Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Hail, Hail, Plump Paunch!

St. Paul, Letter to the Philippians 3.18-19:
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

πολλοὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦσιν οὓς πολλάκις ἔλεγον ὑμῖν, νῦν δὲ καὶ κλαίων λέγω, τοὺς ἐχθροὺς τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὧν τὸ τέλος ἀπώλεια, ὧν ὁ θεὸς ἡ κοιλία καὶ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ αἰσχύνῃ αὐτῶν, οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες.
Epicurus, fragment 409 Usener = Athenaeus 12.546f:
The beginning and root of every good thing is the pleasure of the belly; both wise things and refined things have reference to this.

ἀρχὴ καὶ ῥίζα παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ ἡ τῆς γαστρὸς ἡδονή· καὶ τὰ σοφὰ καὶ τὰ περιττὰ ἐπὶ ταύτην ἔχει τὴν ἀναφοράν.
Ben Jonson, Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1641):
Room! room! make room for the bouncing belly,
First father of sauce, and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts, and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine the spit,
The plow and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the bolter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught them to run.
And since with the funnel and hippocras bag
He has made of himself, that now he cries swag!
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from the back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack!
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats, or powdered, or pickle, or paste;
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted, or sod,
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd;
All which have now made thee so wide i' the waist
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break'st all thy girdles, and break'st forth a god.

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