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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, xar' eox, 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
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 KAI TOTTON ♦EPEIN KAAME:" 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
The History of Ancient and Modern Wines. London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. 1824. VOL. XVI.