Love, in a humour, played the prodigal,
And bade my senses to a solemn feast;
Yet more to grace the company withal,
Invites my heart to be the chiefest guest.

No other drink would serve this glutton’s turn,
But precious tears distilling from mine eyne,
Which with my sighs this epicure doth burn,
Quaffing carouses in this costly wine;

⁠Where, in his cups, o’ercome with foul excess,
Straightways he plays a swaggering ruffian’s part,
And at the banquet in his drunkenness,
Slew his dear friend, my kind and truest heart.

⁠A gentle warning, friends, thus may you see,
⁠What ’tis to keep a drunkard company!

Author and Texts

Tell an epicure, a covetous man, an ambitious man of his irregular course, wean him from it a little, pol me occidistis amici, he cries anon, you have undone him, and as “dog to his vomit,” he returns to it again; no persuasion will take place, no counsel, say what thou canst,
“Clames licet et mare coelo
——Confundas, surdo narras,”
demonstrate as Ulysses did to Elpenor and Gryllus, and the rest of his companions “those swinish men,” he is irrefragable in his humour, he will be a hog still; bray him in a mortar, he will be the same.

“For I see no reason” (as he said) “why an epicure or idle drone, a rich glutton, a usurer, should live at ease, and do nothing, live in honour, in all manner of pleasures, and oppress others, when as in the meantime a poor labourer, a smith, a carpenter, an husbandman that hath spent his time in continual labour, as an ass to carry burdens, to do the commonwealth good, and without whom we cannot live, shall be left in his old age to beg or starve, and lead a miserable life worse than a jument.”

For beside a natural contempt of learning, which accompanies such kind of men, innate idleness (for they will take no pains), and which Aristotle observes, ubi mens plurima, ibi minima fortuna, ubi plurima fortuna, ibi mens perexigua, great wealth and little wit go commonly together: they have as much brains some of them in their heads as in their heels; besides this inbred neglect of liberal sciences, and all arts, which should excolere mentem, polish the mind, they have most part some gullish humour or other, by which they are led; one is an Epicure, an Atheist, a second a gamester, a third a whoremaster (fit subjects all for a satirist to work upon);…one is mad of hawking, hunting, cocking; another of carousing, horse-riding, spending; a fourth of building, fighting, &c., Insanit veteres statuas Damasippus emendo, Damasippus hath an humour of his own, to be talked of: Heliodorus the Carthaginian another. In a word, as Scaliger concludes of them all, they are Statuae erectae stultitiae, the very statutes or pillars of folly.

What is gentry, this parchment nobility then, but as Agrippa defines it, “a sanctuary of knavery and naughtiness, a cloak for wickedness and execrable vices, of pride, fraud, contempt, boasting, oppression, dissimulation, lust, gluttony, malice, fornication, adultery, ignorance, impiety?” A nobleman therefore in some likelihood, as he concludes, is an “atheist, an oppressor, an epicure, a gull, a dizzard, an illiterate idiot, an outside, a glowworm, a proud fool, an arrant ass,” Ventris et inguinis mancipium, a slave to his lust and belly, solaque libidine fortis.

It was no epicurean speech of an epicure, he that is not satisfied with a little will never have enough: and very good counsel of him in the poet, “O my son, mediocrity of means agrees best with men; too much is pernicious.

The lascivious dotes on his fair mistress, the glutton on his dishes, which are infinitely varied to please the palate, the epicure on his several pleasures, the superstitious on his idol, and fats himself with future joys, as Turks feed themselves with an imaginary persuasion of a sensual paradise: so several pleasant objects diversely affect diverse men.

Author and Text

Take not his name, who made thy mouth, in vain:
It gets thee nothing, and hath no excuse.
Lust and wine plead a pleasure, avarice gain:
But the cheap swearer through his open sluce
Lets his soul runne for nought, as little fearing.
Were I an Epicure, I could bate swearing.

Author and Text

See a more detailed discussion of the verse above here.

Love’s a Chamelion▪ and would live on aire,
Physick for Agues, starving is his food.
Why? there’s it now! a greater Epicure
Lives not on earth? my Lord and I have been
In’s Privie kitchin, seen his bills of Fare.

And how, and how my Lord?
A mightie Prince,
And full of curiositie—Harts newly slaine
Serv’d up intire, and stucke with little Arrowes
In stead of Cloaves—

Author and Text

Nay, I will venture to go farther, it is being in some degree epicures: for what could the greatest epicure wish rather than to eat with many mouths instead of one?

Author and Text

Every man his price. Well preserved fat corpse, gentleman, epicure, invaluable for fruit garden. A bargain. By carcass of William Wilkinson, auditor and accountant, lately deceased, three pounds thirteen and six. With thanks.

Author and Text

But, on the other side, to think what friends
King Edward hath retained in Netherland,
Among those ever-bibbing Epicures
Those frothy Dutch men, puft with double beer,
That drink and swill in every place they come,
Doth not a little aggravate mine ire;

Author and Text

A few royal epicures, however, there were: epicures intent upon concoctions, admixtures, and masterly compoundings; who comported themselves with all due deliberation and dignity; hurrying themselves into no reckless deglutition of the dainties.

Author and Texts

In the case of a small Sperm Whale the brains are accounted a fine dish. The casket of the skull is broken into with an axe, and the two plump, whitish lobes being withdrawn (precisely resembling two large puddings), they are then mixed with flour, and cooked into a most delectable mess, in flavor somewhat resembling calves’ head, which is quite a dish among some epicures; and every one knows that some young bucks among the epicures, by continually dining upon calves’ brains, by and by get to have a little brains of their own, so as to be able to tell a calf’s head from their own heads; which, indeed, requires uncommon discrimination. And that is the reason why a young buck with an intelligent looking calf’s head before him, is somehow one of the saddest sights you can see. The head looks a sort of reproachfully at him, with an “Et tu Brute!” expression.

Author and Texts

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