Today's post is the third and final instalment of Graham E's contribution on farting. Thanks Mr E, for sharing your
farts comments on farts with us . . .
(Additional comments and pics from moi)
Author John Aubrey's Brief Lives recounts of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford that: "The Earle of Oxford, making his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 yeares. Upon his return home, the Queen greeted him, reportedly saying "My Lord, I had forgot the Fart."
Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Miller's Tale and The Summoner's Tale both contain incidents of flatulence humour.
From The Miller’s Tale and a translation:
This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart,
As greet as it had been a thonder-dent,
That with the strook he was almoost yblent;
And he was redy with his iren hoot,
And Nicholas amydde the ers he smoot,
Of gooth the skyn an hande brede aboute,
The hoote kultour brende so his toute,
And for the smert he wende for to dye.
As he were wood, for wo he gan to crye,
"Help! Water! Water! Help for Goddes herte!"
This Nicholas just then let fly a fart
As loud as it had been a thunder-clap,
And well-nigh blinded Absalom, poor chap;
But he was ready with his iron hot
And Nicholas right in the arse he got.
Off went the skin a hand's-breadth broad, about,
The coulter burned his bottom so, throughout,
That for the pain he thought that he should die.
And like one mad he started in to cry,
"Help! Water! Water! For God's dear heart!"
The plays of William Shakespeare include several humorous references to flatulence, including the following from Othello:
CLOWN: Are these, I pray you, wind instruments?
FIRST MUSICIAN: Ay marry are they, sir.
CLOWN: O, thereby hangs a tail.
FIRST MUSICIAN: Whereby hangs a tail, sir?
CLOWN: Marry, sir, by many a wind instrument that I know.
Benjamin Franklin wrote an open letter "To the Royal Academy of Farting", in which he satirically proposes that converting farts into a more agreeable form through science should be a milestone goal of the Royal Academy.
Franklin’s letter was a rebuke to academic societies that he believed were pretentious and impractical. Declaring that flatulence released offensive gases, he suggested that the scientists carry out research into improving the odour of human farts, even creating a drug that can be mixed with food and sauces so as to make the smell of flatulence "not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes". The essay ends with a pun saying that compared to the practical applications of this discussion, other sciences are "scarcely worth a FART-HING."
The letter was never submitted. Franklin had it printed and distributed it to his friends, including Joseph Priestly, a chemist famous for his work on gases.
In the first chapter of Moby Dick, the narrator states “I always go to sea as a sailor, because of the wholesome exercise and pure air of the fore-castle deck. For as in this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim)”.
By “the Pythagorean maxim” Melville means the forbidding of eating beans, which was believed in antiquity to have been one of the rules of the Pythagorean cult.
Plato then asserts that we should bring our bodies into such a disposition before we go to sleep as to leave nothing which may occasion error or perturbation in our dreams. For this reason, perhaps, Pythagoras laid it down as a rule, that his disciples should not eat beans, because this food is very flatulent, and contrary to that tranquillity of mind which a truth-seeking spirit should possess.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (44 BCE). On Divination 1.30. Translated by C. D. Yonge (1853).
The passage from Moby Dick is thus a fart joke: if you “violate the Pythagorean maxim” (eat beans) then you will find that “winds from astern” (farts) become prevalent.
He-Gassen, also known as Houhi-Gassen ("Farting competitions") is a Japanese art scroll, created during the Edo period (1603–1868) by an unknown artist or several unknown artists. It depicts various scenes with one peculiar characteristic reoccurring throughout the scroll: at least one character is having a bout of flatulence directed against the other characters.
. . . and finally we must make mention of the million and one excuses that have been offered over time to pass the blame for passing the gas!
He who observed it, served it.
He who detected it, ejected it.
He who said the rhyme, did the crime.
Whoever spoke last, made the blast.
Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
Whoever denied it, supplied it.
The person who speaks, is the person who reeks.
The smeller's the feller.
He who inculpated, promulgated.
The one who said the verse made the atmosphere worse.
Whoever's poking fun is the smoking gun
He who accuses, blew the fuses.
He who refuted it, tooted it.
He who pointed the finger, pulled the finger.
He who articulated it, particulated it.
He who deduced it, produced it.
He who is a smart-ass, has a fart-ass
He who sniffed it, biffed it.
The slanderer made the gland error.
He who eulogised it, aerosolized it.
Whoever made the joke, made the arse smoke.
He who rapped it, crapped it.
Whoever rebuts, it cuts it.
Whoever spoke it, broke it.
Whoever started, farted.
Whoever explained it, ordained it.
Whoever described it, applied it.
Thanks for all the farting, Graham, but you missed the best one, that in England the word “trump” means “fart”, used either as a verb or a noun. My ex-inlaws (who came from Manchester) used the term.
From A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities by Mark Morton:
Over the centuries, fart has not been without linguistic rivals. Since the early fifteenth century, for example, trump has served as a synonym for fart, or rather to denote an especially noisy fart.
It also brings a smile to the faces of the Poms in church when they hear 1 Corinthians 15:52 read out:
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
The name “Ivana Trump” has the same effect.
2 final items about historical and deadly farts, from flatulence expert Jim Dawson, author of the books Who Cut the Cheese?, Blame It on the Dog and, most recently, Did Somebody Step on a Duck?:
In 569 B.C., according to Greek historian Herodotus, a single fart sparked a revolt against King Apries of Egypt. Apries sent one of his generals, Amasis, to quash a rebellion among his troops but instead the rebels crowned Amasis the new king. Apries sent over another emissary, a popular advisor named Patarbemis. According to Herodotus, Amasis let one go and told Patarbemis to "carry that back to Apries" who responded by ordering the nose and ears lopped off his messenger. News of this brutality swayed Egyptians against their king, who was eventually torn apart by a mob, and insured the official reign of Amasis from 569 to 525 B.C.
A fart in Jerusalem in 44 A.D. led to the deaths of 10,000 people. Historian Josephus described that an anti-Semitic Roman soldier, in front of a crowd of Jews celebrating Passover, "pulled back his garment, and cowering down after an indecent manner, turned his breech to the Jews, and spake such words as you might expect upon such a posture." This angered the Jews, who began stoning the soldiers, the Roman leader of Jerusalem responded and a riot ensued. Most of the dead were Jews killed as they trampled each other trying to escape the Temple, where they crowded when the Roman Army arrived.
"This was the granddaddy of all fart destruction," Dawson says. "As far as a direct result of a fart, you can't get bigger than this."