Category Archives: Booze

Booze Dining Medicine

A naturall drinke for a Dutche man

More snippets from Andrew Boorde’s A compendious regiment or a dietary of healthe (1547).


Ale is made of malte and water, and they the which do put any other thinge to ale except yeast, barme, or godesgood, doth sophisticate their ale. Ale for an English man is a natural drinke. Ale must have these properties, it must be freshe & cleare, it muste not be ropy nor smoky, nor muste it have no weft nor taile.  Ale should not be drunke under five daies olde. Newe ale is unwholesome for all men. And soure ale and that which doth stande a-tilt is good for no man. Barley malte maketh better ale than oaten malt or any other corne doth, it dothe engendre grosse humours, but yet it maketh a man stronge.

Beere is made of malte, of hoppes, and water, it is a naturall drinke for a Dutche man. And nowe of late daies it is muche used in Englande to the detriment of many Englishmen, specially it killeth those which be troubled with the colicke & the stone & the strangulion, for the drinke is a colde drinke: yet it doth make a man fat, & doth inflate the belly, as it doth appeare by the Dutche mens faces & bellies. If the beere be well brewed and fined, it dothe qualifye the heate of the liver.

Cyder is made of the juice of peares, or of the juice of apples, & other while cider is made of both, but the best cyder is made of cleane peares the which be dulcet, but yet best is not praised in physicke, for cyder is colde of operation, and is full of bentosite, wherefore it doth engendre evill humours, and doth swage to mocke the naturall heate of man, & doth let digestion, and dothe hurte the stomacke, but they the which be used to it, if it be drunken in harvest it doeth littell harme.

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Booze Dining Medicine

No maide shall drinke no wine

These snippets on the marvellous benefits of wine come from A compendious regiment or a dietary of healthe, by Andrew Boorde (1547).


All manner of wines be made of grapes. It must be fine, fayre & cleare to the eye. It muste be fragrante and redolent having a good odour and flavour in the nose. It muste sprinkle in the cup when it is drawne. It must be colde & pleasant in the mouth, and it must be stronge and subtle of substance. Moderately drunk it doth quicken a mans wittes. It doth comfort the heart, it doth scoure the liver, specially if it be white wine. It doth rejoice all the powers of man, it dothe engendre good bloode, it doth comforte and doth nurse the braine and all the body, and it resolueth flem, it engendreth heate, it doth cleanse woundes & sores.

Forthermore the better the wine is, the better humours it doth engender. And because wine is full of fumosie, it is good therefore to allay it with water. Wine high and hot of operation doth comfort olde men and women, but there is no wine good for children and maides. No maide shall drinke no wine, but still she shall drinke water unto she be married. The usual drinke for youth is fountaine water, for in every towne is a fountaine or a shallowe well, to the which all people that be young or servant hath a confluence and a recourse to drinke.

Meane wines, as wines of Gascony, and Frenche wines, are good with meate, specially claret wine. It is not good to drinke neither wine nor ale before a man dothe eate somewhat, although there be olde fantasticall sayings to the contrary. Also these hot wines [such] as malmesye, wine course [Corsican], wine Greeke, romanysk (Italian), secke (dry white Spanish) basterde (burgundy), muscadel, with other hot wines be not good to drinke with meate, but after meate, & with oysters, with salades, with fruit.

Furthermore all sweete wines doth make a man fatte.
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Biography Booze Court Death Poetry Vice

The wildest & most fantastical odd man

This snippet follows on from A Ramble in St James’ Park, and is an overview of the life of the second earl of Rochester.

John Wilmot, second earl of Rochester (1647–1680), poet and courtier, was born on 10 April 1647 the only surviving son of Henry Wilmot, first earl of Rochester, a royalist army officer, and his second wife, Anne.  The family moved to Paris when Henry Wilmot went into exile, settling in the Louvre at the court of Henrietta Maria, Charles I’s queen.

In 1660 Rochester was admitted to Wadham College, Oxford.  He was ‘a very hopefull Youth, very virtuous and good natur’d (as he was always) and willing & ready to follow good Advice’. Oxford was a hard drinking university and Rochester had the misfortune to be patronised by Robert Whitehall, known as that ‘useless member’ of Merton College, who, as a result of ‘following the trade of drinking as he was wont, procured himself a red face.’ Whitehall undertook to instruct the boy, ‘on whom he absolutely doted’, in the art of poetry.

