You'll remember Keat's lines:
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific
So, that Cortés chap: was he dependable, or was he just fat?
Well here he is, wearing that old reliable breastplate-and-miniskirt outfit:
and it's obvious that the man, far from being fat, was practically a wasp.
So stout Cortés wasn't fat, then, or even substantial. No, he must have been (in Keats' eyes, at least) a resolute, robust sort of a man, never daunted, never failing to turn up for meetings, and always to be relied upon to put out the bins and have stern words with anyone allowing their dog to foul the pavement.
So, should we model ourselves on Cortés?
Well, I'm all us for being nice to one another - so that would be a no, then.
But a bit of stoutness might not go amiss, all the same.
Thing To Do Today: be stout. This word comes from the Old French estout, bold, and is related to the Middle High German stolz, proud, and Middle Dutch stolt, brave.
PS for St Patrick's day: Guinness is a sort of stout, which is a dark beer made using roasted malt or barley, hops, water and yeast.
It's strong stuff, hence its name.