In the course of what I affectionately have come to think of as The Article That Ate Summer (more on that in future posts), I found myself spending quite a bit of time on Google Books, often browsing some of the fine 19th century periodicals the site has to offer. While I was mostly on the lookout for information on how to tell apparent death from actual death (no, really), I also ran across a number of other pieces that really cried out to be shared, particularly in a forum such as this one.

Thus, I inaugurate now what I plan to make a semi-regular feature detailing unexpectedly amusing things I find while looking for other things on Google Books. Today’s item, “The Philosophy of Drinking,” was first published in Bentley’s Miscellany in 1842. This appears to have been a regular feature in the magazine–if you click on the link to the Table of Contents, you will notice that there are also philosophies of Smoking, Physic, Money, Law, and Divorce. However, it being Friday and all, I thought this one would be the most appropriate. The six bumpers of philosophy offer their paeans to the bottle in the form of poetry, prose, and lists. Not to mention illustrations. Bumper the Third is one of my favorites, and begins:

How very rational and manifold are the reasons for drinking!

…indeed. This section also informs us that

There is less cause for the limitation of the license for drinking to bachelors than to married men, who should invariably be more steady, and the more especially as it does sometimes occur that the latter become pugnacious when the wine is in the ascendant.

–upon which I myself cannot comment from my personal experience, though I know we have some married persons in our blog audience who may like to weigh in on this one. I particularly like the phrase “the wine is in the ascendant” and may try to incorporate it into my speech accordingly. On the other hand, I will probably not be giving the following toast (with bonus explanation of the pun!) anytime soon:

“May the man who has a good wife never be addicted to liquor (lick her).”

Anyway, cheers.