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old ones were neglected, proves that which it fulfils, and which we in Engdecisively. And as citizenship ex- land are now so generally acting on. panded by means of the easy terms Barbarous nations, and none were, in on which it could be had, so did the that respect, more barbarous than our bathers multiply. The population of own ancestors, made this capital blun. Rome in the century after Augustus, der: The brutes, if you asked them was far greater than during that era; what was the use of dinner, what it was and this, still acting as a vortex to the meant for, stared at you and replied, rest of the world, may have been one as a horse would reply if you put the great motive with Constantine for same question about his provender, “ transferring "the capital eastwards; that it was to give him strength for in reality, for breaking up one monster finishing his work! Therefore, if you capital into two of more manageable point your telescope back to antiquity dimensions. Two o'clock was often about twelve or one o'clock in the daythe earliest hour at which the public time, you will descry our most worthy baths were opened. But in Martial's ancestors all eating for their very lives, time a man could go without blushing eating as dogs eat; viz. in bodily fear (salvâ fronte) at eleven, though even that some other dog will come and take then two o'clock was the meridian hour their dinner away. What swelling of for the great uproar of splashing, and the veins in the temples! (see Boswell's swimming, and “ larking” in the end- natural history of Dr Johnson at dinless baths of endless Rome.
ner ;) what intense and rapid degluti. And now, at last, bathing finished, tion! what odious clatter of knives and and the exercises of the palæstra, at plates ! what silence of the human half-past two, or three, our friend finds voice ! what gravity! what fury in the his way home--not again to leave it libidinous eyes with which they contemfor that day. He is now a new man; plate the dishes ! Positively it was an refreshed, oiled with perfumes, his indecent spectacle to see Dr Johnson at dust washed off by hot water, and dinner. But, above all, what maniacal ready for enjoyment. These were the haste and hurry, as if the fiend were things that determined the time for waiting with red-hot pincers to lay hold dinner. Had there been no other of the hindmost! proof that cona was the Roman din- Oh, reader, do you recognise in this ner, this is an ample one. Now first abominable picture your respected anthe Roman was fit for dinner, in a cestors and ours ? Excuse us for saycondition of luxurious ease ; business ing—“what monsters !” We have a over—that day's load anxiety laid right to call our own ancestors monaside-his cuticle, as he delighted to sters; and, if so, we must have the talk, cleansed and polished—nothing same right over yours. For Dr Southey more to do or to think of until the has shown plainly in the “ Doctor," next morning : he might now go and that every man having four grand pa. dine ; and get drunk with a safe con- rents in the second stage of ascent, science. Besides, if he does not get (each of whom having four, therefore,) dinner now, when will he get it? For sixteen in the third, and so on, long most demonstrably he has taken no- before you get to the Conquest, every thing yet which comes nearin value to man and woman then living in England that basin of
will be wanted to make up the sum of selves take at the Roman hour of bath. my separate ancestors ; consequently, ing. No: we have kept our man fast- you must take your ancestors out of ing as yet. It is to be hoped that the very same fund, or (if you are too something is coming at last.
proud for that) you must go without It does come :-Dinner, the great ancestors. So that, your ancestors meal of " cæna ;' the meal sacred to being clearly mine, I have a right in law hospitality and genial pleasure, comes
to call the whole “kit” of them mon. now to fill up the rest of the day, until
Quod erat demonstrandum. light fails altogether.
Really and upon our honour, it makes Many people are of opinion that the one, for the moment, ashamed of one's Romans only understood what the ca- descent; one would wish to disinherit pabilities of dinner were. It is certain one's-self backwards, and (as Sheridan that they were the first great people says in the Rivals) to “ cut the conthat discovered the true secret and nexion." Wordsworth has an admirable meaning of dinner, the great office picture in Peter Bell of "a snug party NO, CCXc, VOL, XLVI,
soon as noon.
in a parlour," removed into limbus organ in all but those of coarse orgapatrum for their offences in the flesh:- nization. Dinner it is, meaning by
dinner the whole complexity of at“ Cramming, as they on earth were
tendant circumstances, which saves crammid;
the modern brain-working men from All sipping wine, all sipping tea; But, as you by their faces see,
This revolution as to dinner was All silent, and all d-d.”
