Quotations about:
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Stories of our women leaving home to frisk
in mock ecstasies among the thickets on the mountain,
dancing in honor of the latest divinity,
a certain Dionysus, whoever he may be!
In their midst stand bowls brimming with wine.
And then, one by one, the women wander off
to hidden nooks where they serve the lusts of men.
Priestesses of Bacchus they claim they are,
but it’s really Aphrodite they adore.

[γυναῖκας ἡμῖν δώματ᾽ ἐκλελοιπέναι
πλασταῖσι βακχείαισιν, ἐν δὲ δασκίοις
ὄρεσι θοάζειν, τὸν νεωστὶ δαίμονα
Διόνυσον, ὅστις ἔστι, τιμώσας χοροῖς:
πλήρεις δὲ θιάσοις ἐν μέσοισιν ἑστάναι
κρατῆρας, ἄλλην δ᾽ ἄλλοσ᾽ εἰς ἐρημίαν
πτώσσουσαν εὐναῖς ἀρσένων ὑπηρετεῖν,
πρόφασιν μὲν ὡς δὴ μαινάδας θυοσκόους,
τὴν δ᾽ Ἀφροδίτην πρόσθ᾽ ἄγειν τοῦ Βακχίου.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 217ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

               Their homes
Our women have deserted, on pretence
That they in mystic orgies are engaged;
On the umbrageous hills they chant the praise
Of this new God, whoe'er he be, this Bacchus;
Him in their dances they revere, and place
Amid their ranks huge goblets fraught with wine:
Some fly to pathless deserts, where they meet
Their paramours, while they in outward shew
Are Mænedes by holy rites engrossed.
Yet Venus more than Bacchus they revere.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

The women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with dances this new deity Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that they each creep off different ways into secrecy to serve the beds of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping; but they consider Aphrodite before Bacchus.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Our women all have left their homes, to join
These fabled mysteries. On the shadowy rocks
Frequent they sit, this God of yesterday,
Dionysus, whosoe'er he be, with revels
Dishonorable honoring. In the midst
Stand the crowned goblets; and each stealing forth,
This way and that, creeps to a lawless bed;
In pretext, holy sacrificing Mænads,
But serving Aphrodite more than Bacchus.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Our women have deserted from their homes,
Pretending Bacchic rites, and now they lurk
In the shady hill-tops reverencing forsooth
This Dionysus, this new deity.
Full bowls of wine are served out to the throng;
And scattered here and there through the glades,
The wantons hurry to licentious love.
They call themselves the priestess Mænades;
Bacchus invoke, but Aphrodite serve.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 200ff]

I hear that our women-folk have left their homes on pretence of Bacchic rites, and on the wooded hills rush wildly to and fro, honouring in the dance this new god Dionysus, whoe’er he is; and in the midst of each revel-rout the brimming wine-bowl stands, and one by one they steal away to lonely spots to gratify their lust, pretending forsooth that they are Mænads bent on sacrifice, though it is Aphrodite they are placing before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

How from their homes our women have gone forth
Feigning a Bacchic rapture, and rove wild
O'er wooded hills, in dances honouring
Dionysus, this new God -- whoe'er he be. ⁠
And midst each revel-rout the wine-bowls stand
Brimmed: and to lonely nooks, some here, some there,
They steal, to work with men the deed of shame,
In pretext Maenad priestesses, forsooth,
But honouring Aphroditê more than Bacchus.
[tr. Way (1898)]

               Our own
Wives, our own sisters, from their hearths are flown
To wild and secret rites; and cluster there
High on the shadowy hills, with dance and prayer
To adore this new-made God, this Dionyse,
Whate'er he be! -- And in their companies
Deep wine-jars stand, and ever and anon
Away into the loneliness now one
Steals forth, and now a second, maid or dame,
Where love lies waiting, not of God! The flame,
They say, of Bacchios wraps them. Bacchios! Nay,
'Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

That our women have abandoned their homes
in fake bacchic revels, and in the deep-shaded
mountains are roaming around, honoring with dances
the new-made god Dionysus, whoever he is;
that wine-bowls are set among the sacred companies
full to the brim, and that one by one the women go crouching
into the wilderness, to serve the lechery of men --
they profess to be maenads making sacrifice,
but actually they put Aphrodite before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

