Latest Issue

The way we were: Great British sybarites

Four extracts from letters, memoir and diaries on the powers of drink

By Ian Irvine   December 2010

Johnny Depp as bon vivant Lord Rochester

Lord Rochester writes to his friend, Henry Savile, 22nd June 1674

Oh! That second bottle, Harry, is the sincerest, wisest and most impartial, downright friend we have; tells us truth of ourselves, and forces us to speak truth of others; banishes flattery from our tongues, and distrust from our hearts; sets us above the mean policy of court prudence, which makes us lie to one another all day, for fear of being betrayed by each other at night. And I believe, the errantest villain breathing is honest as long as the bottle lives…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect