Page images

race, in his Odes, is the only author who has shown the compass of the Latin language, in all the variety of composi tion. This renders it a task of considerable difficulty to imitate him, with any degree of ease or elegance. He has a mode of expression peculiar to himself, which sometimes baffles every attempt to convey his meaning into the idion of any modern language. There are few poets of whom versions have been more frequently attempted: no one, perhaps, has had less justice done to him; and it is the more extraordinary, that his lesser Odes, I mean those that treat of humbler subjects, have been uniformly found the most difficult: witness the 9th of lib. 3, the favourite Ode of Scaliger. Those who will be at the pains to examine it, will find its peculiar merit to consist in the delicacy, brevity, and simplicity, of the expressions; the beautifulorder of the words, and the harmonious sweetness of the numbers. This little Ode, though of all others, perhaps, the most laboured at, has been the worst executed. Its beautiful and unaffected brevity sets translation at defiance; and is a model of that perfection of style, which La Bruyere admired, the art of using the one proper expression, which can alone be right.

Creech, who had done ample justice to the philosophic verse of Lucretius, lost all his laurels by his attempt upon Ilorace. He has also been fatal to the reputation of some others. The version of Francis is, upon the whole, the best executed in some parts of the Odes, he is highly Horatian; moral, without being dull; gay and spirited, with propriety; and tender, without being languid. Some of the imitations of Duncombe are spirited and elegant; but, in general, he is inferior to Francis.

dom; that nothing but virtue deserves our admiration, and that, without it, there can be no true or rational freedom. He has proved himself a master in the most difficult part of human conduct, that of advising others, which he always docs with great sincerity, but without the ap. pearance of premeditation. By this method, the advice had a better effect upon the person who received it, because there was no affectation of superiority in him who gave it. Had this been vi sible, it would only have offended that inherent pride in our nature, which makes every man so unwilling to acknowledge, or be told of, his faults. For instance, when writing in praise of moderation, he addresses himself to an ambitious man, shows him the danger of his darling passion, and the charms of contentment. Thus, without touching his foible, by descending to particulars, he demonstrates to the person addressed the danger of the measures he pursues. The 10th Ode of lib. 2, to Licinius Muræna, is a fine example of this. Muræna was brother-in-law to Mecenas, and, through his interest, could have little doubt of being promoted. But this would not satisfy his restless ambition; nor could the seasonable advice of Horace prevent him from entering into a conspiracy with Fannius and others, which cost him his life. In the 15th of lib. 1, where he represents Nereus as declaring to Paris the deplorable fate of Troy, which will attend his rape of Helen, he warns Antony not to give himself up to the charms of Cleopatra, which must inevitably end in his ruin; and in the preceding Ode, he, by a beautiful allegory, exhibits to the Romans all the calamities of their civil wars, and exhorts them to peace. Having inclined, as we observed at the close of our last Number, to the Stoic philosophy, towards the latter part of his life, he consequently armed himself with their principles against the fear of death. Thus he describes his wise man as braving adversity, and expecting mortality to put an end to any misfortunes that may befal him. This is done allegorically, under the characters of Pentheus and Bacchus; that is, the wise man will then display the same courage which Bacchus did in his answer to Pentheus, in a tragedy of Euripides.

We shall close this general account by a few remarks upon the difficulty of translating this interesting poct. Ho

Quinctilian has said, indeed, that he would not have the whole of Horace interpreted; and he alludes to the Odes, rather than to the Satires. This caution will appear singular, and would, at least, have seemed to be equally applicable to the rest of his works. Creech gives this reason; "which," he says, "must be taken from the design and subject matter of the poems. To describe and reform a vicious man, necessarily requires some expressions which an ode cannot want, The paint which an artist uses must be agreeable to the piece which he designs, Satire is to instruct, and that supposes a knowledge and discovery of the crime whule

while Odes are made only to instruct and to please, and therefore every thing that effcods in them is unpardonable."

