Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

full of blackbirds than cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. By this means I have always the music of the season in its perfection, and am highly delighted to see the jay or the thrush hopping about my walks, and shooting before my eye across the several little glades and alleys that I pass through. I think there are as many kinds of gardening as of poetry : your makers of parterres and flower-gardens, are epigrammatists and sonneteers in this art; contrivers of bowers and grottos, treillages and cascades, are romance writers. Wise and London are our heroic poets; and if, as a critic, I may single out any passage of their works to commend, I shall take notice of that part in the upper garden at Kensington, which was at first nothing but a gravel-pit. It must have been a fine genius for gardening, that could have thought of forming such an unsightly hollow into so beautiful an area, and to have hit the eye with so uncommon and agreeable a scene as that which it is now wrought into. To give this particular spot of ground the greater effect, they have made a very pleasing contrast; for as on one side of the walk you see this hollow basin, with its several little plantations lying so conveniently under the eye of the beholder; on the other side of it there appears a seeming mount, made up of trees rising one higher than another in proportion as they approach the centre. A spectator, who has not heard this account of it, would think this circular mount was not only a real one, but that it had been actually scooped out of that hollow space which I have before mentioned. I never yet met with any one who had walked in this garden, who was not struck with that part of it which I have here mentioned. As for myself, you will find, by the account which I have already given you, that my compositions in gardening are altogether after the Pindaric manner, and run into the beautiful wildness of nature, without affecting the nicer elegancies of art. What I am now going to mention, will, perhaps,

season.

my.

deserve

your attention more than any thing I have yet said. I find that in the discourse which I spoke of at the beginning of my letter, you are against filling an English garden with evergreens; and indeed I am so far of your opinion, that I 'can by no means think the verdure of an ever-green comparable to that which shoots out naturally, and clothes our trees in the summer

But I have often wondered that those who are like self, and love to live in gardens, have never thought of contriving a winter-garden, which would consist of such trees only as never cast the leaves. We have very often little snatches of sunshine and fair weather in the most uncomfortable parts of the year,

and have frequently several days in November and January that are as agreeable as any in the finest months. At such times, therefore, I think there could not be a greater pleasure, than to walk in such a winter-garden as I have proposed.

In the summerseason the whole country blooms, and is a kind of garden, for which reason we are not so sensible of those beauties that at this time may be every where met with ; but when nature is in her desolation, and presents us with nothing but bleak and barren prospects, there is something unspeakably chearful in a spot of ground which is covered with trees that smile amidst all the rigours of winter, and give us a view of the most gay season in the midst of that which is the most dead and melancholy. I have so far indulged myself in this thought, that I have set apart a whole acre of ground for the executing of it. The walls are covered with ivy instead of vines. The laurel, the hornbeam, and the holly, with many other trees and plants of the same nature, grow so thick in it, that you cannot imagine a more lively scene. The glowing redness of the berries, with which they are hung at this time, vies with the verdure of their leaves, and are apt to inspire the heart of the beholder with that vernal delight which you have somewhere taken notice of in your former

VOL. V.-20*

.

papers. It is very pleasant, at the same time, to see the several kinds of birds retiring into this little green spot, and enjoying themselves among the branches and foliage, when my great garden, which I have before mentioned to you, does not afford a single leaf for their shelter.

" You must know, sir, that I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden, as one of the most innocent delights in human life. A garden was the habitation of our first parents before the fall. It is naturally apt to fill the mind with calmness and tranquillity, and to lay all its turbulent passions at rest. It gives us a great insight into the contrivance and wisdom of Providence, and suggests innumerable subjects for meditation. I cannot but think the very complacency and satisfaction which a man takes in these works of nature, to be a laudable, if not a virtuous habit of mind. For all which reasons I hope you will

pardon the length of my present letter."

“I am, sir," &c.

C.

No. 481. THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11.

Uti non
Compositus melius cum Bitho Bacchius, in jus
Acres procurrunt-

HOR, 1 Sat. vil. 19.

No better match'd with Bithus, Bacchius strove:
To law they run, and wrangling dearly love.

It is sometimes pleasant enough to consider the different notions, which different persons have of the same thing. If men of low condition very often set a value on things which are not prized by those who are in a higher station of life, there are many things these esteem which are in no value among persons of an inferior rank. Common people are, in particular, very much astonished, when they hear of those solemn contests and debates, which are made among the great upon the punctilios of a public ceremony; and wonder to hear that any business of consequence should be retarded by those little circumstances, which they represent to themselves as trifling and insignificant. I am mightily pleased with a porter's decision in one of Mr. Southern's plays, which is founded upon that fine distress of a virtuous woman's marrying a second husband, while her first was yet liv. • ing. The first husband, who was supposed to have been dead, returning to his house after a long absence, raises a noble perplexity for the tragic part of the play. In the mean while, the nurse and the porter conferring upon the difficulties that would ensue in such a case, honest Sampson thinks the matter may be easily decided, and solves it very judiciously, by the old proverb, that if his first master be still living, ' The man must have his mare again.' There is nothing in my time which has so much surprised and confounded the greatest part of my honest country. men, as the present controversy between Count Rechteren and Monsieur Mesnager, which employs the wise heads of so many nations, and holds all the affairs of Europe in suspense.

* We see, by this agreeable paper, that the author valued himself on the hint, before given, in No. 114, on the manner of laying out gardens. But the praise of having invented this species of gardening, is a poor thing, when compared with that elegant and virtuous habit of mindh which disposed and qualified him for the enjoyment of such simple pleasures.-H.

Upon my going into a coffee-house yesterday, and lending an ear to the next table, which was encompassed with a circle of inferior politicians, one of them, after having read over the news very attentively, broke out into the following remarks. “I am afraid (says he) this unhappy rupture between the footmen at Utrecht will retard the peace of Christendom. I wish the Popo may not be at the bottom of it. His holiness has a very good hand at fomenting a division, as the poor Swiss Cantons have

lately experienced to their cost. If Monsieur What-d'ye-callhim's domestics will not come to an accommodation, I do not know how the quarrel can be ended, but by a religious war.'

"Why truly,' says a wiseacre that sat by him,' were I as the king of France, I would scorn to take part with the footmen of either side: here's all the business of Europe stands still, because Monsieur Mesnager's man has had his head broke. If Count Rectrum had given them a pot of ale after it, all would have been well, without any of this bustle; but they say he is a warm man, and does not care to be made moutlis at.'

Upon this, one, that had held his tongue hitherto, began to exert himself; declaring that he was very well pleased the plenipotentiaries of our Christian princes took this matter into their serious consideration; for that lacqueys were never so saucy and pragmatical, as they are now-a-days, and that he should be glad to see them taken down in the treaty of peace, if it might be done without prejudice to the public affairs.

One, who sat at the other end of the table, and seemed to be in the interest of the French king, told them, that they did not take the matter right, for that his most Christian Majesty did not resent this matter because it was an injury done to Monsieur Mesnager's footmen; for (says he) what are Monsieur Mesnager's footmen to him ? but because it was done to his subjects. Now (says he) let me tell you, it would look very odd for a subject of France to have a bloody nose, and his sovereign not to take notice of it. He is obliged in honour to defend his people against hostilities; and if the Dutch will be so insolent to a crowned head, as in any wise to cuff or kick those who are under his protection, I think he is in the right to call them to an account for it.'

This distinction set the controversy upon a new foot, and seemed to be very well approved by most that heard it, till a little warm fellow, who declared himself a friend to the house of Aus

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »