Wine, women and song  

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Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray  Wine, women and song is part of the human sexuality portal
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Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray
Wine, women and song is part of the human sexuality portal

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The cliché "wine, women, and song" is a rhetorical figure of a triad or hendiatris. Similar tripartite mottoes have existed for a long time in many languages, for example:

  • Bengali/Hindi/Sanskrit - "Sur, Sura, Sundari" (music, wine and woman)
  • Czech - "Víno, ženy a zpěv" (wine, women and song)
  • Danish - "Vin, kvinder og sang" (wine, women and song)
  • Finnish - "Viini, laulu ja naiset" (wine, song, and women)
  • German - "Wein, Weib und Gesang" (wine, woman and singing)
  • Italian - "Bacco, tabacco e Venere" (Bacchus, tobacco and Venus)
  • Urdu - "Kabab, Sharab aur Shabab" (meat, wine and women/beauty)
  • Norwegian - "Piker, vin og sang" (women, wine and song)
  • Polish - "Wino, kobiety i śpiew" (wine, women and song)
  • Swedish - "Vin, kvinnor och sång" (wine, women and song)
  • Spain - "Naipes, Mujeres y Vino, Mal Camino" (cards, women and wine, bad ways)

"Sex, drugs and rock and roll" is a modern variation of it. The terms correspond to wine, women and song with edgier and updated vices. The term was popularised by the hippies, and composed by Ian Dury in his 1977 song of the same name.

"Rum, bum, and concertina" is a British naval equivalent.

Not all hendiatris including women are positive: in Greek - "Πύρ, γυνή και θάλαττα" ("fire, women and the sea") instead suggest three dangers rather than pleasures, and Turkish At, Avrat, Silah ("horse, woman, weapon") offers the three essentials of quite another culture.

The following "tetrad" (using four concepts rather than three) predates all of the above:

  • Persian "دویار زیرک و از باده کهن دو منی فراغتی و کتابی و گوشه چمنی" a popular rubaiyyat (quatrain) by Omar Khayyám (1048-1131):
"Two sweethearts,
Two flasks of old wine,
A book of verse
And a cosy corner in the garden."
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Quatrain xii.

The phrase may have also originated with the following couplet:

The waltz "Wine, Women and Song" (Wein, Weib und Gesang) is Op. 333 (1869) of Johann Strauss II.

The lines Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue/Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang (German women, German loyalty/German wine, and German song) are found in the (never sung) second verse of Das Lied der Deutschen, the third verse of which is the German national anthem.

The British poet and mystic Aleister Crowley, in his work "Energized Enthusiasm," suggests that "wine, women, and song" may be utilised towards the development of genius in the individual or the attainment of mystical states.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wine, women and song" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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