To enumerate the various editions of Horace would more than fill the columns we have already occupied. We can therefore select only a few even of the


Horatius, 4to. Editio Princeps, sine anno, loco, vel typographi indicio. Bvo. Ferrar. 1474.

fol. Mediol. dittu.

Of this edit.

fol. Venet. 1478, 1433, 1490. 12mo. apud Ald 1501. fol. illustrated by 80 commentators. Basil, 1580. Dr. Harwood says, that it contains the observations and remarks on Horace, which were made by the great scholars of that illustrious age the glorious age of the revival of literature; as well as the criticisms of the old commentators, Acron, Porphyrion, &c.” 4to. Cruquii. L. Bat. 1593. Cruquius is considered one of the best Horatii Opera, a Dan. Heinsio, 12mo. Elz. L. Bar. 1629.

commentators on Horace.

in usum Delphini, 4to. Paris,


the discovery, of which these pages treat, is not by any means so ancient as many have imagined. However numerous the admirers of this fragrant Ottur may be in Europe, as in Asia, I wish to pay it thus my public homage.-A verse from Hafis, the Persian Anacreon, will not be here misplaced:

Horatius, cum notis vriorum, 8vo. Lug.
Bat. 1653, 1658, 63, 68, 70.-
The first of these is the best.
à Bentley, 4to. Cantab. 1711.-
Amster. 1713, 1728.
Baxter, 8vo. Lond. 1701, 1725.
Gesneri, Lips. 1752, 1772.
Oservationibus Zew-
nii, 8vo. Lips. 1788-1802.
Horatii Opera, 12mo. Glasg. 1744, called
the immaculate edition.
Horace, by Watson, Lat. and Eng. 2 vol.
8vo. Lond.

by Francis, with the orig. text.
4 vol. 12mo. 1747. 4to. 1749.

The edition by the late Gilb. Wakefield, is executed with uncommon accuracy and ele-gance.

[merged small][ocr errors]

"O! Hafiz, thou desirest like the Nightingale the presence of the rose! let thy very soul be a ransom for the earth, where the keeper of the Rose-garden walks!"

In this couplet, he alludes to the loves of the Nightingale and the Rose, which have been celebrated by so many poets of Arabia, Persia, and Turkey.

The word Ottar, or A'thr, used by the Asiatics, to express the essence of roses, is originally Arabic; and signifies an aromatic odour, or perfume in general; it is derived from Attara, or A’thara, (to perfume one's-self,) &c. and it seems to have some affinity with another Arabic work, Katara, (to drop, or distil by drops, &c.) and to the Hebrew Ketr, (he has perfumed, &c.) The Chaldaic word Katura expressed eleven kinds of aromatics, which the Jews burned in their sacrifices. (See Schultens's Clavis Dialect: ling Hebr. et Arab; page 296: and Castelli Lexicon Heptaglott, ad As to the resemblance which Mr. Weston, (in a work which I shall hereafter quote) imagines he has found between the Arabic word Ottar, and the European odour, I leave it for my readers to determine on the etymology. I must here remark, that flowers in general, and roses from their peculiar excellence, are termed in Arabic, ward; and in Persian, gul; but the oltar is not to be confounded with the gulab, or rose-water, which is simply the product of roses, distilled with water, according to a process well known to all perfumers, both of Europe and Asia; this, indeed, is the previous and indispensable preparation for obtaining the essence, or ottur; for after a certam quantity of roses has been so distilled, (as Colonel Pólier indicates in the first volume of Asiatic Researches,) the rose-water is left exposed to the cool air of the night; and on the next day, a very inconsiderable portion of ollar is found congealed on the surface of the rose water. It may be easily supposed, that the quantity of essence depends much on the quality of the



Ronight appear,

ROM the title of this little essay, it that I incur the reproach of having devoted my time to frivolous researches, but my object has been to correct an error very frequent -among Orientalists; and to prove that

(.קטר vocem

the roses; those of Shiraz, Kirman, and Cashmere, are particularly celebrated, as the following quotations will prove.