Our women, I discover, have abandoned their homes on some pretence of Bacchic worship, and go gadding about in the woods on the mountain side, dancing in honour of this upstart god Dionysus, whoever he may be. They tell me, in the midst of each group of revellers stands a bowl full of wine; and the women go creeping off this way and that to lonely places and there give themselves to lecherous men, under the excuse that they are Maenad priestesses; though in their ritual Aphrodite comes before Bacchus.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

They leave their home, desert their children
Follow the new fashion and join the Bacchae
Flee the hearth to mob the mountains -- those contain
Deep shadows of course, secret caves to hide
Lewd games for this new god -- Dionysos!
That's the holy spirit newly discovered.
Dionysos! Their ecstasy is flooded down
In brimming bowls of wine -- so much for piety!
Soused, with all the senses roused, they crawl
Into the bushes and there of course a man
Awaits them. All part of the service for for this
Mysterious deity. The hypocrisy? All they care about
Is getting serviced.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

Our women gone, abandoning their homes,
pretending to be bacchae, massing
in the bushy mountains, this latest divinity
Dionysos (whoever he is) honouring and chorusing,
filling and setting amidst the thiasus
wine-bowls, and one by one in solitude
sneaking off to cater to male bidding, --
supposedly as sacrificial maenads,
but Aphrodite ranks before their Bacchic One.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

Our women, I am told, have left their homes,
in a religious trance -- what travesty! --
and scamper up and down the wooded mountains, dancing
in honor of this newfangled God, Dionysus,
whoever he might be.
In the middle of each female group
of revelers, I hear,
stands a jar of wine, brimming! And that taking turns,
they steal away, one here, one there, to shady nooks,
where they satisfy the lechery of men,
pretending to be priestesses,
performing their religious duties. Ha!
That performance reeks more of Aphrodite than of Bacchus.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

Our women have abandoned our homes
And, in a jacked-up frenzy of phony inspiration,
Riot in the dark mountains,
Honoring this upstart god, Dionysos --
Whatever he is -- dancing in his chorus.
Full jugs of wine stand in their midst
And each woman slinks off
To the wilderness to serve male lust,
Pretending they are praying priestesses,
But Aphrodite leads them, not Bacchus.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

Our women have abandoned their homes
for the sham revelries of Bacchus
frisking about on the dark-shadowed mountains
honoring with their dances the latest god, Dionysius, whoever he is.
They've set up their mixing bowls brimming with wine
amidst their cult gatherings, and each lady slinks off in a different direction
to some secluded wilderness to service the lusts of men.
They pretend to be maenads performing sacrifices
but in reality they rank Aphrodite's pleasures before Bacchus!
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

These women of ours have left their homes
and run away to the dark mountains, pretending
to be Bacchants. It's this brand-new god,
Dionysus, whoever that is; they're dancing for him!
They gather in throngs around full bowls
of wine; then one by one they sneak away
to lonely places where they sleep with men.
Priestesses they call themselves! Maenads!
It's Aphrodite they put first, not Bacchus.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

               Women leave
Our houses for bogus revels (“Bakkhic” indeed!),
Dashing through the dark shade of mountain forests
To honor with their dancing this new god,
Dionysos -- whoever he may be --
And right in their midst they set full bowls of wine,
And slink into the thickets to meet men there,
Saying they are maenads sacrificing
When they really rank Aphrodite first,
Over Bakkhos!
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

The women have left our homes in fictitious ecstatic rites and flit about on the thick-shaded mountains, honoring the new god Dionysus, whoever he is, with their dancing. They set up full wine bowls in the middle of their assembles and sneak off, one here, one there, to tryst in private with men. The pretext for all of this is that they are maenads, performing their rites, but they hold Aphrodite in higher regard than the bacchic god.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

I hear our women have flown from their proper place in the home -- dancing about in the shadowy hills in sham ecstasy for this newfound Dionysus! And these wine-befuddled women slink into the darkness, drawn by the sirens of lust. Fine high priestesses of the new god! They seem to make more worship of Aphrodite than of Bacchus!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

I heard that our women have left their homes and gone off to the mountains dancing the Bacchic dances! Some new, young god! Utter rubbish! There they are, placing great tubs full of wine in the centre of their group, in the middle of nowhere and off they go, one here, another there, rolling around with any man they come across and giving the excuse that they are maenads; but what are they doing? Serving Dionysos? No way! They’re serving Aphrodite!
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

