A Farewel to Wine by Richard Ames

By a Quondam Friend to the Bottle

I.
Tempt me no more, I swear I will not go;
As soon you may in Winters deepest Snow,
Perswade me Tenariff to climb,
Or into Aetna’s scorching flame,
My Mortal Carcass throw,
As to a Tavern go—I hate the Name.
There was indeed my Friend, there was a time,
When to avoid the hurry, noise, and strife,
With the tumultuous Cares of Life,
We in an Evening o’re a Bottle met,
And while the tempting flowing Glass,
Did round about in order pass,
Conferr’d we Notes of Pleasure, Love and Wit,
The Wine then was—would a dull Muse inspire,
Make Blockheads witty, Cowards bold;
And in the bloodless, wither’d, old
Men of Threescore blow up a youthful fire.

II.
But now—with what regret the Now I name,
The Wine we drink is now no more the same,
In former happy days it was,
Than can a Man of Ninety Nine be said,
With Withered Limbs and hoary Head,
To be the self-same Creature as,
He was at Fourteen Years of Age.
No, no, the vigorous Heat, the Spirit’s gone:
The Wine with which we now engage,
Has not that body, taste, or age,
It had before the War began,
It either chills the blood—or puts it in a flame.

III.
What arts my friend you have? What tricks you use?
My easy Temper to seduce.
Methinks a Tavern Door I enter in,
With such unwillingness as when a Maid,
By Oaths and Promises betraid,
Does venture on the Pleasing Sin.
But here most solemnly I vow,
Not to exceed a Glass or two:
No Bumpers shall your Friendship fill me,
One Glass, if Aqua fortis, would not kill me.

IV.
Some Claret Boy—Indeed Sir we have none.
Claret Sir—Lord there’s not a Drop in Town;
But we’ve the best Red Port—What’s that you call
Red Port?—a Wine Sir comes from Portugal,
I’ll fetch a Pint Sir,—Do make haste you Slave,
In things of sence what mighty faith some have,
To give their healths up to a Vintners Boy,
Who with one Dash perhaps can it destroy:
And when the threatning Gout or Fever comes,
To Quack in Velvet Coat,
Who all his Learning has by roat,
To purchase Health again give lib’ral Sums.

V.
Pray taste your Wine Sir,—Sir, by your good favor,
I’ll view it first, and nose its flavor;
Is this the Wine you so commend?
Pray look upon’t my dearest Friend,
It looks almost as brown and yellow,
As is the face of warlike Fellow,
Who has for seven Campaigns in Flanders lain,
Observe, observe it once again;
See how Ten Thousand Attoms dance about the Glass;
Of Eggs, and Lime, and Iseinglass:
Mark how it smells, methinks a real pain,
Is by its odor thrown upon my brain.
I’ve tasted it—’tis spiritless and flat,
And has as many different tastes,
As can be found in Compound pastes,
In Lumber Pye, or soporifrous Methridate.

VI.
Sir, If you please, I’ll a fresh Hogshead peirce.
Peirce your own head you Dog—which now contains,
Maggots and Lies, instead of Brains.
What other Wines you brewing Ass,
Have you, you would for Clarets pass?
Speak quickly come their names rehearse.
Sir, We defy all London to compare,
A Glass of Wine with our Navarre,
And then for Barcelona, Syracuse,
Or Carcavella now so much in use,
With rich Gallicia Wine a mighty Store,
Florence and—hold you prating Whelp, no more,
But fetch us up a Pint of any sort,
Navarre, Galicia, any thing but Port.
Yes Sir—These nimble Rogues of Flippant Talk,
How merrily their Tongues can walk.
As sure as Moral Certainty,
The Vintners have some needy Spark in Fee,
T’ invent hard names for all their Wines, that so,
They off more quick, and currantly may go.

VII.
Come Boy the Wine—I hope ’twill please you Sir,
No question on’t—Come of all Saints to th’ Mother,
A Health—Pox take it, this is worse than t’ other:
From this Floors Center may I never stir,
If ’tis not sweet, and sowre, and hot, and smells
Of Brimstone, or of something else.
Wine do you call this poys’nous Drink,
They’r quite besides their wits I think;
‘Tis Florence, Port, Navarre, and all together,
For Bacchus Boys, is not this lovely weather?
Here, take your Money for your (Stuff call’d) Wine,
Which from this time I utterly decline.

VIII.
You see my Friend, these Rogues by their pretences,
How they impose upon our very Sences:
And we a Price extravagant allow,
For that Damn’d Stuff which in their Vaults they brew,
Which Mystery if we but throughly knew,
Sooner we’d leap into the Thames or Severn,
Than Venture on the Wine in any Tavern.

From: Ames, Richard, The bacchanalian sessions, or, The contention of liquors with a farewel to wine / by the author of the Search after claret, &c. ; to which is added, a satyrical poem on one who had injur’d his memory, by a friend, 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. [unnumbered].
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A25256.0001.001)

Date: 1693

By: Richard Ames (c1660-1693)

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