Benjamin Franklin Papers

The Antediluvians Were All Very Sober, 1745

The Antediluvians Were All Very Sober

Draft: American Philosophical Society

[c. 1745]9

The Antediluvians were all very sober

For they had no Wine, and they brew’d no October;1

All wicked, bad Livers, on Mischief still thinking,

For there can’t be good Living where there is not good Drinking.

Derry down.

’Twas honest old Noah first planted the Vine,

And mended his Morals by drinking its Wine;

He justly the drinking of Water decry’d;2

For he knew that all Mankind, by drinking it, dy’d.

Derry down.

From this Piece of History plainly we find

That Water’s good neither for Body or Mind;

That Virtue and Safety in Wine-bibbing’s found

While all that drink Water deserve to be drown’d.

Derry down

So For Safety and Honesty put the Glass round.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9This MS in BF’s autograph was dated “circa 1745” in I. Minis Hays, Calendar of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin (Phila., 1908), III, 435. Van Doren accepted this in Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiographical Writings (N.Y., 1945), p. 48. There is no reason for changing it except, perhaps, that BF has suggested alternative words in pencil, which he used more frequently in his later years. The watermark provides no clue to a date.

1October: ale or cider brewed in October; any good ale.

2Penciled alternatives for the last two lines of the second stanza read:

Thenceforth as unwholesome he Water decry’d;

For he saw that by drinking it Millions had dy’d.

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