the greatest in virtue and value ever How well does that one word describe accomplished. In fact, those are althose venerable ancestral dinners- ways the most operative revolutions " all silent !" Contrast this infernal which are brought about through sosilence of voice and fury of eye with cial or domestic changes. A pation the os risus amabilis,” the festivity, the must be barbarous, neither could it social kindness, the music, the wine, have much intellectual business, which the “ dulcis insania,” of a Roman dined in the morning. They could “ cæna." We mentioned four tests not be at ease in the morning. So much for determining what meal is, and what
must be granted : every day has its is not, dinner : we may now add a
separate quantum, its dose (as the fifth, viz. the spirit of festal joy and doctrinists of rent phrase it) of anelegant enjoyment, of anxiety laid xiety, that could not be digested so aside, and of honourable social plea
No man will say sure put on like a marriage garment. it. He, therefore, who dined at noon, And what caused the difference be.
was willing to sit down squalid as he tween our ancestors and the Romans ?
was, with his dress unchanged, his Simply this--the error of interposing cares not washed off. And what follows dinner in the middle of business, thus from that? Why, that to him, to such courting all the breezes of angry feel- a canine or cynical specimen of the geing that may happen to blow from the nus homo, dinner existed only as a phybusiness yet to come, instead of finish- sical event, a mere animal relief, a mere ing, absolutely closing, the account carnal enjoyment. For what, we dewith this world's troubles before you mand, did this fleshly creature differ sit down. That unhappy interpola. from the carrion crow, or the kite, or tion ruined all. Dinner was an ugly the vulture, or the cormorant? A little parenthesis between two still French judge in an action upon a wager, uglier clauses of a tee-totally ugly sen- laid it down in law, that man only had tence. Whereas with us, their en- abouche, all other animals had a gueule : lightened posterity, to whom they only with regard to the horse, in conhave the honour to be ancestors, din- sideration of his beauty, nobility, use, ner is a great reaction. There lies and in honour of the respect with our conception of the matter. It grew which man regarded him, by the out of the very excess of the evil. courtesy of Christendom, he might be When business was moderate, dinner allowed to have a bouche, and his rewas allowed to divide and bisect it. proach of brutality, if not taken away, When it swelled into that vast strife might thus be hidden. But surely, of and agony, as one may call it, that the rabid animal who is caught dining boils along the tortured streets of at noon-day, the homo ferus, who afmodern London or other capitals, fronts the meridian sun like Thyestes men began to see the necessity of an and Atreus, by his inhuman meals, we adequate counterforce to push against are, by parity of reason, entitled to this overwhelming torrent, and thus say, that he has a “maw," (so has maintain the equilibrium. Were it Milton's Death,) but nothing resemnot for the soft relief of a six o'clock bling stomach. And to this vile man dinner, the gentle manner succeeding a philosopher would say—“Go away, to the boisterous hubbub of the day, sir, and come back to me two or three the soft glowing lights, the wine, the centuries hence, when you have learnintellectual conversation, life in Lon- ed to be a reasonable creature, and to don is now come to such a pass tha make that physico-intellectual thing in two years all nerves would sink out of dinner which it was meant to before it. But for this periodic reac- be, and is capable of becoming." In tion, the modern business which draws Henry VII.'s time the court dined at 80 cruelly on the brain, and so little eleven in the forenoon. But even that on the hands, would overthrow that hour was considered so shockingly
late in the French court, that Louis Pope ever put up with four o'clock XII. actually had his grey hairs dinners again, we have vainly sought brought down with sorrow to the grave, to fathom. Some things advance conby changing his regular hour of half- tinuously, like a flood or a fire, which past nine for eleven, in gallantry to his always make an end of A, eat and diyoung English bride.*
He fell a vic. gest it, before they go on to B. Other tim to late hours in the forenoon. In things advance per saltum--they do Cromwell's time they dined at one P.M. not silently cancer their way onwards, One century and a half had carried but lie as still as a snake after they have them on by two hours. Doubtless, made some notable conquest, then when old cooks and scullions wondered what unobserved they make themselves up the world would come to next, Our “ for mischief,” and take a flying bound French neighbours were in the same onwards. Thus advanced dinner, and predicament. But they far surpassed by these fits got into the territory of us in veneration for the meal. They evening. And ever as it made a motion actually dated from it. Dinner con- onwards, it found the nation more stituted the great era of the day. L'apres civilized (else the change would not have diner is almost the sole date which been effected,) and raised them to a you find in Cardinal De Retz's me- still higher civilisation,
The next remoirs of the Fronde. Dinner was lay on that line of road, the next re. their Hegira-dinner was their line in peating frigate, is Cowper in his poem traversing the ocean ofday: they crossed on Conversation. He speaks of four the equator when they dined. Our o'clock as still the elegant hour for English revolution came next; it made dinner-the hour for the lautiores and some little difference, we have heard the lepidi homines. Now this was people say, in Church and State ; but written about 1780, or a little earlier ; its great effects were perceived in din. perhaps, therefore, just one generation ner. People now dined at two. So after Pope's Lady Suffolk. But then dined Addison for his last thirty years; Cowper was living amongst the rural so dined Pope, who was coeval with gentry, not in high life ; yet, again, the revolution through his entire life. Cowper was nearly connected by blood Precisely as the rebellion of 1745 arose, with the eminent Whig house of Cowper, did people (but observe, very great and acknowledged as akinsman, About people) advance to four P.m. Phi- twenty-five years after this, we may take losophers, who watch the “ semina Oxford as a good exponent of the na. rerum,” and the first symptoms of tional advance. As a magnificent body change, had perceived this alteration of " foundations," endowed by kings, singing in the upper air like a coming and resorted to by the flower of the storm some little time before. About national youth, Oxford is always ele. the year 1740, Pope complains to a gant and even splendid in her habits. friend of Lady Şuffolk's dining so late
Yet on the other hand, as a grave as four.
