Monday, February 28, 2011

Do Not Poison Thyself

From Don Juan Lamberto; or, a Comical History of the Late Times. By Montelion, Knight of the Oracle, in Walter Scott, ed., A Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts, Vol. VII (London: T. Cadell et al., 1812), p. 140:
Neptune seeing his wife so much concern'd, thought it no time to dally; therefore out of the charriot he comes; which, when the gyant Husonio beheld, and saw also by the looks of him that he was plaguy mad, he resolved to take what advantage he could, and therefore squeezing his hypochondrions, he let such a fart as blew out all the torches; then taking his cloak-bag in his right hand, and his club in his left, he put himself into a posture of defence. The fart as it was great, so it was strong, and the scent thereof so much offended the nose of Thetis, that she was not able to endure it; 'O come away Neptune,' quoth she. 'and do not poyson thyself and me too: let my bason and ewer go to the devil, so as I may but get out of this stink I care not.'

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Island of Ruach

François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel IV.43 (tr. J.M. Cohen):
They do not shit, piss, or spit on this island. But, on the other hand, they poop, fart, and belch most copiously. They suffer from all sorts and varieties of diseases. For every malady originates and develops from flatulence, as Hippocrates proves in his book, On Wind. But the worst epidemic they know is the windy colic, as a remedy for which they use large cupping-glasses, and so draw off much wind. They all die of dropsy or tympanites; they all fart as they die, the men loudly, the women soundlessly, and in this way their souls depart by the back passage.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Jeffrey Steingarten, The Man Who Ate Everything (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), p. 231:
Why did they formulate Olestra this way? Because the early, more liquid versions caused gastrointestinal problems. One of these—"anal seepage," or, in my preference, "passive oil loss"—occurs when fully liquid Olestra separates from the food with which it was cooked and slips along the inner walls of people's intestines, bypassing everything else in its way. Drops of Olestra show up on their underwear or floating in their toilets. (The FDA actually abbreviates this as OIT, "oil in toilet.")

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Well Done, Margaret

Dougal Graham, Collected Writings, Vol. II (Glasgow: Thomas D. Morison, 1883), p. 117:
Leper and his master went to a gentleman's house to work, where there was a saucy house-keeper, who had more ignorance and pride, than good sense and manners; she domineered over her fellow-servants in a tyrannical manner; Leper resolved to mortify her pride; so he finds an ant's nest, and takes their white eggs, grinds them to a powder, and puts them into the dish her supper-sowens was to be put in. After she had taken her supper, as she was covering the table, the imock-powder began to operate, and she let a great fart, well done Margaret, says the laird, she runs away for shame, but before she turned herself round, she gives another raird. My faith, says the Laird, Margaret, your arse would take a cautioner; before she got out of the chamber-door, she lets fly another crack; then she goes to order her fellow-servant to give the laird his supper, but before she could give the necessary directions, she gave fire again, which set them all a laughing; she runs into a room by herself, and there she played away her one gun battery so fast, as she had been sieging the Havannah. The laird and lady came to hear the fun, they were like to split their sides at proud Maggy, so next morning she left the place, to the great joy of her fellow servants.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On a Fart

Matthew Prior, On a Fart, Let in the House of Commons:
Reader I was born, and cry'd;
I crack'd, I smelt, and so I dy'd.
Like Julius Caesar's was My death,
Who in the senate lost his breath.
Much alike entomb'd does lie
The noble Romulus and I;
And when I dy'd, like Flora fair,
I left the Common-Wealth my heir.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not I

The Sack Full of Newes. An Old Jest-Book, ed. J.O. Halliwell (London: For the Editor, 1861), pp. 38-39:
There was a Lady dwelt in the Countrey which had a foole that did use to go with her to church: and on a time as his lady sat in the church she let a great fart escape so that all the people heard it, and they looked on the foole that stood by her, thinking that it was he: Which when the fool perceived, he said truely it was not I that let the fart, it was my Lady. Whereat she was ashamed, and went out of the church, and chid the foole because he said it was not himselfe. Then the foole ran into the church againe and said aloud, masters, the fart which my Lady let I will take it upon me for she commanded me to say so. Whereat all the people laughed more then they did before, and the Lady was much more ashamed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Lord Chesterfield, letter to his son (November 12, O.S. 1750):
I must add another caution, which is, that upon no account whatever you put your fingers, as too many people are apt to do, in your nose or ears. It is the most shocking, nasty, vulgar rudeness that can be offered to company; it disgusts one, it turns one's stomach; and, for my own part, I would much rather know that a man's finger were actually in his breech, than see them in his nose. Wash your ears well every morning, and blow your nose in your handkerchief whenever you have occasion: but, by the way, without looking at it afterwards.