Wednesday 7 October 1663

They wrought in the morning, and I did keep my bed, and my pain continued on me mightily that I kept within all day in great pain, and could break no wind nor have any stool after my physic had done working. So in the evening I took coach and to Mr. Holliard’s, but he was not at home, and so home again, and whether the coach did me good or no I know not … So to bed and lay in good ease all night, and … pretty well to the morning ….

  • Pepys’s prescription for the colic:
    Balsom of Sulphur, 3 or 4 drops in a spoonfull of Syrrup of Colts foote, not eating or drinking two hours before or after.
    The making of this Balsom:
    2/3ds of fine Oyle, and 1/3d of fine Brimstone, sett 13 or 14 houres upon yt fire, simpring till a thicke Stufte lyes at ye Bottome, and ye Balsom at ye topp. Take this off &c.
    Sir Rob. Parkhurst for ye Collique.
    —M. B.

16 Annotations

TerryF   Link to this

"And whether the coach did me good or no I know not, but having a good fire in my chamber, I begun to break six or seven small and great farts;" - so transcribe L&M, who also say there is more to come..

The Wheatley ellipsis recalls literary antecedents and parallels

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatulence

·In Dante's *Divine Comedy*, the last line of Inferno Chapter XXI reads: ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta ("and he made a trumpet of his ass"), in the last example the use of this natural body function underlined a demoniac condition.

·In Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" (one of the *Canterbury Tales*), the character Nicholas hangs his buttocks out of a window and farts in the face of his rival Absolom. Absolom then sears Nicholas's bum with a red-hot poker ("Nicholas quickly raised the window and thrust his ass far out...At this Nicholas let fly a fart with a noise as great as a clap of thunder, so that Absolom was almost overcome by the force of it. But he was ready with his hot iron and smote Nicholas in the middle of his ass."). (Lines 690–707)

·In the translated version of Penguin's *1001 Arabian Nights Tales*, a story entitled "The Historic Fart" tells of a man that flees his country from the sheer embarrassment of farting at his wedding.

·Friedrich Dedekind's 16th century work, *Grobianus et Grobiana*, appeared in England in 1605 as *The Schoole of Slovenrie: Or, Cato turnd wrong side outward*, published by one "R.F.". The "Schoole" taught its students that holding back the desire to urinate, fart, and vomit was bad for one's health; thus, one has to indulge freely in all three activities.

· François Rabelais' tales of Gargantua and Pantagruel are laden with acts of flatulence. In Chapter XXVII of the second book, the giant, Pantagruel, releases a fart that "made the earth shake for twenty-nine miles around, and the foul air he blew out created more than fifty-three thousand tiny men, dwarves and creatures of weird shapes, and then he emitted a fat wet fart that turned into just as many tiny stooping women."[17]

· Montaigne, in his essay "Of the Force of Imagination", includes a discussion of flatulence. Of "the vessels that serve to discharge the belly", he writes "I myself knew one so rude and ungoverned, as for forty years together made his master vent with one continued and unintermitted outbursting, and 'tis like will do so till he die of it"[18].

· In Mark Twain's *1601*, properly named *[ Date: 1601.] Conversation, as it was the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors*, a cupbearer at Court who's a Diarist reports:

In ye heat of ye talk it befel yt one did breake wind, yielding an exceding mightie and distresfull stink, whereat all did laugh full sore.

The Queen inquires as to the source, and receives various replies. Lady Alice says

"Good your grace, an' I had room for such a thundergust within mine ancient bowels, 'tis not in reason I coulde discharge ye same and live to thank God for yt He did choose handmaid so humble whereby to shew his power. Nay, 'tis not I yt have broughte forth this rich o'ermastering fog, this fragrant gloom, so pray you seeke ye further."[19].

TerryF   Link to this

The Diarist/narrator in Mark Twain's *1601*

The Diarist in *1601* (pub. anonymously in 1880) is modeled on Samuel Pepys, whose Diary "Mark Twain" read. The version of the Diary that Samuel Clemens read was likely the spanking "new transcription of Pepys’ shorthand" by "the Rev. Mynors Bright, a senior Fellow of Magdalene college, Cambridge...published in six volumes between 1875 and 1879. Around four-fifths of the text were included along with Braybrooke’s introductory biography of Pepys from 1828, his same footnotes and the same selection of letters" as previous editions.) http://www.pepysdiary.com/about/text/
So, although he did not have the benefit of a text sprinkled with the common word for afflatus, there IS much talk of "breaking wind," and if anyone could read between the lines, HE could!