The learned Kempfer, (in his Amanitates Exotica, page 374,) inforins us, that "the roses of Shiraz yield on distillation, a thick substance, resembling butter, called attar gul; and this oil is purchased for its weight in gold, and is unequalled in sweetness and fragrance; which shows, that the roses of the territory of Persepolis, are of the hottest nature." The same traveller adds, “ that sandal-wood gives additional strength to the perfume;" and this observation is confirmed by Colonel Polier, who remarks, however, at the same time, that this addition reduces the value of the essence. The use of sandal-wood succeeds better in the composition of simple rosewater, which according to the ingenious 'Anquetil du Perron (see his Zendavesta, vol. i. 525, &c.) is styled Sandali gulab, or, if we may so translate it, rose-water of sandal. In the first volume of Linschoten's Voyages, (pp. 125-126) we read, that the sandal-wood itself produces an odoriferous oil.

The roses of Kirman are described; by Olearius, and other travellers, as wonderfully abundant, and a very delightful water is said to be distilled from them, which forms a considerable branch of commerce in that country; but those writers have not made any mention of the essence.

The most exquisite roses of Asia, appear to be those of Cashmere; and Mr. Forster, (in Journey from India to Petersburgh, vol. ii. page 15, quarto edition,) says, "I may venture to class in the first rank of vegetable produce, the ruse of Cashmere, which, for its brilliancy and delicacy of odour, has long been proverbial in the East; and its essential oil, or ottar, is held in universal estimatron." Indeed, long before the publication of Mr. Forster's Travels, we had learned from Monsieur Anquetil du Perron, that the best species of rose was produced in Cashmere.

Roses are found in great abundance also in Syria, Faiume, and the different provinces of the Barbary states; and an essence is extracted from them, but much inferior to that of Persia, and of Cashmere. One would scarcely imagine that a process, at once so simple, and so universally known throughout the East, and even on the coasts of Western Africa, and which is the result of another process in use, from time immemorial,

cannot be traced back two hundred years.

In this opinion, I dissent very much from many ingenious men; and amongst others from Mr. Weston, who, (in his Specimen of the Conformity of Languages, &c. page 113,) expresses his belief that the ottar, or essence of roses, is the oil with which the Psalmist desires to be anointed, because he styles the oil green.-Psalm xcii. 10.

בלתי בשמן רענן

Delibutus sum in oleo viridi. Nothing can be more vague than this epithet; since many kinds of oil are of that colour, and since the ottar is not always green: besides, it is not certain that the Hebrew epithet should be understood as expressing any particular colour; and the Septuagint have rendered it by the Greek word zion, fut; (the English version says, “I shall be anointed with fresh oil.") I shall not here detain my readers by a long digression, in which it might be proved that the Hebrews, as well as the Christians, employed only common oil, and not per fumes, in the consecration of their kings.

But, in support of my opinion on the recent discovery of the ottar, I shall adduce both negative and positive proofs; and I hope to demonstrate, that it was not known before the year 1021 of the Mohamedan, or 1612 of the Christian, æra; my negative proofs are derived from the silence of Eastern, and of European writers, prior to the epoch abovementioned.

In the works of Hafiz, and of Sadi, we find frequent mention of the gulab, or rose-water; none of the ottar, or essence. Sherifaddin Ali Yezdi, who wrote, a His tory of Tamerlane, often describes the perfumes lavishly expended in the entertainments given by that Tartar conqueror, and his children; but the historian is silent on the subject of the ottar.

The Ayeen Akbery, or Commentary of the Grand Mogul Akber, translated by Mr. Gladwin, of Calcutta, contains a chapter on the regulation of the Imperial Perfumery, in which various preparations of roses are noticed, without any mention of the essence. This work, the Ayeen Akbery, was composed in the year of our æra, 1569; and consequently, forty-two years before the date that I have assigned to the discovery of the ottar.

