Top 10 wine poems

17th July, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

Wine and poetry have long enjoyed a happy relationship, the one often fuelling the other. But while wine has served as a poet’s muse since time immemorial, a number of scribes have gone a step further and penned odes to wine, from English romantic poet Percy B. Shelley rhapsodising about the vine’s “kindling clusters” to Chilean poet Pablo Neruda describing wine as the “starry child of the earth with your feet of purple or topaz blood.”

Persian philosopher, astronomer and poet Omar Khayyam was so taken with the charms of the fermented grape that he dedicates a large number of his verses to the subject, where he extols the virtues of wine as a life force and something that should be enjoyed in order to make the most of our time “before we too into the dust descend.” Read on for our round up of the top ten wine poems. If we’ve missed off any gems, let us know in the comment box below.

One Response to “Top 10 wine poems”

  1. This little-known Song is a relatively early work by John Dryden, dating from 1661: a modestly comic adversion to the perils of drink. Does it deserve a larger reputation?

    Song

    Just Caesar, whom the world obeyed,
    Augustus Great, proud Tiberine
    Could ne’er have drunk, sure ne’er have made
    Kind Bacchus! such an ardent wine.
    Tell Princes, Kings; tell France; tell Spain
    Of Hippocrene
    Nectarine
    Empurpled as Augustus’ train.

    Recalling this alone:
    All men are free to drown their sorrow –
    Not Caesar only – and to sell the morrow
    Cheap. But this once done –
    How costly seems the morning sun!

    Well, while it displays some typically Drydenesque metrical daring, its effects seem, all the same, underpowered; and its reliance on Caesarean imagery, predictable. As an apprentice piece, therefore, it’s bearable; but not much more.

    The only thing to make it stand out is this curious anomaly – spotted by the Sediment research team a while ago: the poem is an acrostic, in which the first letter of every line, read from top to bottom, spells out a name. In this case, JACKTONE RANCH, nowadays associated with a popular Californian wine range. Coincidence? Prescience? How could Dryden have known of Californian wines, three hundred and sixty years ago? And why this particular brand? The mystery remains. As the does the poem itself:

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