Rochester was created MA filius nobilis on 9 September 1661, and on 21st November 1661 he set out on his travels with a governor, Dr Andrew Balfour, a physician and herbalist presumably chosen by the king, and two servants, with all expenses paid by the crown. The group toured Europe, resting at Venice, Padua, and Paris.

Even before Rochester arrived back at court, the king had chosen a bride for him. He was ‘encouraged by the king to make his [addresses] to Mrs. Mallet, who was the great beauty and fortune of the North.’  Elizabeth’s grandfather had brought her to court in 1664 to find her a husband. On 28th May 1665, Pepys recounted the following story:

of my Lord of Rochester’s running away on Friday night last with Mrs. Mallet … who had supped at White-hall and was going home to her lodgings with her grandfather, my Lord Ha[w]l[e]y, by coach, and was at Charing-cross seized on by both horse and foot-men and forcibly taken from him, and put into a coach with six horses and two women provided to receive her, and carried away. Upon immediate pursuit, my Lord Rochester (for whom the King had spoke to the lady often, but with no success) was taken at Uxbridge; but the lady is not yet heard of, and the King mighty angry and the Lord sent to the Tower.

In June 1665, Rochester addressed a petition to the king from the Tower: ‘Sheweth that noe misfortune on earth could bee so sensible to your Petitioner as the losse of your Majesties favour.’ Charles responded on 19th June by ordering Rochester to be discharged from the Tower. Released from prison, and having spent some time abroad, serving in the Anglo-Dutch wars, Rochester returned to court in 1667, and on 29th January, he and Elizabeth were married. In the same year he took his seat in the House of Lords.

In 1668, pregnant with their daughter, Lady Rochester retired to Adderbury, the Wilmot estate in Oxfordshire, where Anne Wilmot (named for Rochester’s mother), was born on 30th April 1669. For twelve years, from 1667 to 1679, Rochester’s life followed a familiar pattern: London during sessions of parliament and Adderbury during recesses; ‘He was wont to say that when he came to Brentford [on the London road] the devill entred into him and never left him till he came into the country again.’

Rochester’s life at court revolved around wine and women. According to Anthony Hamilton’s Memoirs of the comte de Grammont, Rochester seduced Sarah Cooke, who became ‘the prettiest, but also the worst actress in the realm.’  She was followed by others, including the actress Elizabeth Barry. Later reports stated that Rochester took over Barry’s training as an actress and ‘taught her not only the proper cadence or sounding of the voice, but to seize also the passions, and adapt her whole behaviour to the situations of the character.’ In April 1677, Barry, pregnant with Rochester’s child, left ‘this gaudy, gilded stage’.  His daughter, Elizabeth Clerke, was born in December 1677, but Barry was ‘no more monogamous than Rochester,’ and their relationship was very stormy. According to one of Rochester’s letters, Elizabeth ‘made it … absolutely necessary’ for Rochester to remove his daughter temporarily from her care.  In his will he left the child £40 a year.

‘For five years together’, Rochester himself said, ‘he was continually Drunk … [and] not … perfectly Master of himself … [which] led him to … do many wild and unaccountable things.’ He presented himself to Barry as ‘the wildest and most fantastical odd man alive,’ and in June 1675, he ‘in a frolick after a rant did … beat downe the dyill [glass chronometer] which stood in the middle of the Privie Gardens, which was esteemed the rarest in Europe’.  “What … doest thou stand here to fuck time?” he apparently ranted.

Rochester’s writings were admired and infamous. A Satyr Against Mankind (1675), one of the few poems he published (in a broadside in 1679) is a scathing denunciation of rationalism and optimism, but the majority of his poetry was not published under his name until after his death. Because most of his poems circulated only in manuscript form during his lifetime, it is likely that much of his writing does not survive.  Rochester was also interested in the theatre. In addition to an interest in the actresses, he wrote an adaptation of Fletcher’s Valentinian (published in 1685), a scene for Sir Robert Howard’s The Conquest of China, a prologue to Elkanah Settle’s The Empress of Morocco (1673), and epilogues to Sir Francis Fane’s Love in the Dark (1675), Charles Davenant’s Circe, A Tragedy (1677). The best-known dramatic work attributed to Rochester, Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery, has never been successfully proven to be written by him;

In the summer of 1679, Rochester learned that Jane Roberts, a former mistress, had died of syphilis. The year before, she had undergone mercury therapy, a particularly unpleasant therapy to cure the pox; ‘what shee has endured would make a damd soule fall a laughing att his lesser paines’.

