Ein beinahe fataler Traubengenuß im Jahre 1608

THere hapned unto me a certaine disaster about the middest of my journey betwixt Franckendall and Wormes, the like whereof I did not sustaine in my whole journey out of England. Which was this. I stept aside into a vineyard in the open field that was but a litle distant from the high waie, to the end to taste of their grapes wherewith I might something asswage my thirst: hoping that I might as freely have done it there, as I did often times before in many places of Lombardie without any controulement. There I pulled two little clusters of them, and so returned into my way againe travelling securely and jovially towards Wormes, whose lofty Towers I saw neere at hand. But there came a German Boore upon me with a halbert in his hand, & in a great fury pulled off very violently my hat from my head (as I have expressed in the frontispice of my booke) looked very fiercely upon me with eyes sparkling fire in a manner, and with his Almanne wordes which I understood not, swaggered most insolently with me, holding up his halbert in that threatning manner at me, that I continually expected a blow, and was in deadly feare lest he would have made me a prey for the wormes before I should ever put my foote in the gallant City of Wormes. For it was in vaine for me to make any violent resistance, because I had no more weapon then a weake staffe, that I brought with me out of Italy. Although I understood not his speeches, yet I gathered by his angry gestures that the onely cause of his quarrel was for that he saw me come forth of a vineyard (which belike was his maisters) with a bunch of grapes in my hand. All this while that he threatned me with these menacing termes I stood before him almost as mute as a Seriphian frogge, or an Acanthian grashopper, scarce opening my mouth once unto him, because I thought that as I did not understand him, so likewise on the other side he did not understand me. At length with my tongue I began to reencounter him, tooke heart a grace, and so discharged a whole volley of Greeke and Latin shot upon him, supposing that it would bee an occasion to pacifie him somewhat if he did but onely thereby conceive that I had a little learning. But the implacable Clowne was so farre from being mitigated with my strange Rhetoricke, that he was rather much the more exasperated against me. In the end after many bickerings had passed Friends in betwixt US, three or foure good fellowes that came from Wormes, glaunced by, and inquired of me what the quarrell was. I being not able to speake Dutch asked them whether any of the company could speake Latin. Then immediately one replyed unto me that he could. Whereupon I discovered unto him the whole circumstance of the matter, and desired him to appease the rage of that inexorable and unpleasant peasant, that he might restore my hat againe to me. Then he like a very sociable companion interposed himselfe betwixt us as a mediator. But first he told me that I had committed a penal trespasse in presuming to gather grapes in a vineyard without leave, affirming that the Germanes are so exceeding sparing of their grapes, that they are wont to fine any of their owne countreymen that they catch in their vineyards without leave, either with purse or body; much more a stranger. Notwithstanding he promised to do his endevour to get my hat againe, because this should be a warning for me, and for that he conceived that opinion of me that I was a good fellow. And so at last with much adoe this controversie was compounded betwixt the clowne and my selfe, my hat being restored unto me for a small price of redemption, which was twelve of their little coynes called fennies, which countervaile twenty pence of our English money. But I would counsel thee gentle reader whatsoever that meanest to travell into Germany, to beware by my example of going into any of their vineyardes without leave. For if thou shalt happen to be apprehended in ipso fecto (as I was) by some rustical and barbarous Corydon of the country, thou mayest perhaps pay a farre deerer price for thy grapes then I did, even thy dearest blood.

(aus: Coryat`s Crudities, hastily gobled up in five moneths travells in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia commonly called the Grisons country, Helvetia alias Switzerland, some parts of high Germany and the Netherlands; newly digested in the hungry aire of Odcombe in the county of Somerset, and now dispersed to the nourishment of the travelling members of this kingdome)


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