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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

That Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor

From the excellent Scribbling Woman comes this petition, - see the whole thing here, it's worth it! Here are a few scraps:

to their SEX from the Excessive
Use of that Drying, Enfeebling

London, Printed 1674.

... to our unspeakable Grief, we find of late a very sensible Decay of that true Old English Vigour; our Gallants being every way so Frenchified, that they are become meer Cock-sparrows ... Never did Men wear greater Breeches, or carry less in them of any Mettle whatsoever.

... and we have read, how a Prince of Spain was forced to make a Law, that Men should not Repeat the Grand Kindness to their Wives, above NINE times in a night: But Alas! Alas! Those forwards Days are gone, The dull Lubbers want a Spur now, rather than a Bridle: being so far from doing any works of Supererregation that we find them not capable of performing those Devoirs which their Duty, and our Expectations Exact.

The Occasion of which Insufferable Disaster, after a serious Enquiry, and Discussion of the Point by the Learned of the Faculty, we can Attribute to nothing more than the Excessive use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE, which Riffling Nature of her Choicest Treasures, and Drying up the Radical Moisture, has so Eunucht our Husbands, and Crippled our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent, as Age, and as unfruitful as those Desarts whence that unhappy Berry is said to be brought.

For the continual sipping of this pittiful drink is enough to bewitch Men of two and twenty, and tie up the Codpice-point without a Charm. It renders them that use it as Lean as Famine, as Rivvel'd as Envy, or an old meager Hagg over-ridden by an Incubus.
I began to suspect this polemic was a piece of propaganda issued by a tavern owner fearful of losing his business to the Starbucks of his day:
Certainly our Coutrymens pallates are become as Fanatical as their Brains; how else is't possible they should Apostatize from the good old primitive way of Ale-drinking, to run a whoreing after such variety of distructive Foraign Liquors, to trifle away their time, scald their Chops, and spend their Money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking, nauseous Puddle-water
But then, the author lets loose with this:
The Coffee-house being in truth, only a Pimp to the Tavern, a relishing soop preparative to a fresh debauch: For when people have swill'd themselves with a morning draught ... after an hours impertinent Chat, begin to consider a Bottle of Claret would do excellent well before Dinner; wherupon to the Bush they all march together, till every one of them is as Drunk as a Drum, and then back again to the Coffe-house to drink themselves sober ... so that they must away to the next Red Lattice to quench them with a dozen or two of Ale; which at last growing nauseous, one of them begins to extol the blood of the Grape ... Saist thou so? cries another, Let's then go and replenish there, with our Earthen Vessels; So once more they troop to the Sack-shop till they are drunker than before; and then by a retrograde motion, stagger back to Soberize themselves with Coffee; Thus like Tennis Balls between two Rackets, the Fopps our Husbands are bandied to and fro all day between the Coffee-house and Tavern...

The floor is open for discussion.

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At 12:39 PM, Blogger kenju said...

"The Grand Kindness": are they kidding?? The Grand Kindness, my foot! That was written by one heck of a conceited man, wasn't it?

At 3:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of coffee drinking and an hour of good chat followed by drinking, followed by more coffee. Sounds like a good time to me.

My husband doesn't drink coffee. I guess that's a good thing; I did have one coffee-drinking boyfriend, long time ago, and he was rather lacking in "mettle"... who knows?

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep, coffee seems like the other side of coin as alcohol. The same addictive brain chemistry is drawn to them both intractably, wouldn't you say?


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