Just in that farthermost angle, where

You see the remains of a winding-stair,

One turret especially high in air

Uprear’d its tall gaunt form;

As if defying the power of Fate, or

The hand of ‘Time the Innovator;’

And though to the pitiless storm

Its weaker brethren all around

Bowing, in ruin had strew’d the ground,

Alone it stood, while its fellows lay strew’d,

Like a four-bottle man in a company ‘screw’d,’

Not firm on his legs, but by no means subdued.

In this poem, what does bolded strew'd describe? A man or a company?

  • I think my answer below is complete, but this sort of question might be better suited for the Literature Stack Exchange sister site. Interpreting a poem like this is an advanced topic even for native speakers and not something a typical English language learner will encounter.
    – TypeIA
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


You asked about "strew'd" but bolded "screw'd." I assume you're asking about the latter.

"Screw'd" (short for "screwed") describes "a company." In the 1800s, "screwed" was slang for "very drunk." In turn, "company" here means a group of people. A "four-bottle man" is a person who regularly drinks four bottles of liquor (probably wine) and who therefore has a high alcohol tolerance.

A modern (and un-poetic) rough translation of the line might be "like a habitual drinker left standing after the rest of the group passed out drunk."

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