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knew to be an explainer of hard words, I had immediate recourse to it, and found a Gride to be "a manjkilledin the art of judging of literature?'' What information might I not expect to receive from such infallible judges, who, as the subsequent description informed me, must be qualified, "nicely to discriminate, and ably to judge, the beauties and faults of writings."—The name of a great author, whose works I had read with satisfaction and delight, met my ear, and the fire of expectation was instantly kindled in my bosom. Conscious that I could only skim the surface of that ocean of wisdom, coutained in the work of this great moralist, I now hoped to see such hidden gems produced to view, as had escaped my feeble search: but, judge of my mortification, at being informed only of the size of his wig!—Both the crjtics produced a thousand little instances of the oddities of his manner, the peculiarity of his dress, and the irritability of his temper. But as to the excellence of his precepts, the strength of his arguments, or the sublimity of his sentiments—the critics said not a word!
The name of this author led to that of another—a Poet to whose verses Miss Ardent gave the epithet of charming. Her learned guests, though, in general, obsequiously submissive to her opinion, did not, in this instance, seem to coincide with her.—But, instead of pointing out the defects of his composition, they only mentioned the badness of his taste, of which they gave an irrefragable proof, in his preferring a roajied potatoe to a chesnut! Miss Ardent, who did not seem pleased to have the taste of her favourite poet called in question, abruptly turned the conversation, and addressing herself to me, told me, she should soon have the pleasure of introducing me to some gentlemen of distinguished talents and acknowledged merit, whose names I had probably heard. BShe then mentioned three of the most celebrated writers of the present day, every one of whose works I had had the advantage of reading with Delomond, in the course of our voyage. While she yet spoke the Chubdar re-echoed the names of these celebrated men; they entered, and paid the tribute of respect to this patroness of science, who, when she was seated among them, appeared in my eyes, like the Goddess Serrefwate, surrounded by the gems of the court of Vicramaditya.
Think, fWaandaara! think, what I must have felt, at the sight of four live authors! You may well believe, that I could not find myself in the immediate presence of so many learned personages, without experiencing a considerable degree of agitation. I remained immersed in silent awe and breathless expectation. Surely, said I to myself, the conversation of men who are capable of writing books, must be very different from that of common mortals!
One of them opened his mouth—I listened with avidity—and heard—that the morning had been remarkable rainy. —How beautiful is this condescension, said I again to myself, in one so wise! —The Chubdar again entered, it was to announce that the dinner was upon the table. I followed Miss Ardent and her learned guests into the apartments destined for this repast, where, according to the barbarous custom of the country, they fat down to eat at one table, and confined their conversation while they remained at it, to eulogiums on the good things set before them, of which, in compliment (no doubt) to the mistress of the feast, they devoured a goodly quantity. While they were thus employed, I retired to the sopha at the other end of the room, where I contemplated with astonishment, how much men of genius could eat. At length, the long-protracted feast was finished, the mangled re
mains of the bipeds and the quadrupeds, the fishes of the sea, the vegetables of the earth, and the golden fruits of the garden, were carried off by the domestics; a variety of wines supplied their places upon the table—the liquid ruby flowed, and these disciples of the poet of Shiraz seemed to unite with him in regard to the sovereign efficacy of the sparkling contents *of the goblet.
* The allusion is taken from one of the odes of Hafir. which, as it does not appear among those selected by Mr. Nott, for his very elegant Translation, we think the following Literal one, may not prove unacceptable:
1. The season of spring is arrived, let the spar
kling goblet go round I ~
2. Seize, O ye youths, the fleeting hour, and enjoy the extatic delight of the company of the fawn-eyed daughters of love.
3. Boy! fill out the wine, and let the liquid ruby flow, for it is it alone that poureth the oil of gladness into the hearts of the unfortunate, and is the healing balm of the wounds of the afflicted. 4.. Leave the corroding thorns of wordly cares, and the anxiety of ambition, to immortalize the names of Cyrus and Alexander. 5. Let me indulge in my favourite wine, and fee which of us ihall soonest obtain the object of his desires. 6. Let mine ear listen to the melody of the lute and the cymbal, and mine eyes be charmed with the fair daughters oi Circassia. 7. Go, O my foul- and give thyself to joy, for it is needless to anticipate to-day the sorrows of to» œorio^'.
So much has been said and sung on the inspiring powers of wine, that I anxiously watched its effects on these men of learning.—But, unfortunately for wit and me, no sooner were the bottles set upon the table, than the subject of politics was introduced; a subject which to me, is ever dull and barren of delight. To Miss Ardent, it appeared otherwise; she entered with warmth and energy into the discussion, and spoke of ministers and their measures, of the management of wars, and the interests of nations, in such a decisive manner, as proved her qualified to become the Vizir of an Empire.
Not seeing the conversation likely to take a turn to any other subject, and considering that the presence of a stranger might throw some restraint on the discussion of affairs of state, I took my leave; and must confess, that I returned from this banquet of reason, not altogether satisfied with my entertainment.
As after having lost a game at Chefs, it is my custom to ponder on the past moves, until I find out the false step that led to my defeat, so do I ruminate on the disappointment of expected felicity, till I make a discovery of the source from which it has flowed. In doing fe, I am almost