WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Drunk as …

It is the hour to be drunken! to escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish. Charles Baudelaire

The Bible tells us that wine is a mocker and beer a brawler, and whoever is led astray by them is not wise (Proverbs 20:1). Which is likely why those suffering from drunkenness are made fun of as they pick fights and do foolish things.

Drunk as a … Lord

Completely drunk.

A Midnight Modern Conversation by William Hogarth, 1697-1764, Indianapolis Museum of Art.

A Midnight Modern Conversation by William Hogarth, 1697-1764, Indianapolis Museum of Art.

This Hogarth print was so popular it spawned the play “A Modern Midnight Conversation, taken from Hogarth’s celebrated Print,” which was acted at Covent Garden. The caption on the print reads:

Think not to find one meant resemblance here,
We lash the Vices, but the Persons spare.
Prints should be prized, as Authors should be read,
Who sharply smile prevailing Folly dead.
So Rabilais [sic] taught, and so Cervantes thought,
So Nature dictated what Art has taught.

Drunk as an … Emperor

Ten times as drunk as a lord.

Drunk Zeno Buried Alive. Drunken Byzantine Emperor Zeno is taken for dead and buried. When sounds are heard from his tomb, his wife Ariadne tells people to take no notice.

Drunk Zeno Buried Alive. Print available at art.com.

Here we find Byzantine Emperor Zeno so completely gone he is taken for dead and buried. When sounds are heard from his tomb, however, the plot thickens: his wife Ariadne tells people to take no notice. So this level of drinking will get you buried alive.

Drunk as a … Wheelbarrow

Totally incapacitated with drink.

The Emperor's Beer Jug by Dutch painter Jan Havickszoon Steen 1626-1679. It seems the Emperor might be indirectly responsible for becoming drunk as a wheelbarrow.

The Emperor’s Beer Jug by Dutch painter Jan Havickszoon Steen 1626-1679.

Wine is a Mocker by Jan Havickszoon Steen 1663-1664, Norton Simon Museum. Note the wheelbarrow as transportation device.

Wine is a Mocker by Jan Havickszoon Steen 1663-1664, Norton Simon Museum.

This phrase implies “you’re so drunk, you shan’t make it home save for the aid of a wheelbarrow,” the humble yet sturdy transportation device for the obviously cup-shot. When you’re so drunk you can’t even stay in a wheelbarrow, you are most assuredly flying the flag of defiance (to purloin another cant phrase).

 

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