Page images

vessels in which it is kept, which we may learn from d'Arvieux’s complaint, relating to the wine near Mount Carmel ; and so this mingled wine stands in opposition to new wine, which is, to the eye, an uniform liquor. According to this thought, the mingling of wine, mentioned as a part of the preparation Wisdom had made for an entertainment, Prov. ix. 2, will signify the getting up and opening some jugs of wine ready for drinking; and the being men of strength to mingle strong drink, Is. v. 22, will signify persons able to drink great quantities of old wine, who occasion jar after jar to to be opened, and thereby made turbid.

The learned Vitringa,' indeed, explains this mingling it with water, or with spices. But, (not to say that 'Thevenot affirms, that the people of the Levant never mingle water with their wine to drink, but drink by itself what water they think proper for the abating the strength of the wine, since the ancient custoin might have been different,) it cannot surely be of this mixture that the Scriptures oftentimes speak, for the mixture of water with the wine is the mixture of temperance and peace, not that of contention and woe, Prov. xxiii. 29 30. Nor is it so natural to understand it of wine mixed with aromatics, or things of that sort; these being rather preparation for those that drink but little, and use wine for à medicine, than what they prepare for them that tarry long at the wine.

. In Com. in Is. v. 22. • Part. 11. p. 96.

Something however of this latter kind was anciently in use, 'as appears from Can. viii. 2: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate, of wine mixed with the juice of pomegranates. Russell observes, that there are three sorts of pomegranates at Aleppo, the sour, the sweet, and another between both; and that they are wont to give a grateful acidity to their sauces, by pomegranate or lemon-juice : as then we frequently make use of lemon-juice along with wine, to make a cooling, refreshing liquor in hot weather, as well as in our sauces ; so it should seem the spouse proposed to prepare a liquid of much the same kind, with the juice of pomegranates."

Liquors of this kind, leaving out the wine, which the Mohammedan religion forbids, are very common in the East at this day. So Dr. Pococke tells us, vol. ii. p. 125, the people of Damascus have their rinfrescoes, which are made of liquorice, lemons, or dried grapes ; and two or three pages after, speaking of a plain towards Jordan, kie informs us, that liquorice grows there as fern does with us, that they carry the wood for fuel to Damascus, and the root serves to make rinfrescoes : and sherbet,

* It is, I think, highly probable, that in the time of the most remote antiquity, pomegranate-juice was used, in those countries, where lemon-juice is now used, with their meat, and in their drinks, and that it was not till afterwards, that lemons came among them: I know not how else to account for the mention of pomegranates in describing the fruitful. ness of the Holy Land, Dcut. viii.7, 8, Num. xx. 5. They would not now, I think, occur in such descriptions: the juice of lemons and oranges have, at present, almost super



which according to Dr. Russell, is some syrup, chiefly that of lemons, mixed with water, is in great use, and mentioned by a vast number of authors.'

These passages, and particularly what Pococke

says of the making rinfrescoes with roots of liquorice, sufficiently explain the sorbitiunculæ delicate, and the contrita olera, of St. Jerom, page 239.

Upon occasion of that passage, I would also take the liberty of proposing as a query, whether the drinking wine in bowls, complained of by the Prophet, Amos vi. 6, is to be understood seded the use of that of pomegranates. * Sir John Chardin, in his MS. supposes that this pomegranate-wine means, wine made of that fruit; which he informs us is inade use of in considerable quantities, in several places of the East, and particularly in Persia : his words are, On fait, en diverses parts de l'Orient, du vin de grenade, nommé roubnar, qu'on transporte par tout. Il y en a sur tout en Perse.

My reader must determine for himself, whether pome. granate-wine, or wine commonly so called mixed with pomegranate-juice, was most probably meant here. The making the first of these was a fact unknown to me, till I saw this manuscript, I confess, though it seems it is made in such large quantities as to be transported.

