Thursday, April 7, 2011

A-Z: Flagon

Then did they fall upon the chat of victuals and forthwith began flagons to go, gammons to trot, goblets to fly, great bowls to ting, glasses to ring. Draw, reach, fill, mix, give it me without water. So, my friend, whip me off this glass neatly, bring me hither some claret, a full weeping glass till it run over. A cessation and truce with thirst. Ha, thou false fever, wilt thou not be gone? By the belly of Saint Jim, let us talk of our drink!

Which was first, thirst or drinking? Thirst, for who in the time of innocence would have drunk without being athirst? Nay, sir, it was drinking; for privatio praesupponit habitum.(1) We poor innocents drink but too much without thirst. Not I truly, who am a sinner, for I never drink without thirst, either present or future. To prevent it, as you know, I drink for the thirst to come. I drink eternally. He drinks in vain that feels not the pleasure of it. This entereth into my veins – the pissing tools and urinal vessels shall have nothing of it.

What difference is there between a bottle and a flagon? Great difference; for the bottle is capped and shut with a stopple, but the flagon with a vice.(2) Bravely and well played upon the words! Our fathers drank lustily, and emptied their cans. Well cacked, well sung! Come, let us drink: will you send nothing to the river? Here is one going to wash the tripes. I drink no more than a sponge. I drink like a Templar knight.

–– François Rabelais, Gargantua. (Translated by Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty and Peter Antony Motteux, excerpt edited and abridged by Bard)

The complete text can be found at Wikisource.

1. Legal terminology: "Every privation presupposes former enjoyment."
2. Vise, screw. La bouteille est fermee a bouchon, et le flaccon a vis.


  1. The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.

  2. Doc: LOL -- really cool rhyme. Where does it come from?

  3. Ah, found it I think. Danny Kaye, The Court Jester? That's the second reference to that movie someone's brought to my attention. I definitely have to repair this gap in my movie history and watch that film!