Listen to episode 145 of the Inspirational Living podcast: How to Drink Wine | Carpe Diem & Omar Khayyam. Edited and adapted from Heretics by G.K. Chesterton.
Literary Podcast Excerpt: The sound rule for wine drinking is like many other sound rules — a paradox. Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing villager of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.
For decades the shadow and glory of a great Eastern figure has lain upon our English literature. Fitzgerald's translation of Omar Khayyam has concentrated into immortal poignancy all the dark and drifting hedonism of our time. Of the literary splendor of that work it would be merely banal to speak; in few other books has there been anything so combining the gay pugnacity of an epigram with the vague sadness of a song. But of its philosophical, ethical, and religious influence (which has been almost as great as its brilliancy), I should like to say a word, and that word, I confess, is one of uncompromising hostility.
There are a great many things which might be said against the spirit of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and against its prodigious influence. But one matter of indictment towers ominously above the rest — a genuine disgrace to it, and a genuine calamity to us. This is the terrible blow that this great poetry has struck against sociability and the joy of life.
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