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To foreign climes a man must sometimes roam,
In quest of things he cannot find at home;
For Frenchmen Germans have no strong affection,
But to their wines we seldom make objection.

[Man kann nicht stets das Fremde meiden
Das Gute liegt uns oft so fern.
Ein echter deutscher Mann mag keinen Franzen leiden,
Doch ihre Weine trinkt er gern.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 8 “Auerbach’s Cellar,” l. 2270ff [Brander] (1808-1829) [tr. Blackie (1880)]
    (Source)

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not, leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

We can't quite shun the Foreign, howe'er we may determine;
The Good is oft so far away.
Your Frenchman's poison to your true-born German,
But your French wines he'd drink all day.
[tr. Latham (1790)]

What's foreign we can't always shun,
So far from us must good things often be.
A genuine German can't abide the French, not one,
But of their wines he drinks most cheerfully.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

One cannot always avoid what is foreign; what is good often lies so far off. A true German cannot abide Frenchmen, but willingly drinks their wines.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

What foreign is one always can't decline,
What's good is often scatter'd far apart.
The French your genuine German hates with all his heart,
Yet has a relish for their wine.
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

Hankerings for foreign things will sometimes haunt you,
The good so far one often finds;
Your real German man can't bear the French, I grant you,
And yet will gladly drink their wines.
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

What's foreign one can't always keep quite clear of,
For good things, oft, are not so near;
A German can't endure the French to see or hear of,
Yet drinks their wines with hearty cheer.
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

Sometimes one can't abstain from foreign stuff,
what is good lies often far away.
A German of fine blood dislikes the French,
but he enjoys their wines the better.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

One can't become one country's henchman,
Much good hails from a distant spot;
Your proper German can't abide a Frenchman,
But likes French vintages a lot.
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

You can't always avoid what's foreign,
About pleasure I'm not partisan.
A man who's a true German can't stand Frenchmen,
But he can stand their wine, oh yes he can!
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

You must admit sometimes, I know it's sad,
But foreign stuff is really not that bad.
Us Germans just can't stand the Frogs, but then
We like to drink their wine now and again.
[tr. Williams (1999)]

We can’t always shun what’s foreign,
Things from far away are often fine.
Real Germans can’t abide a Frenchman,
And yet they gladly drink his wine.
[tr. Kline (2003)]

 
Added on 11-Oct-22 | Last updated 11-Oct-22
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A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
(Attributed)

Not found in Kipling's written works.
 
Added on 28-Dec-21 | Last updated 28-Dec-21
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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]

 
Added on 14-Jul-21 | Last updated 29-Dec-21
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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”
 
Added on 9-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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To confirm still more your piety and gratitude to Divine Providence, reflect upon the situation which it has given to the elbow. You see in animals, who are intended to drink the waters that flow upon the earth, that if they have long legs, they have also a long neck, so that they can get at their drink without kneeling down. But man, who was destined to drink wine, is framed in a manner that he may rise the glass to his mouth. If the elbow had been placed nearer the hand, the part in advance would have been too short to bring the glass up to the mouth; and if it had been nearer the shoulder, that part would have been so long that when it attempted to carry the wine to the mouth it would have overshot the mark, and gone beyond the head; thus, either way, we should have been in the case of Tantalus. But from the actual situation of the elbow, we are enabled to drink at our ease, the glass going directly to the mouth. Let us, then, with glass in hand, adore this benevolent wisdom; — let us adore and drink!

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to the Abbé Morallet, Postscript (1779)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Nov-20 | Last updated 12-Nov-20
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What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) Greek writer and philosopher
Zorba the Greek, ch. 23 (1946)
 
Added on 9-Nov-20 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
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When a Man’s exhausted, wine will build his strength.

[Ἀνδρὶ δὲ κεκμηῶτι μένος μέγα οἶνος ἀέξει.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 6, l. 261 (6.261) (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 310]

Alt. trans.
For to a man dismay’d
With careful spirits, or too much with labour overlaid,
Wine brings much rescue, strength'ning much the body and the mind.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 274-76]

Then with a plenteous draught refresh thy soul,
And draw new spirits from the generous bowl.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

For wine is mighty to renew the strength
Of weary man.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 318-19]

For to a wearied man wine greatly increases strength.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For great the strength
Which gen'rous wine imparts to men who toil.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 306-07]

When a man is awearied wine greatly maketh his strength to wax.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Wine gives a man fresh strength when he is wearied.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

When a man is spent with toil wine greatly maketh his strength to wax.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

In a tired man, wine will bring back his strength to its bigness.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Wine will restore a man when he is weary as you are.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

When someone is fatigued, wine greatly increases his power.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

 
Added on 30-Sep-20 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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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."
 
