Monday, December 10, 2018
Keeping in a Little Blast of Wind
Quatuor ex vento veniunt in ventre retento,Suetonius, Life of Claudius 32 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
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.
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.Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. scape n.1, sense 4a:
dicitur etiam meditatus edictum, quo veniam daret flatum crepitumque ventris in convivio emittendi, cum periclitatum quendam prae pudore ex continentia repperisset.
to let a scape: to break wind. (See also ESCAPE n.1 4b) Obsolete.Hat tip: Ian Jackson (†).
Labels: noctes scatologicae