The women have left us, abandoning their homes in
phony Bacchic worship and that they gad about on
the bushy mountaintops; that this "new" god Dio-
nysus, whoever he really is, is honoured in their dances,
and that they set the sacred wine-bowls, fill'd, in the
midst of the thiasoi, each slinking off her sep'rate
way to serve males' hot lust in the woods, pre-
tending to be Maenads sacrificing; and so
they place Aphrodite on top of Bacchus.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

               ... women leaving home
to go to silly Bacchic rituals,
cavorting there in mountain shadows,
with dances honoring some upstart god,
this Dionysus, whoever he may be. Mixing bowls
in the middle of their meetings filled with wine,
they creep off one by one to lonsely spots
to have sex with men, claiming they're Maenads
busy worshipping. But they rank Aphrodite,
goddess of sexual desire, ahead of Bacchus.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 272ff]

Women have deserted their homes for these
fraudulent rites -- up in the woods and mountains,
dancing to celebrate some new god --
Dionysus, whoever he is.
Drink is at the bottom of it all.
Huge bowls stand in their midst, I'm told,
brimming with wine, and one by one the women
slip into the shadows to satisfy the lusts of men.
They say they are priestesses, sworn to Bacchus,
but it's clearly Aphrodite they adore.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

     Women have forsaken their homes. It’s a front, it’s a fake, a false Bacchic rite, an excuse for them to cavort in the mountain’s shade, dancing to honor this "new god" Dionysus.
     Whoever that is. Whoever he really is.
     I hear they’ve got casks of wine up there, full to the brim, just sitting there in the midst of their frolicking. And that they sneak off into secluded corners, servicing men, excusing it as a sacred thing, a Maenad’s ritual.
     If it is a ritual, it’s to Aphrodite, not this Bacchus of theirs.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

How our women
had run off
to celebrate
perferse rites
     in the mountains,
roaming about with this
brand new god, Dionysus --
     whoever he is.
Everywhere
     in the midst of their revels
          stand full wine bowls.
And women slink off
one by one
to copulate
with any man
     who happens by.
They pretend to be Maenads, priestesses.
It's Aphrodite,
not Bacchus,
     they worship.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

Our women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with khoroi this new daimōn Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that each woman, flying to secrecy in different directions, yields to the embraces of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping. They consider Aphrodite of greater priority than Dionysus.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 24-Jan-23 | Last updated 24-Jan-23
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More quotes by Euripides

A psychologist once said that we know little about the conscience except that it is soluble in alcohol.

Thomas Blackburn
Thomas Blackburn (1916-1977) British poet.
“The Contemporary Dream,” The London Review (Jan 1959)
    (Source)

Sometimes misattributed to John Mortimer.
 
Added on 6-Dec-22 | Last updated 6-Dec-22
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Aper’s teetotal. So what? I commend
Sobriety in a butler, not a friend.

[Siccus, sobrius est Aper; quid ad me?
Servum sic ego laudo, non amicum]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 30 (12.30) [tr. Michie (1972)]
    (Source)

"On Aper." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Tom never drinks: that I should much commend
In Tom my coachman, but not Tom my friend.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

Frugal and sober, I commend
In both, my servant; not my friend.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 12.114]

Aper is abstemious and sober. What is that to me? For such a quality I praise my slave, not my friend.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

"Now Aper is a sober man;
     He never had a jag on."
Well, what of that? I wish my slaves,
[tr. Nixon (1911), "No Recommendation"]

Aper is abstemious, sober: what is that to me? A slave I praise so, not a friend.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

He's sober and abstemious? One commends
These qualities in slave, but not in friends.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

You're always sober, never drunk.
     Such temperance is fine
In servants and domestics, but
     Not in a friend of mine.
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Aper is dry and sober. What is that to me? I commend a slave so, not a friend.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

He's a clean and sober fellow?
     Well, what's that mean to me?
He doesn't seem potential friend,
     More like an employee.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

Aper is dry and sober. What good is that to me? It’s what I praise a slave for, not a friend!
[tr. @aleatorclassicus (2013)]

So what if Aper's sober! I commend
abstinence in a slave, not in a friend.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

 
Added on 19-Aug-22 | Last updated 19-Aug-22
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More quotes by Martial

Stir the eggnog, lift the toddy,
Happy New Year, everybody.