Added on 20-May-20 | Last updated 20-May-20
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Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Proverbs 20:1 [KJV]

Alt. trans.:
  • "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." [NRSV]
  • "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise." [NIV]
  • "Wine is a luxurious thing, and drunkenness riotous: whosoever is delighted therewith shall not be wise." [DRA]
 
Added on 31-May-17 | Last updated 31-May-17
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The girl that I will marry
Will be like a fine wine
That will become better
A bit every morning.

[La fille que j’aimera
Sera comme bon vin
Qui se bonifiera
Un peu chaque matin.]

Brel - like a fine wine - wist_info quote

Jacques Brel (1929-1978) Belgian singer, songwriter, actor
“Bachelor’s Dance [La Bourrée Du Célibataire]” (1957)

More commonly translated for English (by Eric Blau): "The girl that I will marry / Will age without a fear / And like the wine grow mellower / With every passing year."
 
Added on 5-Feb-16 | Last updated 5-Feb-16
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I have never gotten into wine. I’m a beer man. What I like about beer is you basically just drink it, then you order another one. You don’t sniff at it, or hold it up to the light and slosh it around, and above all you don’t drone on and on about it, the way people do with wine. Your beer drinker tends to be a straightforward, decent, friendly, down-to-earth person who enjoys talking about the importance of relief pitching, whereas your serious wine fancier tends to be an insufferable snot.

Dave Barry (b. 1947) American humorist
“Daze of Wine and Roses,” Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits (1988)
 
Added on 23-Oct-14 | Last updated 23-Oct-14
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Take a drink because you pity yourself, and then the drink pities you and has a drink, and then two good drinks get together and that calls for drinks all around. No; he’d have one drink, maybe a little bigger than usual, before he went to bed.

H. Beam Piper (1904-1964) American author
Little Fuzzy (1962)
 
Added on 17-Apr-14 | Last updated 17-Apr-14
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It seems there is something spiritual in wine.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
 
Added on 7-Oct-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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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."
 
Added on 14-Jun-13 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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Who loves not wine, women, and song
Remains a fool his whole life long.

[Wer nicht liebt Weib, Wein und Gesang,
A Der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang.]

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German religious reformer
(Attributed)

Attributed in Matthias Claudius, Der Wandsbecker Bothe (1775). Inscription in the Luther Room, Wartburg, Germany.
 
Added on 24-May-13 | Last updated 1-May-17
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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.
 
Added on 7-Aug-09 | Last updated 1-Apr-22
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MACDUFF: What three things does drink especially provoke?

PORTER: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes. It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him and disheartens him; makes him stand to and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep and, giving him the lie, leaves him.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Macbeth, Act 2, sc. 3, l. 27ff (1606)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Dec-08 | Last updated 29-Jun-22
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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)
 
Added on 8-Dec-08 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that age appears to be best in four things — old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Apothegms, # 97 (1624)

See Alfonso X.

 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-May-16
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A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

Omar Khayyám (1048-1123) Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer
Rubáiyát, 12 [tr. FitzGerald, 4th ed. (1879)]

Alternate trans:
Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness - And Wilderness is Paradise enow. [FitzGerald, 11, 1st ed. (1859)]
Should our day's portion be one mancel loaf, A haunch of mutton and a gourd of wine Set for us two alone on the wide plain, No Sultan's bounty could evoke such joy. A gourd of red wine and a sheaf of poems — A bare subsistence, half a loaf, not more — Supplied us two alone in the free desert: What Sultan could we envy on his throne? [Graves & Ali-Shah, 11-12 (1967)]
Yes, Loved One, when the Laughing Spring is blowing, With Thee beside me and the Cup o’erflowing, I pass the day upon this Waving Meadow, And dream the while, no thought on Heaven bestowing. [Garner, 1.20 (1888)]
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Jul-17
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We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to Abbé Morallet (1779)
    (Source)

Apparent origin of the misquote: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Jul-21
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