Young people may bear seat of learning, and feeling the those things, he observes; but as to weight of her position in the comhimself, now turned of fifty, if such monwealth, she is slow to move : she doings went on, if Lady Suffolk would is inert as she should be, having the adopt such strange hours, he must functions of resistance assigned to her really absent himself from Marble Hill. against the popular instinct of moveLady Suffolk had a right to please her. ment. Now, in Oxford, about 1804-5, self: he himself loved her. But if there was a general move in the dinner she would persist, all which remained hour. Those colleges who dined at for a decayed poet was respectfully to three, of which there were still several, - cut his stick, and retire.' Whether now dined at four: those who had
* “His young English bride :"_The case of an old man, or one reputed old, marrying a very girlish wife, is always too much for the gravity of history; and, rather than lose the joke, the historian prudently disguises the age, which after all, was little above fifty. And the very persons who insist on the late dinner as the proxi. mate cause of death, elsewhere insinuale something else, not so decorously expressed, It is odd that this amiable prince, so memorable as having been a martyr to late dining at eleven A.M., was the same person who is so equally memorable for the poble answer about a King of France not remembering the wrongs of a Duke of Orleans,
dined at four now translated their liour force of Seneca's " post quod non to five. These continued good general sunt lavandæ manus. But exactly hours, but still amongst the more in. in proportion as our dinner has ad. tellectual orders, till about Waterloo. vanced towards evening, have we and After that era, six, which had been has that advanced in circumstances somewhat of a gala hour, was promoted of elegance, of taste, of intellectual to the fixed station of dinner-time in value.” That by itself would be much. ordinary; and there perhaps it will Infinite would be the gain for any rest through centuries. For a more people that it had ceased to be brutal, festal dinner, seven, eight, nine, ten, animal, fleshly ; ceased to regard the have all been in requisition since then; chief meal of the day as a ministration but we have not yet heard of any man's only to an animal necessity ; that they dining later than 10 P.M., except in had raised it to a far higher standard; that single classical instance (so well associated it with social and humanizremembered from our father Joe) of ing feelings, with manners, with graces an Irishman who must have dined much both moral and intellectual; moral in later than ten, because his servant pro- the self-restraint; intellectual in the tested, when others were enforcing fact, notorious to all men, that the the dignity of their masters by the late chief arenas for the easy display of ness of their dinner hours, that his intellectual power are at our dinner master dined “to-morrow."