McGinley - Stir the eggnog, lift the toddy, Happy New Year, everybody - wist.info quote

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
(Attributed)
 
Added on 31-Dec-21 | Last updated 31-Dec-21
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When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Factotum, ch. 31 (1975)
 
Added on 22-Dec-21 | Last updated 22-Dec-21
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More quotes by Bukowski, Charles

Drink, the social glue of the human race. Probably in the beginning we could explain ourselves to our close family members with grunts, muttered syllables, gestures, slaps, and punches. Then when the neighbors started dropping in to help harvest, stomp, stir, and drink the bounty of the land, after we’d softened our natural suspicious hostility with a few stiff ones, we had to think up some more nuanced communications, like words. From there it was a short step to grammar, civil law, religion, history, and “The Whiffenpoof Song.”

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
The Joy of Drinking (2007)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Nov-21 | Last updated 22-Nov-21
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More quotes by Holland, Barbara

We two will keep to the shelter here, eat and drink
and take some joy in each other’s heartbreaking sorrows,
sharing each other’s memories. Over the years, you know,
a man finds solace even in old sorrows, true, a man
who’s weathered many blows and wandered many miles.

[νῶϊ δ᾽ ἐνὶ κλισίῃ πίνοντέ τε δαινυμένω τε
κήδεσιν ἀλλήλων τερπώμεθα λευγαλέοισι,
400μνωομένω: μετὰ γάρ τε καὶ ἄλγεσι τέρπεται ἀνήρ,
ὅς τις δὴ μάλα πολλὰ πάθῃ καὶ πόλλ᾽ ἐπαληθῇ.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 15, l. 397ff (15.397) [Eumæus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Fagles (1996)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

We two, still in our tabernacle here
Drinking and eating, will our bosoms cheer
With memories and tales of our annoys.
Betwixt his sorrows ev’ry human joys,
He most, who most hath felt and furthest err’d.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Meanwhile let us sit here, and drink and chat,
And stories of our sad adventures tell;
For much contentment there is ev’n in that,
To them that suffer’d have and come off well.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 357ff]

Here let us feast, and to the feast be joined
Discourse, the sweeter banquet of the mind;
Review the series of our lives, and taste
The melancholy joy of evils passed:
For he who much has suffered, much will know,
And pleased remembrance builds delight on woe.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

But we with wine and a well-furnish’d board
Supplied, will solace mutually derive
From recollection of our sufferings past;
For who hath much endured, and wander’d far,
Finds the recital ev’n of sorrow sweet.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 483ff]

But we two, drinking wine and eating bread,
Will charm our dear hearts each with other's pain.
Past sorrow, and the tears a man hath shed,
Who far hath wandered over earth and main,
Yield comfort.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 55]

Let us, meanwhile,
Within this hut potations free enjoy,
And to our full contentment eat, while each
The mem'ry wakens of his own past griefs;
For, let but time enough elapse, the man
Who has sharp trials brook'd, and through the world
A wand'rer rov'd, will on his by-gone woe
Exulting dwell.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 651ff]

We two in the hut a' drinking and a' feasting,
We'll soothe each other with our doleful cares
Recounting them! for even sorrows bring
An after pleasure to the wight, I ween, --
His many woes and many wandrings past.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

But let us twain drink and feast within the steading, and each in his neighbour’s sorrows take delight, recalling them, for even the memory of griefs is a joy to a man who hath been sore tried and wandered far.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

But here in the booth we twain at the drink and the banqueting
Shall be merry with the memory of each other's weary woe.
For very grief shall gladden the man that to and fro
Hath wandered wide the world, and suffered sorrow sore.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

But let us drink and feast within the lodge, and please ourselves with telling one another tales of piteous ill; for afterwards a man finds pleasure in his pains, when he has suffered logn and wandered long.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

We too will sit here eating and drinking in the hut, and telling one another stories about our misfortunes; for when a man has suffered much, and been buffeted about in the world, he takes pleasure in recalling the memory of sorrows that have long gone by.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

But we two will drink and feast in the hut, and will take delight each in the other's grievous woes, as we recall them to mind. For in after time a man finds joy even in woes, whosoever has suffered much, and wandered much.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

But we two snugly indoors here may drink and eat and revel in an interchange of sorrows-- sorrows that are memories, I mean; for when a man has endured deeply and strayed far from home he can cull solace from the rehearsal of old griefs.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

