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Persons whose wish it is to make flesh, or to keep the bowels relaxed, will do well to drink while taking their food. Those, on the other hand, who wish to reduce themselves, or prevent the bowels from being relaxed, should abstain from drinking while taking their meals, and drink but a very little only when they have done eating. To drink wine fasting is a fashion of recent introduction1 only, and an extremely bad one for persons engaged in matters of importance, and requiring a continued application of the mental faculties. Wine, no doubt, was taken fasting in ancient times, but then it was as a preparative for sleep and repose from worldly cares; and it is for this reason that, in Homer,2 we find Helen presenting it to the guests before the repast. It is upon this fact, too, that the common proverb is founded, which says that "wisdom is obscured by wine."3 It is to wine that we men are indebted for being the only animated beings that drink without being thirsty. When drinking wine, it is a very good plan to take a draught of water every now and then; and to take one long draught of it at the last, cold water taken internally having the effect of instantaneously dispelling inebriation.

It is strongly recommended by Hesiod4 to drink undiluted wine5 for twenty days before the rising of the Dog-star, and as many after. Pure wine, too, acts as an antidote to hemlock, coriander,6 henbane, mistletoe, opium, mercury, as also to stings inflicted by bees, wasps, hornets, the phalangium, serpents, and scorpions; all kinds of poison, in fact, which are of a cold nature, the venom of the hæmorrhois and the prester,7 in particular, and the noxious effects of fungi. Undiluted wine is good, too, in cases of flatulency, gnawing pains in the thoracic organs, excessive vomitings at the stomach, fluxes of the bowels and intestines, dysentery, excessive perspirations after prolonged fits of coughing, and defluxions of various kinds. In the cardiac8 disease, it is a good plan to apply a sponge soaked in neat wine to the left breast: in all these cases, however, old white wine is the best. A fomentation of hot wine applied to the genitals of beasts of burden is found to be very beneficial; and, introduced into the mouth, with the aid of a horn, it has the effect of removing all sensations of fatigue.9 It is asserted that in apes, and other quadrupeds with toes, the growth will be impeded if they are accustomed to drink undiluted wine.10

1 In the time of the Emperor Tiberius. See B. xiv. c. 28.

2 Odyssey, B. iv. 1. 219, et seq.

3 "Supientiam vino obumbrari."

4 Works and Days, 1. 594.

5 "Merum."

6 It is surprising, as Fée says, to find coriander enumerated among the poisons. Mistletoe, too, and mercury are neither of them poisons. As to hemlock, see B. xiv. c. 7.

7 See Lucan's Pharsalia, B. ix. 11. 722, 791.

8 See B. xi. c. 71.

9 This method is still employed with race-horses. See B. xiv. c. 28.

10 It is still a very prevalent notion that the growth of dogs is stunted by giving them raw spirits.

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