An Alcoholic’s Anthology

I thought I would write a little post on the subject of alcohol as I am quite fascinated by the relationship between alcohol and creativity. But then I remembered that I’m sober, so I thought I would just compile the more poetic thoughts of proper writers on its consumption instead…

Alcohol Creativity

‘A Drinking Song’ Beer Goggles by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That’s all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.

‘Be Drunk’ by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) in translation 

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it — it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

[A defence of] ‘Drinking’ by Abraham Cowley (1618-1667)

Wine bottleThe thirsty earth soaks up the rain,

And drinks and gapes for drink again;

The plants suck in the earth, and are

With constant drinking fresh and fair;

The sea itself (which one would think

Should have but little need of drink)

Drinks ten thousand rivers up,

So fill’d that they o’erflow the cup.

The busy Sun (and one would guess

By’s drunken fiery face no less)

Drinks up the sea, and when he’s done,

The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun.

They drink and dance by their own light,

They drink and revel all the night.

Beer bottle

Beer bottleNothing in Nature’s sober found,

But an eternal health goes round.

Fill up the bowl, then, fill it high,

Fill all the glasses there, for why

Should every creature drink but I?

Why, man of morals, tell me why?


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