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NIGER, a citizen of ours, was lately come from school, after he had spent some time under the discipline of a renowned philosopher, but had learned nothing but those faults by which his master was offensive and odious to others, especially his habit of reproving and of carping at whatever upon any occasion chanced to be spoke in company. And therefore, when we were at supper one time at Aristio's, not content to assume to himself a liberty to [p. 352] rail at all the rest of the preparations as too profuse and extravagant, he had a pique at the wine too, and said that it ought not to be brought to table strained, but that, observing Hesiod's rule, we ought to drink it new out of the vessel, while it has its natural strength and force. Moreover, he added that this way of purging wine takes the strength from it, and robs it of its natural heat, which, when wine is poured out of one vessel into another, evaporates and dies. Besides he would needs persuade us that it showed too much of a vain curiosity, effeminacy, and luxury, to convert what is wholesome into that which is palatable. For as the riotous, not the temperate, use to cut cocks and geld pigs, to make their flesh tender and delicious, even against Nature; just so (if we may use a metaphor, says he) those that strain wine geld and emasculate it, whilst their squeamish stomachs will neither suffer them to drink pure wine, nor their intemperance to drink moderately. Therefore they make use of this expedient, to the end that it may render the desire they have of drinking plentifully more excusable. So they take all the strength from the wine, leaving the palatableness still; as we use to deal with those with whose constitution cold water does not agree, to boil it for them. For they certainly take off all the strength from the wine, by straining of it. And this is a great argument, that the wine deads, grows flat, and loses its virtue, when it is separated from the lees, as from its root and stock; for the ancients for very good reason called wine lees, as we use to signify a man by his head or soul, as the principal part of him. So in Greek, grape-gatherers are said τρυγᾶν, the word being derived from τρύξ, which signifies lees; and Homer in one place calls the fruit of the wine διατρύγιον, and the wine itself high-colored and red,—not pale and yellow, such as Aristio gives us to supper, after all goodness is purged out of it. [p. 353]
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