As to European travellers, I can venture to affirm, that of those who visited Persia and Hindoostan, and whose narratives prior to the seventeenth century

[ocr errors]

1810.] Enquiries into the Discovery of the Essence by

have been collected by Hackluit, Purchas, De Bry, Melchisedec Thevenot, Bergeron, Churchill, Harris, &c. not one has spoken of the essence of roses: many of them describe the rose-water as, a most pleasing perfume, and in terms 'which prove their ignorance of the other preparation.

But a positive proof of what I have asserted, is derived from the annals of the Moghul Empire, of which the authors were perhaps witnesses of the facts that they relate.

[ocr errors]

We shall begin by consulting a History of the Grand Moghuls, written in the Persian language by Mohammed Hashem; an important work, entitled, Tarikh Montekheb lubab, or The authentic Abridgment of Chronicles." This, which is, preserved among the manuscripts of the National Library, in ·Paris, passes rapidly over the reigns of Timur, and his descendants; and in fact, commences with the account of Baber, who in the year 1526, conquered Hindoostam; and it ends with the year 1677; when Mohammed Shah was on the throne. The discovery of the ottar of roses is twice noticed in this History, and in the most unequivocal manner: first, in a chapter entitled, Marriage of the Princess Nour Jehan, with the Inhabitant of Paradise, (that is, the lately deceased) Jehangir, the Inventions and Discoveries of the Queen of the World, c. This Princess, Nour Jehan, (a title signifying, Light of the Universe,) was the celebrated beauty called also Mihr al -Nesa, (or the Bright Sun of Women.) She inspired the Emperor Jehangir with so violent a passion, that to possess her charms he contrived the assassination of her husband; she even exercised the sovereign power, during the space of six months; and money was coined in her name: but we are not authorized in attributing to her (as is generally done) those rupees which bear the signs of the zodiac; for although struck under the reign of Jehangir, they have quite a dif. ferent origin. This fascinating woman, who employed every art to secure her influence over the monarch of Hindoostan, introduced many innovations in the female dress, and we may say, invented fashions, a circumstance before unknown in Asia; on this subject, the chapter above quoted, contains many curious details: but it will be sufficient to extract one passage, relating to the object which engages our attention. The Essence of Rose-water which the

Princess Nour-jehan first called the Ot-
tar of Jehangir, (in compliment to the
Emperor) and other perfumes of a more
moderate value, and within the attain-
ment of persons of small fortune, are of
her and her mother's invention." The
succeeding chapter, entitled, History
of the Seventh Year of Jehangir's Reign,
and of the Festival of the New Year,
&c. begins with some particulars more
precise and satisfactory than the passage
above given." At the commencement
of this festival, the mother of Princess
Nourjehan, having presented some es-
sence of roses which she had extracted,
and the Emperor having approved of it,
he thought proper to bestow on the dis-
covery his own august name, and it was
called Ottar Jehangiri; and to the prio-
cess he gave a necklace of pearl, worth
thirty thousand rupees; it is indeed a
wonderful discovery, for no perfume
can equal it; and its vivifying odour is
grateful to angels, genii, and men.
author of this work recollects, that the
price of good Ottar Jehangiri, until the
beginning of the reign of Aulumgir, (who
now resides in Paradise) was eighty
rupees for a tolah; whilst, in our tane,
this same essence has fallen in price to
eight or nine rupees per

Those two quotations agree perfectly with the following passage, from the History of Hindostan, compiled in English by Mr. Gladwin, from numerous materials collected with much labour and expense, during a residence of twenty-three years in India. "The manner of making the ottar," says this ingenious writer,


was at this time discovered by the mother of Nourjeban. The ottar is an essential oil of roses, which floats in a very small quantity on the surface of distilled rose-water, whilst yet warm; and it is collected by means of a little bit of cotton fastened to the end of a stick; it is the most delightful of all perfumes, and in fragrance equals the new-blown rose. The Emperor, as a reward for the invention, bestowed on the lady a necklace of most precious pearls; and the Princess Selima Sultana, (one of the widows of Akbar,) gave it the name o Ottar Jehangiri.”

