« PředchozíPokračovat »
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 ansightly 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 has walked in this garden, who was not struck with that part of it which I have here mentioned. As for self, 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 elegances of art. What I am now going to mention, will perhaps 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 evergreen comparable to that which shoots out annually, and clothes our trees in the summer season. But I have often wondered that those who are like myself, and love to live in gardens, have never thought of contriving a winter garden, which should consist of such trees only as never cast their 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 summer season 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 cheerful in a spot of ground which is covered with trees that smile amidst all the rigours of winter, and gives: 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, tbat I have set apart a whole acre of ground for the execution of it. The walls are covered with ivy instead of vines. The laurel, the horn-beam, 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 is apt to inspire the heart of the beholder with that vernal delight which you
have somewhere taken notice of in your former 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 contrivances 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. C.
“I am, Sir,"&c.
N° 478. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1712.
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 72.
many things to buy for his family, would oblige me to walk with him to the shops. He was very nice in his way, and fond of having every thing shewn; which at first made me very uneasy; but as his humour still continued, the things which I had been staring at along with him began to fill my head, and led me into a set of amusing thoughts concerning them.
“ I fancied it must be very surprising to any one who enters into a detail of fashions to consider how far the vanity of mankind has laid itself out in dress, what a prodigious number of people it maintains, and what a circulation of money it occasions. Providence in this case makes use of the folly which we will not give up, and it becomes instrumental to the support of those who are willing to labour. Hence it is that fringe-makers, lacemen, tire-women, and a number of other trades, which would be useless in a simple state of nature, draw their subsistence; though it is seldom seen that such as these are extremely rich, because their original fault being founded upon vanity, keeps them poor by the light inconstancy of its nature. The variableness of fashion turns the stream of business, which flows from it, into one channel, and anon into another; so that different sets of people sink or flourish in their turns by it.
“ From the shops we retired to the tavern, where I found my
express so much satisfaction for the bargains he had made, that my moral reflections (if I had told them) might have passed for à reproof; so I chose rather to fall in with him, and let the discourse run upon the use of fashions.
“ Here we remembered how much man is governed by his senses, how lively he is struck by the objects which appear to him in an agreeable manner, how much clothes
contribute to make us agreeable objects, and how much we owe it to ourselves that we should
appear so. “We considered man as belonging to societies ; societies as formed of different ranks, and different ranks distinguished by habits, that all proper duty or respect might attend their
appearance. “ We took notice of several advantages which are met with in the occurrences of conversation; how the bashful man has been sometimes so raised, as to express himself with an air of freedom, when he imagines that his habit introduces him to company with a becoming manner; and again, how a fool in fine clothes shall be suddenly heard with attention, till he has betrayed himself; whereas a man of sense, appearing with a dress of negligence, shall be but coldly received till he be proved by time, and established in a character. Such things as these we could recollect to have happened to our own knowledge so very often, that we concluded the author had his reasons, who advises his son to go in dress rather above his fortune than under it.
"At last the subject seemed so considerable, that it was proposed to have a repository built for fashions, as there are chambers for medals and other rarities. The building may be shaped as that which stands
the pyramids, in the form of a woman's head. This
be raised upon pillars, whose ornaments shall bear a just relation to the design. Thus there may be an imitation of fringe carved in the base, a sort of appearance of lace in the frieze, and a representation of curling locks, with bows of riband sloping over them, may fill up the work of the cornice. The inside may be divided into two apartments appropriated to each sex. The apartments may be filled with shelves, on which boxes are to stand as regularly as books in a library. These are to have foldingdoors, which being opened, you are to behold a baby dressed out in some fashion which has fourished, and standing upon a pedestal, where the time of its reign is marked down. For its farther regulation let it be ordered, that every one who invents a fashion shall bring in his box, whose front he may at pleasure have either worked or painted with some amorous or gay device, that, like books with gilded leaves and covers, it may the sooner
draw the eyes of the beholders. And to the end that these
may be preserved with all due care, let there be a keeper appointed, who shall be a gentleman qualified with a competent knowledge in clothes, so that by this means the place will be a comfortable support for some beau who has spent his estate in dressing.
“The reasons offered, by which we expected to gain the approbation of the public, were as follow:
“First, That every one who is considerable enough to be a mode, or has any imperfection of nature or chance, which it is possible to hide by the advantage of clothes, may, by coming to this repository, be furnished herself, and furnish all, who are under the same misfortune, with the most agreeable manner of concealing it: and that, on the other side, every one who has any beauty in face or shape, may also be furnished with the most agreeable manner of shewing it.
“ Secondly, That whereas some of our young gentlemen who travel, give us great reason to suspect that they only go abroad to make or improve a fancy for dress, a project of this nature may be a means to keep them at home; which is in effect the keeping of so much money in the kingdom. And perhaps the balance of fashion in Europe, which now leans
upon the side of France, may be so altered for the future, that it may become as common with Frenchmen to come to England for their finishing stroke of breeding, as it has been for Englishmen to go to France for it.
“ Thirdly, Whereas several great scholars, who might have been otherwise useful to the world, have spent their time in studying to describe the dresses of the ancients from dark hints, which they are fain to interpret and support with much learning : it will from henceforth happen that they shall be freed from the trouble, and the world from useless volumes. This project will be a registry, to which posterity may have recourse, for the clearing such obscure passages as tend that way in authors; and therefore we shall not for the future submit ourselves to the learning of etymology, which might persuade the age to come that the farthingale was worn for cheapness, or the furbelow for warmth.
Fourthly, whereas they, who are old themselves, have often a way of railing at the extravagance of youth, and