil call it, of drinking more than one quart of wine at a draught.” healths, and making that a sacrifice to God This circumstance is recorded in a letter for the health of others, which is rather a written by Sir Wm. Temple to his brother, sacrifice to the devil, and a bane of their during his embassy from Charles the Second, own.”+ Mr. James Durham, in his Exto the Bishop of Munster.
position of the Commandments,” Com. vii. Howell, in his Familiar Letters," records says, · It is an uncouth and strange thing, that Christian IV. King of Denmark, who and even unnatural, that neither a man's apwas notorious for his bibulous propensities, petite, nor his health, nor the time of the day, at one entertainment at Rhensburgh, 1632, nor his ordinary diet, shall be the reason, or gave thirty-five toasts, after which, his occasion of a man's drinking, or the rule attendants, who imitated the conduct of their whereby to try the convenient when or season monarch, were necessitated to remove him of it; but whenever a man shall make such in his chair. The citizens of London, ac- and such a bargain with me, or pay me for quainted with this king's inglorious pro- it, or get payment from me of such and such pensity, as an appropriate offering, presented things, that must be the rule of my eating him, in solemn state, with a massive drink and drinking! What beast would be thus ing cup of gold.
dealt with ? There is a drinking of healths During the seventeenth century, drunk--by this means forcing, tempting, or oc. enness increased to an alarming extent in casioning drinking in others; this is one of North Britain. The Church of Scotland, the highest provocations of drunkenness. by an Act of the General Assembly, passed What can be the use of drinking healths ? June 1646, forbade the practice of drink. It was a notable saying of a great man, ing healths among its members.* That solicited to drink the king's health, By many reflecting ministers of the Church of your leave, I will pray for the king's health, England also viewed this practice with some and drink for my own.' This practice will degree of alarm, may be seen from the fol- probably be found to have arisen from lowing remarks by a zealous member of the heathen idolaters, who used libamen Jovi, establishment :-" To exceed the bounds of Baccho, &c. It is certain there is no temperance by many degrees, without reel- vestige of it in Christianity, nor any reason ing ; to entice others to it, to force them to for it." The learned Dr. Ames strongly drink healths (that ungodly practice,) which reprobates health-drinking as a rite of could not in the least promote another's Bacchus:-“We must abstain from all those health, but was likely to destroy their own, rites by which drunkenness is wont artithrough the excess which such practices ficially to be promoted : of which kind are do introiluce.” &c.f
adjurations of others by great names, or the The practice of health-drinking and toast- names of such as are dear, to empty cups ; ing, has, since that period, been denounced the sending about of cups to be taken off by by wise men as fraught with evil conse- all alike: the abuse of lots, (as they use in quences, and has been invariably deprecated some places by dice put into a jug or cup, as one of the greatest incentives to drunken- instead of a rattle, or by a mill affixed to a jug
The learned Thomas Gataker, in his pot) according to a fictitious law (not written,) epistle prefixed to Mr. Bradshaw's Sermon, and laying a necessity upon the guests. called “ The Marriage Feast,” thus re- And from all other the like mysteries of marks :-" Also to let pass the brutish and Bacchus, and manuductions to excess of swinish disposition those that think there drinking.” is no true welcome, nor good fellowship, as The intemperate character of the English, they term it, unless there be deep carousing Scotch, and Irish, at their public feasts, has of healths to the bride and bridegroom, and frequently been remarked with surprise by Edouard de Melford thus describes the In this country, unfortunately, health custom of bealth-drinking as recently prac- drinking is in some degree patronised by the tised at a national banquet of Scotchmen in female portion of society. Mr. Dunlop Edinburgh, the guests of which mostly be- informs us that in Scotland, in the great longed to the higher ranks of society. “At majority of cases, ladies still drink healths in the dessert, all the toasts usually given at brandied wines, in the earlier parts of the public dinners were drunk. • The King,' day. If ladies, who reside in a town in followed by nine hurras, with a pause for Scotland, walk a hundred yards from their breath between each three rounds. The own doors, and pay a forenoon call or visit, Chairman in a few minutes gave * The they must, in general, be received with a health of the Royal Family,' which had its bumper of brandied Port or Madeira.* three hurras. That of. The Army,' . The Contrast this practice with that of the ladies Navy,' and · Scotland,' followed ; and were of Vienna. “ Among the circles of the each received and saluted in the same manner. highest ton,” remarks Mrs. Trollope in her
natives of more sober countries. Count * Act of General Assembly, 13th June, 1646. No. XI.