Meanwhile let us two, here in the hut, over our food and wine, regale ourselves with the unhappy memories that each can recall. For a man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far can enjoy even his sufferings after a time.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

Here's a tight roof; we'll drink on, you and I, and ease our hearts of hardships we remember, sharing old times. In later days a man can find a charm in old adversity, exile and pain.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

But we two, sitting here in the shelter, eating and drinking,
shall entertain each other remembering and retelling
our sad sorrows. For afterwards a man who has suffered
much and wandered much has pleasure out of his sorrows.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Meanwhile let us two have the satisfaction of sharing our unhappy memories over our food and wine here in the hut. For a man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

We two will have our food and drink here in the hut and find pleasure in each other's sad troubles, as we call them to mind; for it is man's way to get enjoyment even from affliction, after the event, if he is a man who has suffered much and roamed far.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

Now let us dine and drink in my home
And take pleasure while we recall to one another
Our grievous pains. For a man may take pleasure even in pain,
Later, when he has suffered and come through so many things.
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

But let us, you and I, sit in my cottage over food and wine, and take some joy in hearing how much pain we each have suffered. After many years of agony and absence from one's home, a person can begin enjoying grief.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

But we two will drink and feast in the hut, and enjoy hearing about each other's wretched misfortunes as we recall them. A man looking back can find pleasure even in grief, one who's suffered and wandered much.
[tr. Green (2018)]

But we two will drink and enjoy each other's sad stories.
[tr. Green (2018), summary version]

We two will drink and feast here in the hut
and enjoy each other’s wretched troubles,
as we recall them. For once they’re over,
a man who’s done a lot of wandering
and suffered much gets pleasure from his woes.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 509ff]

As we two drink and dine in this shelter
Let us take pleasure as we recall one another’s terrible pains.
For a man finds pleasure even in pains later on
After he has suffered so very many and survived many too.
[tr. @sentantiq [Joel] (2019)]

Let us take pleasure in calling to mind each other’s terrible pains
while we drink and dine in my home.
For someone may even find pleasure among pains
when they have suffered many and gone through much.
[tr. @sentantiq (2020)]

 
Added on 11-Aug-21 | Last updated 12-Jan-22
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More quotes by Homer

Listen to me, Eumaeus and all of you.
I am going to boast and tell you a story. This is the effect of wine —
it makes people do crazy things; it sets the wisest man
singing and giggling stupidly; it lures him on to dance
and it makes him blurt out what’s better left unsaid.

[κέκλυθι νῦν, Εὔμαιε καὶ ἄλλοι πάντες ἑταῖροι,
εὐξάμενός τι ἔπος ἐρέω: οἶνος γὰρ ἀνώγει
ἠλεός, ὅς τ᾽ ἐφέηκε πολύφρονά περ μάλ᾽ ἀεῖσαι
καί θ᾽ ἁπαλὸν γελάσαι, καί τ᾽ ὀρχήσασθαι ἀνῆκε,
καί τι ἔπος προέηκεν ὅ περ τ᾽ ἄρρητον ἄμεινον.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 14, l. 462ff (14.462) [Odysseus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Hear me, Eumæus, and my other friends,
I’ll use a speech that to my glory tends,
Since I have drunk wine past my usual guise.
Strong wine commands the fool and moves the wise,
Moves and impels him too to sing and dance,
And break in pleasant laughters, and, perchance,
Prefer a speech too that were better in.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Hear me, Eumæus, says he, and you folk,
I have a tale to tell. This foolish wine
To laugh and dance is able to provoke
Grave men sometimes that have no such design,
And to speak that which better were unspoke.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 448ff]

Hear me, my friends! who this good banquet grace;
'Tis sweet to play the fool in time and place,
And wine can of their wits the wise beguile,
Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile,
The grave in merry measures frisk about,
And many a long-repented word bring out.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

Hear now, Eumæus, and ye other swains
His fellow-lab’rers! I shall somewhat boast,
By wine befool’d, which forces ev’n the wise
To carol loud, to titter and to dance,
And words to utter, oft, better suppress’d.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 567ff]

Hear now, Eumæus, and thy comrades all!
I speak for glory, since by wine made bold
Often to singing even the wise will fall,
Light laughter and the dance, nor can withhold
Words that in sooth were better far untold.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 59]