Rochester himself succumbed to syphilis in 1679.  He renounced his former life of sin, and ordered ‘all his profane and lewd Writings … and all his obscene and filthy Pictures, to be burned.’ Towards the end, Rochester was ‘delirious’ his friend William Fanshaw observed, ‘for to my knowledge he believed neither in God nor Jesus Christ.’ His mother reported to her sister-in-law that ‘one night … he was disordered in his head’ and talked ‘ribble rabble’ and that on another occasion ‘his head was a little disordered.’ At last there was nothing left but ‘Skin and Bone’. Rochester died at High Lodge about 2 a.m. on 26 July 1680 ‘without … so much as a groan.’ He was buried on 9th August 1680.

Source: Frank H. Ellis, DNB. 
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Booze Love Poetry

’Twas wit at first, and wine, that made them live

This snippet is from Henry Vaughan, English metaphysical poet (1622-95). What is interesting is the description of a gathering of poets in a London tavern, all intent on boozing, smoking, & womanising. An interesting insight into the intersection between art & everyday life in the seventeenth century

A Rhapsody

Occasionally written upon a meeting with some of his friends at the Globe Tavern, in a chamber painted overhead with a cloudy sky and some few dispersed stars and on the sides with landscapes, hills, shepherds, and sheep.

Darkness and stars i’ the midday! they invite
Our active fancies to believe it night;
For taverns need no sun but for a sign,
Where rich tobacco and quick tapers shine,
And royal, witty sack, the poet’s soul,
With brighter suns than he doth gild the bowl;
As though the pot and poet did agree
Sack should to both illuminator be.
That artificial cloud with its curled brow

Tells us ’tis late; and that blue space below
Is fired with many stars; mark, how they break
In silent glances o’er the hills and speak
The evening to the plains; where, shot from far,
They meet in dumb salutes, as one great star.
The room, methinks, grows darker, and the air
Contracts a sadder color and less fair;
Or is ’t the drawer’s skill: hath he no arts
To blind us so we can’t know pints from quarts?
No, no, ’tis night; look where the jolly clown

Musters his bleating herd and quits the down.
Hark! how his rude pipe frets the quiet air
Whilst every hill proclaims Lycoris fair.
Rich, happy man! that canst thus watch and sleep,
Free from all cares, but thy wench, pipe, and sheep.
But see, the moon is up; view where she stands
Sentinel o’er the door, drawn by the hands
Of some base painter that for gain hath made

Her face the landmark to the tippling trade.
This cup to her, that to Endymion give,
’Twas wit at first, and wine, that made them live.
Choke may the painter! and his box disclose
No other colors than his fiery nose;
And may we no more of his pencil see
Than two churchwardens and mortality.

Should we go now a-wandering, we should meet
With catchpoles, whores, and carts in every street,
Now when each narrow lane, each nook and cave,
Signposts and shop-doors pimp for every knave,
When riotous sinful plush and telltale spurs
Walk Fleet Street and the Strand, when the soft stirs
Of bawdy, ruffled silks turn night to day,
And the loud whip and coach scolds all the way,

When lust of all sorts and each itchy blood
From the Tower-wharf to Cymbeline and Lud
Hunts for a mate, and the tired footman reels
’Twixt chairmen, torches, and the hackney wheels.
Come, take the other dish; it is to him
That made his horse a senator.  Each brim

Look big as mine! The gallant, jolly beast
Of all the herd (you’ll say) was not the least.
Now crown the second bowl, rich as his worth,
I’ll drink it to; he! that like fire broke forth
Into the Senate’s face, crossed Rubicon,
And the state’s pillars, with their laws thereon,
And made the dull gray beards and furred gowns fly

Into Brundisium, to consult and lie.
This to brave Sulla!  Why should it be said
We drink more to the living than the dead?
Flatt’rers and fools do use it. Let us laugh
At our own honest mirth; for they that quaff
To honor others do like those that sent
Their gold and plate to strangers to be spent.
Drink deep; this cup be pregnant; and the wine
Spirit of wit to make us all divine,

That big with sack and mirth we may retire
Possessors of more souls and nobler fire,
And by the influx of this painted sky
And labored forms, to higher matters fly;
So, if a nap shall take us, we shall all
After full cups have dreams poetical.
Let’s laugh now, and the pressed grape drink
Till the drowsy day-star wink,
And in our merry, mad mirth run
Faster and farther than the sun;
And let none his cup forsake
Till that star again doth wake;
So we men below shall move
Equally with the gods above.

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