XXXIV. (139) Therefore, concerning that most ancient and sacred husbandry, which the Cause of all things uses with reference to the world, that most productive of trees, and concerning that other kind in imitation of it which the virtuous man studies, and concerning the ordinary quaternion of prizes, and the laws and precepts which all tend to the same point, we have now spoken to the best of our power. (140) Let us now consider the vine-planting of the just Noah which is a species of husbandry. For it is said that “Noah began to be a husbandman of the earth, and he planted a vineyard, and drank of the wine, and got Drunk.”{31}{#ge 9:20.} Therefore, the wise man here cultivates with skill and science the tree of drunkenness, though fools enter upon its management in an unartistic and negligent manner, (141) so that it is necessary for us now to speak in a fitting manner about drunkenness; for we shall presently know the power also of that tree which gives rise to it. Afterwards, we will examine with accuracy what has been said by the lawgiver concerning drunkenness, but at present we will examine what determination others have come to on this subject.

XXXV. (142) Now, among many philosophers, this question has been investigated with no slight degree of pains, and the question is proposed in this manner, whether the wise man will get drunk? Therefore, to get drunk is a matter of a twofold nature, one part of it being equivalent to being overcome with wine; the other, to behaving foolishly in one’s cups. (143) But of those who have dealt with this proposition, some have said that the wise man never takes too much unmixed wine, and never behaves foolishly; for that the one is an error, and that the other is an efficient cause of error, and that both the one and the other is inconsistent with good conduct. (144) Others again have asserted, that to be overcome with wine is appropriate even to a virtuous man, but that to behave foolishly is inconsistent with his character. For that the wisdom which is in him is sufficient to resist those things which attempt to do him injury, and to destroy the innovations which they seek to produce in the soul, and that wisdom is endued with a power capable of extinguishing the passions, whether they be fanned by the impetuous gale of furious love, or kindled by abundant and heating wine, and that owing to this power it will always be superior to them. Since also of those who dive beneath a deep river or under the sea, some are destroyed from being ignorant of the art of swimming, but others who are possessed of this knowledge are very speedily saved; and, indeed, a great quantity of wine, inundating the soul like a torrent, sometimes weighs it down and precipitates it to the lowest depth of ignorance, but at other times is unable to part it, because it is supported and borne aloft by saving instruction. (145) Those again who have not sufficiently observed the greatness of this excess with respect to passion in the wise man, have pressed him down, when he was applying himself to the study of sublime things, from heaven to earth, as those men do who are seeking to catch birds, in order to involve him in disasters similar to their own; but others, seeing the great height of his virtue, have said that a wise man, if he indulges in wine beyond the bounds of moderation, will by all means cease to be master of himself, and will go astray, and will not only let his hands droop out of weakness, like those athletes do who are defeated, but will also droop his neck and his head, and stumble, and fall down, coming to the ground with his whole body.