Hear, now, the words,
Eumaeus! and all you who with him serve!
To which, although to vaunt I may appear,
I must give utt'rance; for that crazing wine
Has set me on, which oft the wisest man
Ere now hat stirr'd up into noisy song,
or into burst of friv'lous laughter thrown,
Nay, even rous'd to dancing, or some speech
Impulsive prompted, which 'twere better far
Had ne'er been utter'd.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 772ff]

Now list! Eumæus! and ye comrades all!
I'll glory somewhat in the tale I'll tell you;
For crazy wine urges me on to speak,
Which e'en a sage hat set to noisy singing;
And urged the shy to laughter loud and dancing;
And uttered words far better left unsaid!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Listen now, Eumaeus, and all of you his companions, with a prayer will I utter my word; so bids me witless wine, which drives even the wisest to sing and to laugh softly, and rouses him to dance, yea and makes him to speak out a word which were better unspoken.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

Now hearken ye, Eumæus, and all our fellows here,
And a boasting word will I say; for befooling wine is strong
Within me: he who eggeth e'en the wise to raise the song
And laugh out softly, and dance for very lustihead,
And to say the word, it may be, that were better left unsaid.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Hearken, Eumaeus, and all you other men, and I will boast a bit and tell a story; for crazy wine so bids, which sets a man, even if wise, to skinging loud and laughing lightly, and makes him dance and brings out stories really better left untold.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

Listen to me, Eumæus and the rest of you; when I have said a prayer I will tell you something. It is the wine that makes me talk in this way; wine will make even a wise man fall to singing; it will make him chuckle and dance and say many a word that he had better leave unspoken
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Listen to me now, Eumaios and all you other companions [hetairoi]! Speaking proudly, I will tell you a wording [epos]. The wine, which sets me loose, is telling me to do so. Wine impels even the thinking man to sing and to laugh softly. And it urges him on to dance. It even prompts an epos that may be better left unsaid.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Kim/McCray/Nagy/Power (2018)]

Hear me now, Eumaeus and all the rest of you, his men, with a wish in my heart will I tell a tale; for the wine bids me, befooling wine, which sets one, even though he be right wise, to singing and laughing softly, and makes him stand up and dance, aye, and brings forth a word which were better unspoken.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Hear me now, O Eumaeus and you others, while I let myself go as your wine's intoxication tempts me. Drink will set the most solid man singing or giggling with laughter; if indeed it does not push him forward to dance or make him blurt out something better left unsaid.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

Listen to me, Eumaeus and you men of his. I am going to put a wish of mine into the form of a story. This is the effect of your wine -- for wine is a crazy thing. It sets the wisest man singing and giggling like a girl; it lures him on to dance and it makes him blurt out what were better left unsaid.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

Eumaios, and you others, here's a wishful
tale I shall tell. The wine's behind it,
vaporing wine, that makes a serious man
break down and sing, kick up his heels and clown,
or tell some story that were best untold.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

Hear me now, Eumaios and all you other companions.
What I say will be a bit of boasting. The mad wine tells me
to do it. Wine sets even a thoughtful man to singing,
or sets him into softly laughing, sets him to dancing.
Sometimes it tosses out a word that was better unspoken.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Listen, Eumaeus, and all you comrades here,
allow me to sing my praises for a moment.
Say it's the wine that leads me on, the wild wine
that sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool -- it drives the man to dancing ... it even
tempts him to blurt out stories better never told.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

Hear me now, Eumaeus, and the rest of you men,
While I boast a little. It must be the wine
Befuddling me, which gets even sensible men
Singing and laughing and up to dance,
And sometimes say things better left unsaid.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 500ff]

Eumaeus and you others, all of you, I want to brag a little. I am dizzy, under the influence fo wine, which makes even the wisest people sing and giggle, and dance, and say things best not spoken.
[tr. Wilson (2017), l. 461ff]

Hear me out now, Eumaios, and you, all his other comrades, while I tell you a boastful story. It's the wine that's urging me -- mind-crazing stuff, that sets on even the quick-witted to singing and gentle laughter, drives him to get up and dance, or make some remark better left unspoken.
[tr. Green (2018)]

Eumaeus and you others, his work mates,
hear me now -- I wish to tell a story,
prompted by this wine, which addles our wits.
Wine can make a man, even though he’s wise,
sing out loud, or laugh softly to himself,
or leap up and dance. It can bring out words
which were better left unspoken.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 601ff]

