Now it was not the fashion among the Lacedæmonians to practise the system of pledging healths at their banquets, nor to salute one another with mutual greetings and caresses at their feasts. And Critias shows us this in his Elegies:—
And this is an old fashion, well establish'd,And presently afterwards he goes on—
And sanction'd by the laws of noble Sparta,
That all should drink from one well-fill'd cup;
And that no healths should then be drunk to anyone,
Naming the tender object: also that
The cup should not go round towards the right.
The Lydian goblets . . . .
* * * *
And to drink healths with skill and well-turn'd phrase,
Naming the person whom one means to pledge.
For, after draughts like this, the tongue gets loose,
And turns to most unseemly conversation;
They make the body weak; they throw a mist
Over the eyes; and make forgetfulness
Eat recollection out of the full heart.
The mind no longer stands on solid ground;
The slaves are all corrupted by licentiousness,
And sad extravagance eats up the house.
But those wise youths whom Lacedæmon breeds
Drink only what may stimulate their souls
To deeds of daring in th' adventurous war,
And rouse the tongue to wit and moderate mirth.
Such draughts are wholesome both for mind and body,
[p. 684] And not injurious to the pocket either:
Good, too, for deeds of love; authors of sleep,
That wholesome harbour after toil and care:
Good, too, for health-that best of goddesses
Who mortal man befriend: and likewise good
For piety's best neigbour temperance.
For fierce, immoderate draughts of heady wine
Give momentary pleasure, but engender
A long-enduring pain which follows it.
But men at Sparta love a mode of life
Which is more equal; they but eat and drink
That which is wholesome, so that they may be
Fit to endure hard pains, and do great deeds.
Nor have they stated days in all the year
When it is lawful to indulge too much.