Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 59

Today’s words come from early 19th century English Romantic poet, John Keats.  I can’t say I’ve read much any Keats, but poetry people really seem to dig him.  A couple of interesting-to-me things about Keats — he was only 5 feet tall, and he died of tuberculosis when he was just 25 years old.

But most interesting of all . . . Keats loved wine.  His favorite was Claret, especially from Chateau Margaux.  In a letter to his brother, George, Keats described Claret thusly (you should always seize the opportunity to use the word thusly):

How I like Claret, whenever I can have Claret I must drink it, — ’tis the only palate affair that I am at all sensual in.  It fills one’s mouth with a gushing freshness—then goes down cool and feverless — then you do not feel it quarrelling with your liver — no, it is rather a Peacemaker, and lies as quiet as it did in the grape; then it is as fragrant as the Queen Bee, and the more ethereal Part of it mounts into the brain, not assaulting the cerebral apartments like a bully in a bad-house looking for his trull and hurrying from door to door bouncing against the wainstcoat, but rather walks like Aladdin about his own enchanted palace so gently that you do not feel his step.

Keats should have written wine reviews!  I’m dying to know what kind of wine assaulted Keats’ cerebral apartments like a bully in a bad-house looking for his trull (I had to look that one up, a trull is a prostitute).  A bad night with Barolo?

Keats is famous for writing a series of six Odes about various subjects (Indolence, Psyche, Nightengale, Grecian Urn, Meloncholy, Autumn). I got my hopes up after that Claret letter, and I tried to read Grecian Urn (because I thought it might be about wine), but it’s unbearably long, not about wine, and basically unreadable (sorry, poetry people).  I didn’t make it past the first three lines.

But, I did find some Keats words (from a letter he wrote to his sister, Fanny, in 1819) that I both understand and like.  And I’m not sure why, but I find the part about music played out of doors by somebody I do not know, a little bit funny.  It seems just right for the Dog Days of Summer.


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