+ “God's terrible Voice in the City, in the History * Extracted from a work entitled “The Groat of the two late dreadful Judgments of the Plague Evil of Health Drinking." 1684. and Pamine in London, by the Minister of St. Mil- + lbid. p. 25. dred's."
| Case l'opsc. lib. iii. cap. 18.
“ If you will take the trouble of counting, recent work, “ a young lady cannot touch you will see that, as at each health a good wine of any kind, without very materially glass of wine was drunk, by the time Scot- tarnishing the delicacy of her high breeding land was duly honoured, we had swallowed thereby.” down five (without speaking of the various “ It has been remarked,” says Sir John libations of champagne and other sorts Sinclair, " that vice is more ingenious than which during dinner had already taken virtue, and has numerous stratagems, by the same road,) besides screaming hurras which she attacks, and too often vanquishes twenty-one times ! But they did not stop her simplicity. Among these, the custom there : one of the company proposed an- of pledging during meals, and drinking other glass in honour of the · Thistle ;' toasts afterwards, are certainly the most another proposed, as is customary, the dangerous; being customs which seem to health of the chairman ; and he, after having promote social intercourse, and are acreturned thanks with an ease and readiness counted marks of friendship.”+ The inventor that showed him long used to such doings, of toasts, says a well known writer, may all at once, without seating himself, proposed justly claim a niche by the side of any hero -judge my surprise and alarm-my health!" who ever deluged the world with slaughter ; The worthy Count does not inform his and if the pestilence had been a human inreaders how many “healths” were drunk vention, he might certainly be stationed by after this circumstance had taken place, the side of its great founder. I but it is not unlikely that numerous other The practice of toasting, in the present day, libations would be made in honour of the is almost universal in its extent. Professing distinguished individuals present on the Christians, and even Christian ministers, occasion.
countenance this most absurd and injurious The absurdity of this dangerous practice practice at social and public entertainments. is still further exhibited by the German A great number of toasts or healths, prePrince Puckler. “ It is not usual,” he re- pared for the occasion, are successively marks, "to take wine (during dinner in proposed by the president, accompanied, as England) without drinking to another person. is not unfrequently the case, with strong When you raise your glass, you look fixedly requests to drink them in full bumpers ! at the one with whom you are drinking, VIII. Another lamentable inducement to bow your head, and then drink with great intemperance may be found in the rewards gravity. Certainly many of the customs of which have been held out, at various periods the South-Sea Islanders, which strike us the of the world, for excessive drinking. Among most, are less ludicrous. It is esteemed a the ancients excessive drinking was looked civility to challenge any body in this way to upon as honourable; and prizes were fredrink : and a messenger is often sent from quently awarded to the most copious drinkers. one end of the table to the other to an. At the funeral of Calanus, the Indian nounce to B. that A. wishes to take wine philosopher, Alexander the Great offered with him : whereupon each, and sometimes prizes as stimulants to extra bibulous exerwith considerable trouble, catches the tion. The first prize offered by this monarch, other's eye, and goes through the ceremony was a talent. Proportionate sums were also of the prescribed nod with great formality, held out for the second and third prizes. looking at the moment very like a Chinese Promachus, who obtained the first prize, mandarin. Glass jugs filled with water drank four congii of wine. happily enable foreigners to temper the
The honour attached to this species of brandy which forms so large a component debauchery among the ancients was such, part of English wines."
that several of their celebrated philosophers Of an English dinner, Professor Raumer thought it no disgrace to engage in the thus remarks:-"Though I passed all the strong wines, and drank bant few of the * Dunlop's Philosophy of Drinking Usages, p. 280. healths or toasts, I yet drank too much.
+ Sir John Sinclair's Code of Health and LonThis was almost inevitable from the want of gevity, vol. i. any drink for quenching thirst."
