The Bagatelles From Passy
The private miniatures printed in English and French on his own press and written for his lady friends in Paris while he was America's first ambassador. Translated by Willard Trask, notes by Claude-Anne Lopez.
"A book that is perfect in every way, an admirable tribute to one of the finest and wisest of our writers."
–Monroe Wheeler, The Museum of Modern Art
In vino veritas, says the wise man,–Truth is in wine. He made wine to gladden the heart of man; do not, therefore when at table you see your neighbor pour wine into his glass, be eager to mingle water with it. Why would you drown truth?...
P.S. To confirm still more your piety and gratitude to Divine Providence, reflect upon the situation which it has given to the elbow. Man, who was destined to drink wine, must be able to raise the glass to his mouth. If the elbow had been placed nearer the hand (as in Figure 3), the part in advance would have been too short to bring the glass up to the mouth; and if it had been placed nearer the shoulder (as in Figure 4), that part would have been so long that it would have carried the wine far beyond the mouth. But by the actual situation (represented in Figure 5), we are enabled to drink at our ease, the glass going exactly to the mouth. Let us, then, with glass in hand, adore this benevolent wisdom;–let us adore and drink!
–from the Bagatelle "On Wine" by Benjamin Franklin