 
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Life is too short to drink bad wine.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
(Misattributed)

Often attributed to him, but not found in Goethe's works. The attribution, though, may come from translators' commentary on Goethe's West–Eastern Diwan, "The Book of the Cup-Bearer" (1819/1827), that refers to a poetic passage as deriving from Diez's 1811 translation of the Book of Kabus (Qabus):

It comes to this, that it is a sin to drink wine. If though, then committest sin, commit it at least for the best wine, for otherwise wouldst though on one part commit sin, and on another drink bad wine. By God! that would be the most sorrowful among sorrowful things. [tr. Rogers (1890)]

It so happens that wine-drinking is a sin. Hence, if you do commit this sin, do it at least with the best wine; otherwise, you'll commit the sin, on the one hand, and on the other, you'll drink bad wine. By God! That would be the sorriest of all sorry things. [tr. Ormsby (2019)]


More information: The Big Apple: “Life is too short to drink cheap wine”
 
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His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, “You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Small Gods (1992)
 
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THERE ARE BETTER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN ALCOHOL, ALBERT.

“Oh, yes, sir. But alcohol sort of compensates for not getting them.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Death’s Domain (1999)
    (Source)

Death speaking with his manservant, Albert.
 
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Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) American writer
(Attributed)
 
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DEMOSTHENES: And dare you rail at wine’s inventiveness?
I tell you nothing has such go as wine.
Why, look you now; ’tis when men drink, they thrive,
Grow wealthy, speed their business, win their suits,
Make themselves happy, benefit their friends.
Go, fetch me out a stoup of wine, and let me
Moisten my wits, and utter something bright.

Aristophanes (c. 450-c. 388 BC) Athenian comedic playwright
Knights, ll. 90-96 [tr. Rogers (1924)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.
  • [O'Neill (1938)]: "Do you dare to accuse wine of clouding the reason? Quote me more marvellous effects than those of wine. Look! when a man drinks, he is rich, everything he touches succeeds, he gains lawsuits, is happy and helps his friends. Come, bring hither quick a flagon of wine, that I may soak my brain and get an ingenious idea."
  • [Hickie (1853)]: "Have you the audacity to abuse wine for witlessness? Can you find anything more business-like than wine? Do you see? when men drink, then they are rich, they transact business, gain causes, are happy, assist their friends. Come, bring me out quickly a stoup of wine, that I may moisten my intellect, and say something clever."
 
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Well, between Scotch and nothin’, I suppose I’d take Scotch. It’s the nearest thing to good moonshine I can find.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
Quoted in The National Observer (3 Feb 1964)

At least one source breaks this into two quotations, with the second sentence comparing bourbon to moonshine.
 
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There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth —
I think that perhaps it’s the gin.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“A Drink with Something In It,” The Primrose Path (1935)
    (Source)
 
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Well, with one martini ah feel bigger, wiser, taller, and with two it goes to the superlative, and ah feel biggest, wisest, tallest, and with three there ain’t no holdin’ me.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

As quoted in Lauren Bacall, By Myself (1978). Often paraphrased or rendered back into standard English, e.g., "When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have a second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there's no holding me."
 
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The Martini is to middle- and upper-class American society what peyote is to the Yaqui Indians: a sacred rite that affirms tribal identity, encourages fanciful thought and —
let’s be honest here — delivers a whoppingly nice high.

Barnaby Conrad III (b. 1952) American author, artist, editor
“Martini Madness,” Cigar Aficionado (Spring 1996)
    (Source)
 
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There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it. The first is obvious, mechanical, and plebeian; the second is most refined, abstract, prospicient, and canonical. I drink by anticipation of thirst that may be. Prevention is better than cure.

Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) English novelist, satirist, poet, merchant
Melincourt, ch. 16 (1817)
    (Source)
 
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Alcohol: A liquid good for preserving almost everything except secrets.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary (1905)
 
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Almost anything can be preserved in alcohol, except health, happiness, and money.

No picture available
Mary Wilson Little (fl. c. 1905) American writer
A Paragrapher’s Reveries (1904)
    (Source)
 
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You’re trying to drown your sorrows in alcohol and it won’t work. Sorrows know how to swim.