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"the historic fart"
Then he returned to his town many years later at night,thinking that after so many years they had forgotten about the farting episode, and overheard a conversation that went: Mummy tell me when was I born so I can know my horoscope?
Oh daughter you were born in the same year that so and so farted.

JWB   Link to this

Balsom

Boiling sulfur w/ the long chain aliphatic molecules of neet's foot oil will "vulcanize" them. The sulfur forming cross links. A kind of "horse rubber" will precipitate leaving shorter molecules liquid, which would serve as an emollient laxative. I wouldn't watch this pot boil, Rx for lipoid pneumonia.

JWB   Link to this

"Neet's foot oil" above annotation shoud be "syrrup of colts foot".

TerryF   Link to this

L&M continue after the "small and great farts;"

"and so to bed and lay in good ease all night, and pissed pretty well in the morning, but no more wind came as it used to to plentifully, after it once begun, nor any inclination to stool."

Bradford   Link to this

Might he be empty?
Somebody reassure us that "Coltes foot" is the name of an herb.

TerryF   Link to this

"COLT'S-FOOT, the popular name of a small herb, Tussilago Farfara, a member of the natural order Compositae, which is common in Britain in damp, heavy soils. It has a stout branching underground stem, which sends up in March and April scapes about 6 in. high, each bearing a head of bright yellow flowers, the male in the centre surrounded by a much larger number of female. The flowers are succeeded by the fruits, which bear a soft snow-white woolly pappus. The leaves, which appear later, are broadly cordate with an angular or lobed outline, and are covered on the under-face with a dense white felt. The botanical name, Tussilago, recalls its use as a medicine for cough (tussis). The leaves are smoked in cases of asthma."
http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Colt's-foot

Robert Gertz   Link to this


"And whether the coach did me good or no I know not, but having a good fire in my chamber, I begun to break six or seven small and great farts;"

Tell us Bess was spared the uh, pleasure of your company tonight, Sam.

Though loving trooper that she is...

***
London Tales...

A pity Sam and Hollier couldn't have spent a night telling mutual tales of their lives in the City with Sam recording them.

(The printing press is the future...)

Patricia   Link to this

Pity he doesn't mention belching: "Better to let it out and bear the shame than hold it in and bear the pain." Yes, but does the belcher have to let it out so LOUD? And recite the ABCs while expelling it?
It's nice to know farting was funny in olden times, too.

Australian Susan   Link to this

One of my favourite stories concerning Queen Elizabeth:
A courtier whilst bending over the Royal hand to kiss it, had the misfortune to explosively break wind. So embarrased was he that he stayed away from Court for two years. When he next appeared and again bent over the Royal hand to administer the kiss of homage, the Queen smiled and remarked (in loud clear voice) "Ah, Sir John! We have forgot the fart!"

dirk   Link to this

Colts foote

Coltsfoot in Culpeper's herbal (contemporary source):
http://www.bibliomania.com/2/1/66/113/21000/1.html

Pedro   Link to this

Colt’s-foot (Tussilago farfara)

Summary from a more modern survey Flora Britannica (1996) by Richard Mabey…

Local British names include Son-before-father, Disherlagie, Dishylaggie, Tushylucky, Tushies, Baccy plant, Coughwort and Cleats.

One of the earliest spring flowers, its cheerful, yellow blooms and scaly stems often appearing in February, a month or two before the leaves, hence Son –before-father. The plant’s whole story is told by its common names. Colt’s-foot itself describes the hoof-like shape of the leaves, which are mealy above when they first appear and covered with white felt beneath. The Scottish Tushylucky and its variants are corruptions of the Latin name tussilago (a name used by Pliny, related to tussis, a cough) which records the use of the leaves as a cough medicine.

(Some reader contributions to the survey)…

“Used as a tobacco substitute as the leaves certainly smoulder well, and hence known in Somerset as the Baccy plant.”

“I have vivid memories of an itinerant farmworker who used to appear across country to gather the leaves of the coltsfoot which was prolific in just one triangle of our 20 acre orchard, presumably for selling as herbal tobacco.”

“I remember eating coltsfoot rock in the wartime because it came from the chemist and counted as a cough sweet and was therefore not on ration”.

Pedro   Link to this

Correction…

In the above “Some reader contributions to the survey” should read “Some contributions to the survey.”

Bradford   Link to this

Tussilago Farfara! Why, I think I went there on a student exchange program! Thanks all for the happy confirmation: ask, and ye shall receive. There's nothing like a good dose of Brimstone.

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