Thursday, December 13, 2012


It is not the Christmas Season officially until we ponder Mr Belloc's thoughts on burgundy wine.  That, and his delightful "Noel", which we reproduced about this time last year, remind us that a good, old bit of Christmas celebrating, and not a little decidely wicked humor, comes naturally to the Catholic heart at this time of year.

As Charles Lamb wrote to Bernard Barton, "Old Christmas is a-coming to the confusion of Puritans, Muggletonians, Anabaptists, Quakers, and that unwassailing Crew.  He cometh not with his wonted gait; he is shrunk nine inches in his girth, but is yet a lusty fellow".  Words well worth remembering for those who live in formerly Catholic or non-Catholic countries.  Belloc was disgusted with those who also disgusted Mr Lamb, the Puritans, et al who had a horror of any kind of joyous celebrating of the coming of the Christ Child.  This disgust brought out the playful nature in this great man.

So here it is, for your pleasure: Mr Belloc on burgundy wine.

On the Excellence of Burgundy Wine

My jolly fat host with your face all a-grin,
Come, open the door to us, let us come in.
A score of stout fellows who think it no sin
If they toast till they're hoarse, and they drink till they spin,
     Hoofed it anain,
     Rain or no rain,
To crack your old jokes, and your bottles to drain.

Such a warmth in the belly that nectar begets
As soon as his guts with its humour he wets,
The miser his gold, and the student his debts,
And the beggar his rags and his hunger forgets.
     For there's never a wine
     Like this tipple of thine
From the great hill of Nuits to the River of Rhine

Outside you may hear the great gusts as they go
By Foy, by Duerne, and the hills of Lerraulx,
But the rain he may rain, and the wind he may blow,
If the Devil's above there's good liquor below.
     So it abound,
     Pass it around, 
Burgundy's Burgundy all the year round.

                               Hilaire Belloc (from Sonnets and Verse)

I love this man all year round.  But I love him most at Christmastide.

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