Curiosities

Wine poems

Poesie sul vino

Poems about wine in antiquity

Since ancient times, wine, the quintessential beverage, has been a source of poetic inspiration for various authors. The Latin poet Ovid (43 B.C./18 A.D.), for example, in his Ars Amatoria, a didactic poem providing advice on love matters, urges readers not to be overcome by drunkenness (vv. 589-592):

Certa tibi a nobis dabitur mensura bibendi:
officium praestent mensque pedesque suum.
Iurgia praecipue vino stimulata caveto,
et nimium faciles ad fera bella manus.

You will be given a precise measure for drinking by us:
That the mind and legs perform their task.
You will take care to avoid the offenses generated by drunkenness
And the hand too quick to wild brawls.

Catullus (84 B.C./54 B.C.), in Carynx 27, rails against those who water down wine, preferring to drink the beverage pure:

At vos quo lubet hinc abite,
lymphae vini pernicies,
et ad severos migrate.

And you waters, bane of wine,
go wherever you like
Switch to the side of the austere people.

Poems about wine in the Middle Ages

Most famous is sonnet 87 by Cecco Angioleri (1260-1310), where the poet sarcastically states:

Three things alone are able to me,
Which I can not well provide,
That is, the woman, the tavern and the dice:
These make my heart glad to hear.

I care about only three things,
Although I cannot afford them as much as I would like,
women, wine, and gambling:
these are the things that gladden my heart.

The image of wine also finds ample space in Dante ‘s Commedia (1265-1321). For example, to explain the mystery of the generation of human souls, in Purgatorio XXV (76-78), Dante recalls no less than the transformation of grapes into wine:

And why the less you admire the word,
Watch the warmth of the sun become wine,
Joined to the homor that of the vine drips.

And so that you may be less surprised by my words,
think of wine, which is the fruit of the heat of the sun
combined with the substance dripping from the vine.

Poems about wine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

The poet Giosuè Carducci (1835-1907), in a poem written to celebrate the anniversary of the French Revolution, writes:

Stir, O friends, the wine. The quivering vin
Shake from the soft nerves every torpor,
Purify the clouds of the afflicted mind,
Drown the tedium accidïoso in cor.

Wine, in short, as an antidote to temptations of the soul.

In The Flowers of Evil, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) praises wine, consolation of the afflicted:

Pour noyer la rancoeur et bercer l’indolence
De tous ces vieux maudits qui meurent en silence,
Dieu, touché de remords, avait fait le sommeil ;
l’Homme ajouta le Vin, fils sacré du Soleil!

To drown resentment and cradle indolence,
Of all those cursed old men who die in silence,
God, touched by remorse, had created sleep,
Man added wine to it, sacred child of the Sun!

 

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