Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Drowned in a Butt of Malmsey.

 Drowned Rat.Drowning Men. 
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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Drowned in a Butt of Malmsey.
 
George, Duke of Clarence, being allowed to choose by what death he would die, chose drowning in malmsey wine (1477). See the continuation of Monstrelet, 196; Fulgosus, ix. 12; Martin du Bellais’s Memoirs (year 1514).   1
   Admitting this legend to be an historic fact, it is not unique: Michael Harslob, of Berlin, wished to meet death in a similar way in 1571, if we may credit the inscription on his tomb:—
       
“In cyatho vini pleno cum musca periret,
Sic, ait Oeneus, sponte perire velim.”
“When in a cup of wine a fly was drowned,
So, said Vinarius, may my days be crowned.”
   2
 


 Drowned Rat.Drowning Men. 

 
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