tables. But dinner has now even a Were the Romans not as barbarous greater function than this ; as the as our own ancestors at one time? fervour of our day's business increases, Most certainly they were ; in their pri- dinner is continually more needed in mitive ages they took their cæna at its office of a great reaction. noon, that was before they had laid aside repeat that, at this moment, but for their barbarism; before they shaved: the daily relief of dinner, the brain of it was during their barbarism, and in all men who mix in the strife of capi. consequence of their barbarism, that tals would be unhinged and thrown off they timed their cæna thus unseason- its centre. ably. And this is made evident by the If we should suppose the case of a fact, that, so long as they erred in the nation taking three equidistant meals hour, they erred in the attending cir- all of the same material and the same cumstances. At this period they had quantity, all milk for instance, it would no music at dinner, no festal graces, be impossible for Thomas Aquinas and no reposing upon sofas. They sate himself to say which was or was not bolt upright in chairs, and were as dinner. The case would be that of grave as our ancestors, as rabid, and the Roman ancile which dropped doubtless as furiously in haste. from the skies; to preventits ever being
With us the revolution has been stolen, the priests made eleven facequally complex. We do not, indeed, similes of it, that the thief, seeing the adopt the luxurious attitude of semi- hopelessness of distinguishing the true recumbency; our climate makes that one, might let all alone. And the less requisite; and moreover the Ro result was, that, in the next generamans had no knives and forks, which tion, nobody could point to the true could scarcely be used in that posture:
But our dinner, the Roman they ate with their fingers from dishes cæna, is distinguished from the rest already cut up—whence the peculiar by far more than the hour; it is dis
* « Took their cæna at noon."-And, by the way, in order to show how little cæna had to do with any evening hour (though, in any age but that of our fathers, four in the afternoon would never have been thought an evening hour in the sense implied by. supper,)—the Roman gourmands and bons vivants continued through the very last ages of Rome to take their cæna, when more than usually sumptuous, at noon. This, indeed, all people did occasionally, just as we sometimes give a dinner even now so early as four P.M., under the name of a dejeuner à la fourchette. Those who took their cæna so early as this, were said de die cænare—to begin dining from high day. Just as the line in Horace—“ Ut jugulent homines surgunt de nocte latrones,” does not mean that the robbers rise when others are going to bed, viz., at nightfall, but at midnight. For, says one of the three best scholars of this earth, de die, de nocte, mean from that hour which was most fully, most intensely day or night : viz.-the centre, the meridian. This one fact is surely a clencher as to the question whether cæna meant dinner or supper,
tinguished by great functions, and « attended by a crowd of domestics, by still greater capacities. It is most attired with scarcely less splendour ; beneficial ; it may become more so. for no man thought of coming to the
In saying this, we point to the light banquet in the robes of ordinary life. er graces of music, and conversation The embroidered couclies, themselves more varied, by which the Roman striking objects, allowed the ease of cæna was chiefly distinguished from position at once delightful in the relax our dinner.
We are far from agree. ing climates of the South, and capable ing with Mr Croly, that the Roman of combining with every grace of the meal was more " intellectual" than human figure. At a slight distance,
On the contrary, ours is the the table loaded with plate glittering more intellectual by much: we have under a profusion of lamps, and surfar greater knowledge, far greater rounded by couches thus covered by means for making it such. In fact, rich draperies, was like a central source the fault of our meal is—that it is too of light radiating in broad shafts of intellectual: of too severe a character: every brilliant hue. The wealth of the too political : too much tending, in Patricians, and their intercourse with many hands, to disquisition. Recipro- the Greeks, made them masters of the cation of question and answer, variety first performances of the arts. Copies of topics, shifting of topics, are points of the most famous statues, and groups not sufficiently cultivated. In all else of sculpture in the precious metals; we assent to the following passage trophies of victories ; models of tem. from Mr Croly's eloquent Salathiel :- ples; were mingled with vases of
" If an ancient Roman could start flowers and lighted perfumes. Finally, from his slumber into the midst of covering and closing all, was a vast European life, he must look with scorn scarlet canopy, which combined the on its absence of grace, elegance, and groups beneath to the eye, and threw fancy. But it is in its festivity, and
the whole into the form that a painter most of all in its banquets, that he
would love." would feel the incurable barbarism of Mr Croly then goes on to insist on the Gothic blood. Contrasted with the the intellectual embellishments of the fine displays that made the table of the Roman dinner; their variety, their Roman noble a picture, and threw grace, their adaptation to a festive
purover the indulgence of appetite the col- pose.
The truth is, our English ima. ours of the imagination, with what eyes gination, more profound than the Romust he contemplate the tasteless and man, is also more gloomy, less gay, commonplace dress, the coarse atten.
less riante. That accounts for our dants, the meagre ornament, the want want of the gorgeous triclinium, with of mirth, music, and intellectual inter- its scarlet draperies, and for many other est—the whole heavy machinery that
differences both to the eye and to the converts the feast into the mere drudg- understanding. But both we and the ery of devouring !"
Romans agree in the main point; we Thus far the reader knows already both discovered the true purpose which that we dissent violently; and by look- dinner might serve,-1. to throw the ing back he will see a picture of our grace of intellectual enjoyment over ancestors at dinner, in which they re- an animal necessity ; 2. to relieve and hearse the very part in relation to our- antagonize the toil of brain incident to selves that Mr Croly supposes
all high forms of social life. moderns to rehearse in relation to the Our object has been to point the eye Romans; but in the rest of the beau. to this fact; to show uses imperfectly tiful description, the positive, though suspected in a recurring accident of not the comparative part, we must all life: to show a steady tendency to that
consummation ; by holding up, as in “ The guests before me were fifty a mirror, (together with occasional or sixty splendidly dressed men," (they glimpses of hidden corners in history,)
, were in fact Titus and his staff, then the corresponding revolution silently occupied with the siege of Jerusalem,) going on in a great people of antiquity.