The ninth of September, 2011: breeding salamanders

As a heavy weekend hoves monstrously into view, I am going to launch a pre-emptive jinx or hex on the inevitable Sunday-morning unpleasantness.

This is from 1700, the pre-dawn of the Geneva Age (also known as the 18th-century gin craze). It describes a gin hangover.

His stomach doesn’t concoct, but bake his food,

His liver even vitrefies his blood;

His trembling hand scarce heaves his liquor in,

His nerves all crackle under parchment’s skin;

His guts from nature’s drudgery are freed,

And in his bowels salamanders breed.

That may be my favourite last line in all English poetry. That’s from an anonymous ‘Satyr Upon Brandy’ (‘brandy’ then being a catch-all term for spirituous distillations), quoted in Patrick Dillon’s excellent Gin: The Much-lamented Death of Madam Geneva (Justin, Charles & Co, 2003).

Bottoms up.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s