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deipnosophism.-Above the rest, let THE BOTTLE, and all that pertains to it, be my proper concern. Here indeed I am great. If Barrow, as being himself a practised traveller, is fitted more than any other of our tribe for discussing the vagaries of the Parrys, the Vauxes, the Basil Halls, the Fanny Wrights, the Edward Daniell Clarkes, and the John Rae Wilsons of our time-Surely I have at least as unquestionable a title for predominating over all that is connected with the circumvolutions of the decanters. It is recorded by Athenæus, that Darius, the great Darius, commanded them to inscribe upon his tombstone these memorable, and even sublime words:
* ΗΔΥΝΑΜΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΟΙΝΟΝ ΠΙΝΕΙΝ ΠΟΛΥΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥΤΟΝ ΦΕΡΕΙΝ ΚΑΛΩΣ :”which signify, being interpreted: "Here lies Darius the King, who drank three bottles every day, and never had a headach in his life." I flatter myself that my epitaph might tell a similar story, without any impeachment of its veracity.
The volume now in my eye, then, belongs in an especial manner to my province. At first, on perceiving it to be a bulky quarto, you may be inclined to hesitate as to this: but when you put on your spectacles, and discover that the title is "The History of Wines, Ancient and Modern,"* your scruples will evanish as easily as do the cobwebs of a Jeffrey beneath the besom of a Tickler. Turn over these
REMARKS ON HENDERSON THE HISTORIAN.
By Sir Morgan ODoherty, Bart.
UNCHANGED amidst the petty mutabilities of rank and station, I still claim it, dear North, as my peculiar privilege, to review, in your work, all books allied in any way whatever to the two great sister sciences of eating and drinking. Blackwood's Magazine is the place, and mine is the pen, imprimis, nar' oxy, and par excellence, consecrated to the discussion of all such delightful themes. Let the Quarterly rejoice in the noble art of boiling down into a portable essence, the diffusive lucubrations of all voyagers by land or sea let old Blue and Yellow keep unpoached the jungles and juggleries of political economy: let The Writer Tam glorify himself in Jem Smith's quaint little ditties, and his brother's quaint little criticisms on the minora moralia of Harley Street, and Gower Street: let the London flourish on the misty dreams of the opiumeater, and lay down the law unquestioned as to the drinking up both of eisel and laudanum sacred to the quackeries of the quack-doctors, be the pungent pages of the Scalpel: let John Bull vibrate his horns ad libitum, among the merciful bowels of Mr Zachariah Macaulay: and let the Examiner be great, as of old, in the region of secondrate players, and fifth-rate painters. Let each man buckle his own belt, according to the adage, and that in his own way: but let me unbuckle mine, and luxuriate in the dear, the dainty, the delicate, paradisaical department of
* The History of Ancient and Modern Wines. London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. 1824.
costly pages, dear sir, and feast your eyes with the delicious vignettes, that ever and anon glance out from between the leaves, like the ruby clusters of Bacchus himself, glowing amidst the foliage of some tall marriageable elm, or stately poplar; pause upon these exquisite gems; contemplate the rosy god in each and all of these five thousand attitudes: worship him where, frantic and furious, he tosses the thyrsus amidst the agitated arms of his congregated Mænades: adore him where, proudly seated upon the rich skins of the monsters whom he subdued, he pours out the foaming cup of wine and wisdom before the eyes of savage men, whom the very scent of the ethereal stuff hath already half civilized: envy him, where beneath the thick shadow of his own glorious plant, he with one hand twines the ivy wreath around the ivory brows of Ariadne, and with the other approximates the dew of divinity to the lips of beauty. Feast, revel, riot in the elegance of these unrivalled cameos, and when you have saturated your eye with forms that might create a thirst beneath the ribs of gout, and draw three corks out of one bottle-then, O Christopher! and not till then, will you be in a fit condition for understanding the profound feelings of respect, and grateful attachment, with which it is now my agreeable duty to introduce to your acquaintance, and that of "my public," the learnedly luxurious Dissertations of my good friend, and jolly little compota tor, Dr Alexander Henderson.
The Doctor is, absque omni dubio, the first historian of our age. in his single person the most admirable qualifications of all the other masters in this great branch of literature, who now lend lustre to the European hemisphere-the extensive erudition of a Ranken-the noble self-reliance and audacious virtue of a Brodie-the elegant style of a Sismondi—and the practical sense of an Egan. In many respects, to be sure, the superiority he displays may be referred to the immense superiority and unapproachable merits of the theme he has chosen. The history of the Cellar of Burgundy is a matter of infinitely more improving nature than that of the House of the same name: a thousand will take profound interest in a dissertation upon the sack and hippocras of the mid
dle ages, for one that will bother his head with the small Italian republics of the same era: We would rather have luminous notions touching the precise nature of the liquor which Sir John Falstaff quaffed, than the secret intrigues which brought Charles the First to the scaffold: and, great as is our respect for Mr Langan, there is still another claret which possesses claims upon our sympathies, far, far above that which has of late flowed so copiously from his potatoe-trap. This work, in a word, is fitted to interest and delight, not one class of students, but all. The classical scholar will here find the best of all commentaries on the most delightful passages of those delightful writers, whom he is accustomed to turn over with a daily and a nightly hand: he will speculate upon the flavour that a Nestor loved, and sit in erudite judgment over the benmost binns of a Nero. The English antiquarian will enjoy the flood of light that streams upon the joyous pages of Ben Jonson verdea will no longer puzzle the Giffords, nor Petersameen be a stumbling-block to the Nareses.* The man of science will analyse the effervescence of Sheeraz: the Physician will hear the masterly defence of Claret against the charge of goutification, and return humanized to the exercises of his calling: the ecclesiastical historian will mourn with Dr Henderson over the injuries done to the Medoc and the Cote d'or by the suppression of the monastic establishments of France: the lover of light reading will find the charms of romance united with the truth and dignity of history: The saint will have no lack of sighing, as he glances his grave eye over the records of human debauchery, and at the same time, he may, in passing, pick up a hint or two that will be of use at the next dinner of the African Association: The conscious wine-merchant will read and tremble and every good fellow, from George the Fourth, down to Michael Angelo the Second, will read and rejoice.
