Democritus having said this, and having drunk, said,— Now if any one can gainsay any of these statements let him come forward: and then he shall be told, as Evenus says—
That may be your opinion; this is mine.But I, since I have now made this digression about the mix- tures of the ancients, will resume the thread of my original discourse where I let it drop; considering what was said by Alcæus the lyric poet. For he speaks, somewhere or other, in this way—
Pour out, in just proportion, one and two.For in these words some people do not think that he is alluding to the mixture of wine and water at all; but that, being a moderate and temperate man, he would not drink [p. 679] more than one cyathus of pure wine, or perhaps, at the most, two. And this is the interpretation given to the passage by Chameleon of Pontus, who was ignorant how fond of wine Alcæus had been. For this poet will be found to have been in the habit of drinking at every season and in every imaginable condition of affairs. In winter he speaks thus—
Now the storm begins to lower,And in summer, he writes—
And Jove descends in heavy snow,
And streams of water stand congeal'd
In cruel ice: let's drive away
The wintry cold, and heap up fire,
And mingle with unsparing hand
The honied cup, and wreathe our brows
With fragrant garlands of the season.
Now it behoves a man to soak his lungsAnd in spring he says—
In most cool wine; for the fierce dogstar rages,
And all things thirst with the excessive heat.
Now does the flowery spring return,and he continues—
And shed its gifts all o'er the land;
Come then, my boy, and quickly pourAnd in his misfortunes he sings—
A cup of luscious Lesbian wine.
One must not give one's thoughts up whollyAnd in his hours of joy he says—
To evil fortune; for by grieving
We shall not do ourselves much good.
Come to me, Bacchus; you are ever
The best of remedies, who bring
Us wine and joyous drunkenness.
Now is the time to get well drunk,And, giving some general advice, he says—
Now e'en in spite of self to drink,
Since Myrsilus is dead at last.
Never plant any tree before the vine.How, then, could a man who was so very devoted to drinking be a sober man, and be content with one or two cups of wine? At all events, his very poem, says Seleucus, testifies against those people who receive the line in this sense. For he says, in the whole passage—
Let us now drink,—why put we out the light?In which words he plainly enough intimates that his meaning is, that one cup of wine is to be mixed with two of water.
Our day is but a finger: bring large cups,
[p. 680] Fili'd with the purple juice of various grapes;
For the great son of Semele and Jove
Gave wine to men to drive away their cares.
Pour on, in just proportion, one and two,
And let one goblet chase another quickly
Out of my head.