Monday, December 10, 2018


Keeping in a Little Blast of Wind

The School of Salernum: Regimen Sanitatis Salerni. The English Version by Sir John Harrington (Salerno: Ente Provinciale per il Turismo, 1953), p. 24:
Quatuor ex vento veniunt in ventre retento,
Spasmus, hydrops, colica, vertigo, quatuor ista.
Ex magna coena stomacho fit maxima poena.
Ut sis nocte levis sit tibi coena brevis.

Great harmes have growne, & maladies exceeding,
By keeping in a little blast of wind:
So Cramps & Dropsies, Collickes have their breeding,
And Mazed Braines for want of vent behind:
Besides we finde in stories worth the reading,
A certaine Romane Emperour was so kind,
Claudius by name, he made a Proclamation,
A Scape to be no losse of reputation.
Great suppers do the stomacke much offend,
Sup light if quiet you to sleepe intend.
Suetonius, Life of Claudius 32 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
He is even said to have thought of an edict allowing the privilege of breaking wind quietly or noisily at table, having learned of a man who ran some risk by restraining himself through modesty.

dicitur etiam meditatus edictum, quo veniam daret flatum crepitumque ventris in convivio emittendi, cum periclitatum quendam prae pudore ex continentia repperisset.
Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. scape n.1, sense 4a:
to let a scape: to break wind. (See also ESCAPE n.1 4b) Obsolete.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson (†).


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