It was in England only, and perhaps in this age of England, that a work of this complete and satisfactory description could have been prepared. We produce no wines, and we are the great consumers of all the best wines of the globe. We are free from the
*The Pedro-Ximenes is the name of the best Malaga grape.
violent prejudices, therefore, which induce the man of the Marne to turn up his nose at the flask of him of the Loire, and vice versa. We look down as from a higher and a calmer region, upon all the noisy controversies about the rival claims of the Lyonnais and the Bordelais, the Mayne and the Rhein-gau. We can do equal justice to the sweets of Malaga, and Rousil lon, and despise the narrow-minded bigotry which sets up either Madeira or Sherry at the expense of the other's ancestral stimulancy.
In former days, indeed, we partook, however absurdly, in the paltry prejudices which we now spurn with our heels. Time was when we were all for the Cyprus-time was also when we were all for the Xeres grapetime was when little or nothing would go down with us but Hockamore-and time was when even Rhedycina's learned bowers resounded to strains not simply laudative of Oporto, but vituperative and vilipensive of Bourdeaux.
We have outlived these follies. We are now completely of the liberal school of winebibbing: our grandsire's dumpy black bottle of sherry leaves the vicinity of the oven, and stands in friendly juxta-position with the long-necker of five year old demi-mousseux, and the doubly-iced juice of Schloss-Johannisberg that has been buried in the cave of caves ever since the great era of The Reformation. The native of the Alto-Douro is contented to precede him of the Ga ronne, as some sturdy pioneer trudges in proud solemnity before the march of a battalion of Voltigeurs. The coupde-milieu of Constantia or Frontignac forms an agreeable link between the Sillery, which has washed down the venison, and the Hock, which is to add pungency to the partridge-pie. We take Chambertin to the omelet, and Sauterne to the tart. In a word, we do justice to the boundless munificence of nature, and see no more harm in imbibing white wine and red wine, dry wine and sweet wine, still wine and sparkling wine, during the same repast, than we would in doing homage within the same fortnight to the ripe luxuries of a Ronzi de Begnis, the airy graces of a Mercandotti, the vigorous charms of a Vestris, and the meek modest radiance of a Maria Tree. This speaks the spirit of the same unfettered age that can love a Virgil as well as worship a Homer; that places the bust of a Dante beside that of a Mil
ton; that binds the laurel on a Hogg→ without robbing the brows of a Hesiod-and thirsts for Lord Byron's autobiography without offering to sacrifice for its purchase, either the veracities of a Rock, or the decencies of a Faublas.
On a work, sir, such as yours, calculated for extensive and popular circulation, it would ill become an individual like myself, to obtrude much matter of a recondite and obscure or der, or adapted to the intellectual taste of particular classes of readers only. Allow me, therefore, to pass lightly over the dissertations with which this volume opens, touching the various vintages of the nations of antiquity. In truth, even the genius and erudi. tion of a Henderson have been able to scatter but an imperfect ray over subjects, mantled, as these are, with the shades of a long night of nearly two thousand years' duration. It is still, we must admit, dubious whether the wine that Telemachus drew out of the cellars of his royal father partook more of the nature of port or of sherry. The Homeric epithet of Black may mean either the deep hue inalienable from the juice of the purple grape, or the fine grave tinge merely which wines that are called white acquire, in consequence of being kept for several lustres, whether in glass bottles, according to the modern custom, or in earthen jars, after the manner of the heroic ages. That Nestor, however, drank, during the battle with which the 13th book of the Iliad opens, wine both of a red and of a strong sort, is indisputable. The epithets of aw and gupos are used together in the same line, and their significancy is clear and obvious to the most German capacity. Dido, again, when she gave her first grand dinner to the Trojan prince, appears to have sported something near akin to champagne.
"IMPIGER hausit SPUMANTEM pateram."
The epithet impiger is admirably chosen, since the act is that of swallowing sparkling, or right mousseux wine
for a spumans patera can hardly be supposed to mean, in the mouth of a writer so chaste as Virgil, anything short of that. He would not have talked of that as foaming, which, in point of fact, merely creamed; and while the rapidity of quaffing a cup of foaming champagne cannot be too great, since