There is no excellent knowledge without mixture of madnesse. And what makes a man more madde in the head then wine?

From Thomas Nashe’s Summer’s Last Will and Testament

Bacchus. Wherefore didst thou call mee, Vertumnus? hast any drinke to giue mee? One of you hold my Asse while I light: walke him vp and downe the hall, till I talke a word or two.

Summer. What, Bacchus: still animus in patinis, no mind but on the pot?

Bacchus. Why, Summer, Summer, how would’st doe, but for rayne? What is a faire house without water comming to it? Let mee see how a smith can worke, if hee haue not his trough standing by him. What sets an edge on a knife? the grindstone alone? no, the moyst element powr’d upō it, which grinds out all gaps, sets a poynt vpon it, & scowres it as right as the firmament. So, I tell thee, giue a soldier wine before he goes to battaile, it grinds out all gaps, it makes him forget all scarres and wounds, and fight in the thickest of his enemies, as though hee were but at foyles, amongst his fellows. Giue a scholler wine, going to his booke, or being about to inuent, it sets a new poynt on his wit, it glazeth it, it scowres it, it giues him acumen. Plato saith, vinum esse fomitem quēdam, et incitabilem ingenij virtutisque. Aristotle saith, Nulla est magna scientia absque mixtura dementiæ. There is no excellent knowledge without mixture of madnesse. And what makes a man more madde in the head then wine? Qui bene vult ποεῖν, debet ante πίνειν, he that will doe well, must drinke well. Prome, prome, potum prome: Ho butler, a fresh pot. Nunc est bibēdum, nunc pede libero terra pulsanda: a pox on him that leaues his drinke behinde him; hey Rendouow.

And some notes, since I can’t help but trace down the Latin sources:

animus in patinis – lifted and shifted from Terence’s The Eunuch (4.7) where patina has its more normal meaning of plate = dinner

vinum esse – ‘wine is a sort of tinder, and stimulant of capacity and excellence’ – a near quote from Aulus Gellius 15.2 (Gellius has ignitabulum, not incitabilem), a section titled “That Plato in the work which he wrote On the Laws expressed the opinion that inducements to drink more abundantly and more merrily at feasts were not without benefit.” In that context, however, the line is part of an argument put forth by an ‘idiot’ (nebulo) that Gellius refutes.

Nulla est magna – translated immediately afterward – a rendering of Aristotle’s Problemata 30 taken from Senecea’s De Tranquilitate Animi 15.16. There’s a difference in the phrasing which might mean Nashe is using someone’s paraphrasing – Seneca has ‘nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit.’

Qui bene vult – my only guess here is a modification of a Latin proverb – Qui bene vult fari, debet bene praemeditari (he who wishes to speak well ought to plan well)

Prome, prome – likewise I have no guess on a source past a scrap of a drinking song in the style of carmina burana samples

Nunc est bibēdum – the only immediately recognizable reference – Horace’s Carmina 1.37.

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