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Burgundy or Lafitte. Poor Polyphemus! no wonder his head could not stand a dose of the wine with which he was plied by Ulysses. *
Egrappé. Dat Polyphemus affair was ver shallow ting—von maladroit-ver clumsy, he lose his eye like von Tom Fou, I tink.
Professor. I judge of the goods by the mode of manufacture, as I cannot get a sample of them. The sweet wines of the ancients were in every way equal to our own, for they were made of ripe grapes, dried somewhat after gathering. The mode of treating them was simple, and the saccharine principle was powerful enough to make them keep a long time in a wholesome state. The dry wines of the ancients, as well as of the moderns, were not so easily qualified with a power of endurance. To prevent acidity, recourse was had to all sorts of abominable mixtures. That they soon made those sick who took them in any quantity, is evident. Augustus could go no further than a pint with impunity.
Doctor. Infidelity is inundating the land ; infidelity in every thing besides religion. We are now-a-days to believe only what we can carry home to a blind conviction. We are only allowed to swear to what we behold. Is Homer not to be credited ? Is Virgil heterodox? Is Horace a writer of falsehoods or exaggerations ? Shame to the children of our fathers !
Professor. You would swear by the poets, Doctor, those flighty gentry, who never embellish their works by metaphor, hyperbole, synecdoche,- who never colour, exaggerate, turn, twist, invert, invent, perplex, ravel, unravel, unite, disjoin,-in short, poetize just as suits their fancy. I won't swear by a poet-no, not by Homer of the Greeks, nor Virgil of the Romans. They do not want me to swallow for truth all their beautiful imaginings.
Doctor. Really, Professor, you provoke me; you will not listen to reason, to well-founded deductions from immortal authorities in matters of vinography.
Professor. Reason, Doctor, about spoiling wine and sea-water, both good in their own way. Why, we shall soon have the sickly-looking imps of fashion at Long's calling for a glass of hock and Brighton beach ; port and St. George's Channel; sherry and the Nore. Soon the cry at the Clubs will be for claret and the gulf stream, or Madeira and the ocean half-and-half. How will this agree with the apprehension of cholera ?
Doctor. It was only to make their wines endurable that these things were mingled in small quantities with the wines of the ancients.
Egrappé. I do tink dat make de vine not endurable at all, Sare. Why champaign and salt vater vould turn my gizzard.
Professor. Stomach, M. Egrappé.
Egrappé. Mine's estomac den-O de bouquet, de aroma, all vould be gone away vid dis drink of de fishes all de vine vould be plat and event. De water of de vale fish-de vater of de street what run! Sacré.
Doctor. I am not to be moved by ridicule, gentlemen. Neme
* Dropt his huge head, and snoring lay supine.-Od.
turican pitch, cleansed and boiled in salt water, might not be so prejudicial in keeping wine sound and improving its flavour.
Professor. But you will allow the purity of the wine must have been destroyed when the variety of condiments in a sea pie was nothing to that in the Roman product.
Doctor. Not at all, the wine was there still, Sir.
Egrappé. May be, I do not vant to know what is of taste so outré. I should die to trink de vine Massic, and Alban, Maronean, and Coan. I should die, and my epitaph should written be by you, Doctare
“ Here a wine critic inhumed do I lie,
Choked dead with the wine of antiquity." Professor. Your end that way, Monsieur, would have been a hard struggle—you would have had an unreasonable throat, to swallow it and expect to keep in life. To change the subject, epitaphs and wine have been often united in tolerably congruous union-witness that al Sienna
-- vino consperge sepulchrum Et calice poto, care viator abi
Valete potatores.” Doctor. Ay, in the way of libation, a classical thought. Wine was poured on the ashes, at the funeral pile of the ancients, with an * Ave! Vale!" to extinguish the living embers.
Professor. Not in the Sienna epitaph, Doctor; that was to warm the alabaster, to purple the snowy whiteness of the marble, and carry a savour to the bones below. The whole epitaph I thus render :
“ Vina debent vitam, mortem mibi vina dedere
Sobrius amorem non potui,
Wine gave the death,
His thirsty soul
Ne'er left the bowl,
0, from these stones,
His arid bones
Pour them a cup,
Then drink one up,
As a farewell libation.” Doctor. Artemisia swallowed her husband's ashes in wine-she was no Ephesian widow, nor, like the dame in Zadig, did she cut off her dead husband's nose to heal a lover's wound; such examples of conjugal affection only belong to antiquity.
Professor. She made the ashes an excuse for the wine, I imagine. Caria to be sure was almost a Persian country; but perhaps a lady's drinking wine there was scrutinized as severely as in Rome, where hus
bands kissed their wives on coming home, only to discover if they had been slily drinking-such was the origin of kissing in Rome !
Deun. Who was he that killed his wife because he found her drinking out of his cask ?
Professor. Equatius Metellus : and the law acquitted him, too. A drunken woman in Rome was deprived of her dower. They were less nice in the North of Europe, where knights and fair ladies are painted so much above humanity in many things. In the ballad of Sir Gawine we find the lady lamenting :
“What when gay ladies go with their lords
To drink the ale and wine,
I must not go with mine." Doctor. A proof from your own authority of the superior virtues of the ancient ladies, Mr. Professor.
Egrappé. No, my dear Doctare, because de vine of de lady of Sir Gawine vas not de vine of antiquity, which must have made de lady sentir mauvais-vat husband do love assafætida?
Professor. It is hard to judge between you, gentlemen, unless one had a reverse telescope of eighteen hundred years power.
Egrappé. Dat only peep on de Cesar Auguste or so. I tink it must be longer den dat-it must be telescope of two tousand horse powerI do mean years power.