Ann Landers (1918-2002) American advice columnist [pseud. for Eppie Lederer]
“Ask Ann Landers,” syndicated column (1958)

Landers used the phrase multiple times, e.g.,
  • "And now an added P.S. In these days of political unrest, financial crisis and emotional upheaval, a word to those of you who are trying to drown your sorrow. Please be aware that sorrow knows how to swim." [The Ann Landers Encyclopedia: A to Z (1978)]
  • "People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim."
However, the phrase predates her in a variety of anonymous sources; see here for more discussion.
 
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I took a sip. It went surprisingly well with the veal. On the other hand, the fourth margarita goes surprisingly well with everything.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Taming A Sea-Horse (1986)
 
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Show me the way to go home
I’m tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head.

No picture available
Irving King (fl. 1920s) British songwriter [pseud. of Jimmy Campbell (1903-1967) and Reg Connelly (c. 1895-1963)]
“Show Me the Way to Go Home” (1925)
 
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R-E-M-O-R-S-E!
Those dry Martinis did the work for me;
Last night at twelve I felt immense,
Today I feel like thirty cents.,
My eyes are bleared, my coppers hot,
I’ll try to eat, but I cannot.
It is no time for mirth and laughter,
The cold, gray down of the morning after.

George Ade (1866-1944) American writer, newspaper columnist, playwright
The Sultan of Sulu, Act 2 (1903)
 
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Of all the men embezzling from their employers with whom I have had contact, I can’t remember a dozen who smoked, drank or had any of the vices in which bonding companies are so interested.

Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) American author, screenwriter, political activist
Interview with Helen Herbert Foster, “House Burglary Poor Trade,” Brooklyn Eagle Magazine (Oct 1929)
    (Source)
 
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Besides, there are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.

Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) American novelist and dramatist
Penrod, ch. 10 (1914)
    (Source)
 
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New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“New Year’s Day,” Virginia City Territorial Enterprise (Jan 1864)
    (Source)
 
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SYDNEY: Even though a number of people have tried, no one has yet found a way to drink for a living.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Poor Richard, Act 1 (1965)
 
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Liquor doesn’t make you feel better. Just makes you not so worried about feeling bad.

No picture available
James S. A. Corey (contemp.) American writer [pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck]
Leviathan Wakes, ch. 42 (2011) [with Ty Franck]
    (Source)
 
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It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects. … If possible, this must be prevented. My people must drink beer.

Frederick II (1712-1786) King of Prussia (a.k.a. Frederick the Great)
Proclamation (13 Sep 1777)
 
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Wine gives a man nothing. It neither gives him knowledge nor wit; it only animates a man, and enables him to bring out what a dread of the company has repressed. It only puts in motion what had been locked up in frost.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (28 Apr 1778)

In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
 
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It seems there is something spiritual in wine.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
 
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Wine has drowned more than the sea.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings]

Alt. trans.: "Wine drowns more than the sea."
 
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Alcohol is nicissary f’r a man so that now an’ thin he can have a good opinion iv himsilf, ondisturbed be th’ facts.

[Alcohol is necessary for a man so that now and then he can have a good opinion of himself, undisturbed by the facts.]

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
“Mr. Dooley on Alcohol,” Chicago Tribune (26 Apr 1914)
 
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First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) American writer [Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald]
(Attributed)

Sometimes cited to Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, but not found there. See also Hokekyo-Sho, Piper, and this Spanish Proverb.
 
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Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, aye, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: “Do not drink,” answer him: “I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.” One must always do what Satan forbids.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German religious reformer
Letter to Jerome Weller (Jul 1530)
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "We are soon defeated if we try too hard not to sin. So when the devil says ‘Do not drink’ answer him: ‘I shall drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to!’"
 
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Wine hath drowned more Men than the Sea.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #5744 (1732)
    (Source)
 
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To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and keep absolutely sober

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) American-English essayist, editor, anthologist
Afterthoughts, “In the World” (1931)
 
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Alcohol is like love: the first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you just take the girl’s clothes off.

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) American novelist
The Long Good-bye, ch. 12 (1954)
 
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Love, with very young people, is a heartless business. We drink at that age from thirst, or to get drunk; it is only later in life that we occupy ourselves with the individuality of our wine.

Isak Dinesen (1885-1962) Danish writer [pseud. of Karen Christence, Countess Blixen]
“The Old Chevalier,” Seven Gothic Tales (1934)
    (Source)
 
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“You’d better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.”

“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”

“You ask a glass of water.”

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ch. 6 (1979)
 
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