Thus have the Eastern authors, iu m opinion, cleared up every doubt as t the epoch, and the author of this di covery; but none of them have indicate the manner in which the discovery w made: this, however, we learn from European traveller. Manucci, a pl sigian of Venice, during a residence


India of forty years, enquired much into the annals of that empire; and composed an historical work of considerable magnitude, adorned with well-executed miniatures. This work, of which the authenticity cannot be disputed, was translated and abridged by Catrou, under the title of a "General History of the Mogul Empire, from its Foundation to the present Time;" and among the curious anecdotes collected by Manucci, is one which throws great light on the subject of this essay. It is natural to imagine, that the adulterous amours of Jehangir with Nourjehan form an interesting portion of the Emperor's history; it was at a feast given by the ambitious female to her illustrious lover, that the essence of roses was discovered. Amidst the varieties of luxury displayed on that occasion, the princess had contrived that rose-water should flow in a small canal throughout the gardens; whilst the Emperor walked with her along the borders of the canal, they perceived a kind of scum, floating on the surface of the water; and when it approached the brink, they gathered and examined it; and this was a substance produced by the sun, from the rose-water. All the court agreed in acknowledging, that this oily substance was the most exquisite perfume known in India; and in course of time, art endeavoured to imitate what had been at first the offspring of accident, and of nature."---(Histoire Generale des Mogols; tom. 1. S26.)

ded at Wisbech, in Cambridgeshire. It is to be regretted that few memorials remain of her; but two ancient and respectable inhabitants, now deceased, have related to the writer of this the following incidents:-When she first came, she sought employment by standing (as is usual with labourers at this day who want work) on or near the foot of the bridge, where, in hay-time and harvest, the fariners resort every morning to hire. She selected for her abode, a cellar in a part of the town called the Old Market, where she spun worsted; to dispose of which, she regularly had a stall on the marketday. Being once thus employed, she recognised by the arms and livery, a coach and attendants going to the principal inn, (the Rose and Crown,) near to which her stall stood, upon which, she inmediately packed up her worsted, retired to her cell, and carefully concealed herself. The owner, who was said to be the Duke of Argyle, endeavoured to find her, but without effect. The house under which she lived has been since rebuilt, and part of it is now occupied by the Lady Mary Knollis, aunt to the present Earl of Banbury. She constantly attended, when in health, the meeting of the Society of Friends in Wisbech; was humble and exemplary in her conduct, well esteemed by her neighbours, invariably avoided all conversation relative to her family connexions; aud when in the freedom of intercourse, any expression inadvertently escaped, leading to an enquiry, she stopped short, seemed to regret having disclosed so much, and silenced further research. She read the New Testament in Greek; but even this circumstance was discovered accidentally by an unexpected call: was fond of birds, which were frequently allowed to leave their cages, and fly about in her apartment. When near eighty, she had a new set of teeth. She died (according to the Friends' Register)


the 12th of 7th mo. 1742, aged 88," and was buried in the Society's grave-yard at Wisbech, where, out of respect to her memory, box has been planted round her grave, with her initials, age, and date, which still remain to mark the spot of her interment. Your's, &c. A.

These particulars are by no means un worthy of credit; for Manucci arrived in India, during the reign of Shah-jehan, son and successor of Jehangir, whilst the recollection of these circumstances was, no doubt, still fresh in the memory of several persons. The essence had been, for a long time, observed to swim on the surface of distilled rose-water; but in so small a quantity, that no one had thought of collecting it; a fortunate accident in spired the idea; the discovery being once made, (like most others) appeared so sim. ple, that we are astonished that the ottar was not found by the first chemist who applied his alembic to experiments on roses.

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.



ANE Stuart, the extraordinary character of whom some account is given in the Monthly Magazine for October last, supposed to be a natural daughter of King James II. after renouncing the world and splendour of courts, resi


For the Monthly Magazine.
LETTERS descriptive of CHELTENHAM,
and its VICINITY.

Cheitenbam, July 27, 1808. HANKS to the favourable state of the weather, this place is now ra



« PreviousContinue »