Hasselquist mentions some of these sorts of sherbet, and adds an account of some others, telling us that the sweet. scented violet is one of the plants most esteemed by the Egyptians and Turks, not only for its scent and colour, but especially for its great use in sherbet, which they make of violet sugar, dissolved in water, especially when they


* This, says Dr. Russell, is by no means the case. The pomegrapate is more easily preserved through the winter, and often in cookery preferred to lemon. In describing the fruitfulness of a country, the pomegranate would be mentioned ; and they are cultivated carefully even where lemons are plenty. What Cbardin calls roubnar, I should not understand to be wine. Rab al nar is the inspissated juice of the pomegranate, or the juice of grapes preserved with sugar. Thus they bave the røbal kirres, (cherries) rob il soose, liquorice, &c.

of the quantity drunk, or of the magnificence of the vessel made use of. The other particulars seem rather to refer to the magnificence of their repasts than the quantity consumed ; 'and St. Jerom speaks of a shell, the porcelain of those ancient times, as a piece of luxury in drinking undoubtedly, opposing it to a cup : may not the Prophet's complaint be of the like kind with that of this Father of the Christian church, and relate rather to the magnificence of the drinking-vessel than to the quantity they drank? Erasmus, in his notes on that place of St. Jerom, tells us, that Virgil speaks of the like piece of grandeur : Ut Concha bibat, et Sarrano indormiat Ostro.

Geor. II. v. 506. That he may drink from the shell, and sleep on Tyrian

purple. Though the common reading is gemma, (a gem,) instead of concha, (a shell.) I have seen very beautiful and highly-valued vessels intend to entertain their guests in an elegant manner.* Ho then tells us of capillaire mixed with water; and that the grandees sometimes add ambergris, which is the highest pitch of luxury, and indulgence of their appetites, p. 254. Sir J. Chardin, in a MS. note on a passage of the Apocrypha, similar toʻNeh. viii. 10, seems to suppose that drinking the sweet refers to the great quantities of sherbet used in the East; but if they are of as ancient date as the days of Nehemiah, this passage will hardly prove the fact. The liquorice root serves to make a decoction, which is clarified and drank cold.

· * They have what they call dry sherbet that is, the juice of violets or other acid fruits, and especially of the rheum ribes, which are incorporated with a syrup of sugar, which when hot, is thicker than thick honey; and afterwards made dry enough to be preserved in flat wooden boxes. Of this they can make occasionally sherbet on the road, by dissolving a small quantity in water. So Dr. Russell in bis MS, noten Koit.

made of shells; and the Red-sea, which is celebrated for producing some of the finest seashells in the world,' is near Judea ; and gave an opportunity to the ancient Jews of introducing vessels of this kind among their other precious utensils. Nor are they now only esteemed by our European Virtuosi : the people of the East value them : so shells were sent, along with fruit, for a present to Dr. Pococke, when at Tor near Mount Sinai."


Sweet Wines much esteemed in the East.

If I be right in my conjecture concerning mingled wine, old wine must have been most esteemed in the East, as well as the West; and that it was so, whether my conjecture be right or not, is beyond contradiction apparent from those words of our Lord, Luke v. 39. No man also having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new; for he saith, The old is

? See Shaw, p. 448.

• Vol. 1. p. 145.-Cups of the most beautiful appearance and ornamented in the most costly manner are formed out of the Nautilus. Such drinking vessels are frequent in China and elsewhere. Perhaps to such beautiful ressels as these, containing the most costly liquor, the Apostle alludes 2 Cor. iv. 7. εχομεν δε τον θησαυρον τουτον εν ουρακινοις σκενεσιν. We have this treasure in carthen vessels, literally vessels made of shell, that the excellency of the power might be of God and not of us. The shell, the body, is beautiful, though frail ; the treasure, the light and grace of Christ, is very glorious; but the power of God, by which the light is kept burning and the body preserved from deatb, infinitely surpasses all. Epit.

« PreviousContinue »