Poems of Meng Jiao
Wine is the ancients' bright mirror
And it exposes the scoundrel's heart.
The drunk see in a different manner.
The drunk hear different sounds.
Wine's merits go beyond these.
Wine subdues and makes profound.
The guilty try to blame the drink.
Let this poem be their admonishment.
The "bright mirror" is that which leads to the realization of the truth. Lakes and other shiny things are used as metaphors for this in Tang poetry. While 酒 is usually translated as "wine," it is actually "liqueur." Until the monopolies clamped down on it through their lawmakers, liqueur production was common in France. Stills on the back of trucks drove around the countryside, converting the last of the fruit into a myriad of heady drinks. The Chinese raised this to a highly refined tradition and the varieties of "wine" were mind-boggling, even before you drank them. And they ran the spectrum from mildly intoxicating to near blindness-inducing.