I Pinkerton's Recollections of Paris, vol. ii. p. 349.
contest, and even to carry off the prize. ab homine nunquam sobrio postulanda pruTimeus asserts that on one of these occasions dentia.* Zenocrates, the philosopher, came off con- Pliny relates, that Tiberius Claudius, not queror. Dionysius, the Sicilian, offered a only was a hard drinker himself, but so much crown of gold at a feast which he gave, to countenanced excessive intemperance in the person who should drink the most. others, as to “Knight" Novellius Torquatus, Zenocrates became the victor.
by the title of Tricongius, or the threeAnacharsis, the celebrated Scythian phi- gallon knight, because he drank three gallons losopher, obtained a like victory at a feast of wine at a draught. given by Periander, the king of Corinth. The Roman gallon is equal to seven pints, Anacharsis was reproached for demanding English measure. Potter remarks, that the prize for being first drunk. He defended among the Greeks, when any person drank himself by appealing to the practice of the off a large cup duvoti, that is, åtvevoti, gods, as represented by the poets, and by dvev Toll åvarajeo bal, without drawing his asserting that such was the aim which all breath, the company used to applaud him in had in drinking. In like manner the racers this form, Znoelas, long may you live. I pressed forward to win the prize.
Pliny also relates several other remarkAt the Anthesteria (festivals held in able examples. Caius Piso, he informs us honour of Bacchus) the greatest drinker would continue drinking for two days and was rewarded with a crown of gold and a nights without intermission, or even leaving cask of wine.
the table. By this means he ingratiated Many other examples might be adduced himself with the Emperor. Tergilla, a proin proof of the estimation in which some of fessed hard drinker, made a boast that he the ancients held drinking. The person, commonly drank two gallons at a draught. who, with the least injury, could bear the It is said that the gigantic Emperor Maxigreatest quantity of intoxicating drink, was minian, would drink six gallons of wine at looked upon with a degree of admiration a carousal. || and respect; and in popular governments it In reference to these astounding narrations, not unfrequently conferred on such indivi- we must not forget that the wines thus duals great political advantages. Cyrus, drunk were not similar to those in use brother to Artaxerxes, king of Persia, urged in the present day. Many of them, on the his superior Bacchanalian powers among contrary, were unintoxicating and harmless other qualifications, as reason for his in their effects, when taken in moderate elegibility to the throne, in the place of his quantities. It was a point of emulation to brother. In a letter which he wrote to drink large quantities of wine, and to effect Lacedæmon, soliciting military aid, he stated this object, methods were invented to destroy that he could drink a larger quantity of wine its strength. Pliny testifies this fact. Ut than his brother, without being intoxicated plus capiamus sacco franguntur. $ That we or having his passions roused to an un- may be able to drink the more, wines are pleasant or ungovernable extent. Artaxerxes weakened by the filter. This subject, howin this respect had less command over his ever, will be entered into at length in a feelings than his more fortunate brother. subsequent part of our investigation. Darius, the celebrated king of Persia, had a This lax state of morals will occasion less similar propensity. Athenæus relates that he surprise, when we recollect that some of desired no greater praise than that it should the most eminent philosophers among the be engraved on his tomb, that he could ancients, recommended occasional indulge largely in wine without inebriation.* drunkenness, as beneficial to both mind and HATNAMHN KAI OINON NINEIN NOATN body. Seneca, the great moralist, may be ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥΤΟΝ ΦΕΡΕΙΝ ΚΑΛΩΣ. .
ranked among that number. Dioscorides is
said to have affirmed, that drunkenness was I was able to drink much wine and bear not always hurtful, but that very often it it well.
was necessary for the conservation of health. Socrates, it is said, possessed this power of Burton, in his quaint style, gives the follownervous resistance in an eminent degree. ing additional examples. "No better phyWhether he indulged in the free use of wine, sick,” (saith Rhasis an Arabian philosopher) or lived in an abstemious manner, this " for a melancholy man : and he that keeps celebrated philosopher displayed no per- company and carouse, needs
no other ceptible alteration in his manners. Scaliger medicines ; 'tis enough." His countryman, remarks of a German, that he is not less Avicenna, s proceeds farther yet, and will have wise when drunk than when sober. Non " him that is troubled in mind, or melancholy, minus sapit Germanus ebrius quam sobrius.t not to drink only, but now and then to be Montaigne makes a similar remark. I Cicero, drunk: excellent good physick it is for this however, correctly observes, that we must never expect prudence from those who are
* Cicero Orat. 2, ad Philip. always in a state of inebriation. Nec enim
+ Pliny, b. xiv. c. 22.
I Grec. Antiq. vol. ii. p. 395. * Athenæus, lib. x.
|| Pliny, b. xiv. c. 22. + Scaligeriana, p. 169.
Ś Plin. Nat. Hist., lib. xiv. cap. 22. 1 Essais, lib. ii. ch. 2.
( 31 doct. 2. cap. 8.