Doctor. Ay, asses' ears, M. Egrappé.
Egrappé. I do forgive you, Doctare, you are so much of de capsicum.
Professor. To return to Epitaphs oinographical. The ancients represented vines springing from the graves of those who were held in high estimation, and the reverse with those whom they despised, as is seen in the verse of the Greek Anthology on Hyponax
“Thy grave no purple clusters rise to grace;" in the lines on Anacreon
“And fragrant wine flow joyous from his grave.” Again, from the Anthology we touch libations :
“Now let me revel while I may,
The wine that o'er my grave is shed
No honours can delight the dead.”
“Somnus et ingluvies, Bacchusque, Venusque, Jocusque,
Numina dum vixi greta fuere mihi
Cetera quis nescit?'
“Fuit ars mihi cura medendi,
Maxima ridendi, sed mihi cura fuit.
Si gratus, nostris manibus esse velis !”
Egrappé. I do not understand, M. Professor.
Professor. I will translate it-a pencil, (writes,) there, presto! It is done.
“ Eating and sleeping, loving, joking, quaffing,
If you'd bring comfort to my dust and ashes !”
Egrappé. What, Sare, you spake again, comme il faut! 1 tink de parsons do all love Rabelais.
Professor. They do, M. Egrappé, because their motto is in accordance.
« Lifeless is he who neither drinks nor dines,
We love delicious meats and sparkling wines."* Come, Dean, a glass. I am “lord of the ascendant" for the evening-here is your cloth. Drink off your glass.
“ Remplis ton verre vuide!
Vuide ton verre plein !
Un verre ni vuide ni plein !"
“Fill brimming thy empty glass,
Swallow the bumper up;
With a full or an empty cup!" Professor. Excellent for an impromptu translation. When I was at Oxford, in
College, we used to puzzle each other with construing “ down upon the gad," as Shakspere has it. It was not often that good things were produced. As Johnson would have said, “ Because, Sir, the velocity of the consideration is too much accelerated by the necessity for momentary production, and the required deliberation which would insure excellence is from the nature of the thing impossible."
Dean. They were pleasant times, notwithstanding.
Professor. They were very dear, Dean, and hallowed be their memory. We just kept our brains from dryness and brightened our ideas with claret. After“ pudding that might have pleased a Dean," we had books with our bottle-poetry enlivened us. We just coloured with a rosy blush the thoughts that flowed freely forth in all their sharpness and all their freshness. The brave old ancients cheered us, yet very rarely did we overstep the modesty of a sober bottle. We kindled up the literature of the olden time; travelled from Egypt to Greece, from Greece to Rome, and Rome to England. We reviewed the conquerors of Rome and of India. We revelled in Chaucer, and joked with the wits of Queen Anne's time. Such pleasures come back upon us in after life, Mr. Dean, and their memory we love the more because we love in vain. We were merry men then, and “heard the chimes at midnight.” Oh, it makes my thoughts put on mourning very frequently.
* Qui non coenat et ungitur tabulle
Hic vere mihi mortuis videtur.
Egrappé. Dat no cause for melancholique, M. Professor. Dere is no good to look for vat cannot be again, since we have it once; ve have oder ting now to cry for by and by. Keep de present, leave love making and put on spectacles with a good grace. Some dog have his day to-day, some yesterday, some to-morrow.
Professor. You Frenchmen are always gay-you never think much about any thing.
Egrappé. Very good-La Place not tink-Condillac, Legrange, Montesquieu, not tink at all! De duck not swim! Ve do tink ver much, M. Professor; and if we get sad and no help for it, ve say ver often good by to dis life.
Professor. But the Almighty has set his canon against self-murder. Egrappé. I did not say ve should kill vonself.
Professor. You do not defend self-murder?-it is well, M. Egrappé. Oh, it is a serious thing to leap into the gloom of futurity--to fling oneself into an abyss, black with its unsounded depth-into a shoreless sea-into the darkness of a self-willed grave! Some may say that is permitted which is not forbidden, but no law forbids my burning off my right hand, because laws are only enacted to meet probabilities. The legislation of conscience has no statute against what conscience never expects in the course of nature. Let us not speak of the fate of the suicide beyond the grave,- that is with his Creator,—but we shall do well not to uphold it. They who dare no longer the ills of life, may find some doom from which no second suicide will deliver them. Let us dare all the ills of life, M. Egrappé. My compatriots were once the censured of yours for the act, now you turn the tables upon us.
Egrappé. Dat is true, Sare; it is one odd ting in antipathy of character, dat is all dat ve can say of it.
Doctor. Few men who love wine kill themselves; it is because it kills their melancholy, I suppose !
Professor. A bad argument in favour of the bibulous, Doctor. Drunkards are the most complete of self-destroyers, the most sure self-murderers, the sign-posts of suicide, walking reflections of selfinflicted death. They take time, care, deliberation in the act. Your pistoller, like the man leaping from the Monument, and altering his mind half-way down,-he cannot avert the consequences of the full penalty of the deed. Your drunkard can stop,-ihe means are not sudden as the trigger's pull. He gloats in his guilt, and prolongs the act to make mercy inexcusable in forgiving.
Egrappé. De Temperance Society make de trade of de drunkard bankrupt ver soon.
Professor. Those Temperance Societies are of very dubious good ;let men learn to know themselves,-let them govern themselves by reason triumphing over temptation,-or joining a society will be only a security until sturdy temptation and opportunity combine. Your Temperance Society men confess their frailty tacitly—they plead guilty to fallibility by joining it---they act on the old foolish plan of confounding the use with the abuse, they deny themselves a glass of