“Let me pour in some sack to the Thames water; for my belly’s as cold as if I had swallowed snowballs for pills to cool the reins.”
(Merry Wives of Windsor, act 3, sc. 5)
Comments. The cold season is on us – at least those of us in the Northern hemisphere. And the corporate media has begun to hit us with the usual relentless barrage of advertisements of countless pills, syrups and sundry medicaments – let alone deadly vaccinations. At such times, it may behoove us to remember traditional remedies that have stood the test of time by a factor of centuries – such as some zesty and blood warming brandy. Without forgetting the observation of the benign country parson, “A bit of spirit never fails to lift my spirits.”
In the instance Falstaff adds brandy to water, a dilution not in character with the character. It may have been a poetic license or a reminder that even the strongest brandy cannot eschew water. Hopefully the Thames may not have been as polluted in the 14th and 15th century as it is now.
The ‘reins’ that feel cold in the quote are the kidneys.
Tips for Use. Term of comparison to indicate your degree of being or feeling cold.
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In the Play. After narrowly surviving an escape in a basket of dirty laundry, Falstaff comforts himself with a draught of brandy.
Image source: http://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/a/gruetzner-eduard/falstaff-with-a-pewter-ta.html