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Mason's "English Garden."
*A garden is the purest of human pleasures; it is the greatest refreshment to the spirit of naa, withont which buildings and palaces are but gross handy-works. And I man eball ever see, that when ages grow to civility and elegance, men come to build stately, sooner than to garden anely : as if gardening were the greater perfection.' - VERULAM.
While Memory holds her seat, thy image still
ADDRESS TO TRAVELLING ENGLISHMEN OF TASTE.
Begin the Song ! and ye of Albion's sons Attend ; ye freeborn, ye ingenuous few, Who, heirs of competence, if not of wealth, Preserve that vestal purity of soul (youths, Whence genuine taste proceeds. To you, blest I sing ; whether in Academic groves Studious ye rove; or, fraught with learning's stores, Visit the Latian plain, fond to transplant Those arts which Greece did, with her Liberty, Resign to Rome.
LANDSCAPE GARDENING UNKNOWN TO THE ROMANS.
DEDICATION TO SIMPLICITY, THE ARBITRESS. To thee, divine Simplicity ! to thee, Best arbitress of what is good and fair, This verse belongs. O, as it freely flows, Give it thy powers of pleasing : else in vain It strives to teach the rules, from Nature drawn, Of import high to those whose taste would add To Nature's careless graces ; loveliest then, When, o'er her form, thy easy skill has taught The robe of Spring in ampler folds to flow. Haste, Goddess ! to the woods, the lawns, the vales; That lie in rude luxuriance, and but wait Thy call to bloom with beauty. I, meanwhile, Attendant on thy state serene, will mark Its faery progress ; wake th' accordant string ; And tell how far, beyond the transient glare Of fickle fashion, or of formal art, Thy flowery works with charm perennial please.
INVOCATION TO POETIC AND ARTISTIC FANCY. Ye too, ye sister Powers ! that at my birth Auspicious smiled ; and o'er my cradle dropped Those magic seeds of Fancy, which produce A Poet's feeling, and a Painter's eye, Come to your votary's aid. For well ye know How soon my infant accents lisped the rhyme, How soon my hands the mimic colors spread, And vainly strove to snatch a double wreath From Fame's unfading laurel : fruitless aim : Yet not inglorious ; nor perchance devoid Of friendly use to this fair argument; If so, with lenient smiles, ye deign to cheer, At this sad hour,' my desolated soul.
WHY THE AUTHOR WRITES. - TRIBUTE TO MRS. MASON.
For deem' not ye that I resume the strain To court the world's applause : my years mature Have learned to slight the toy. No,'t is to soothe That agony of heart, which they alone, Who best have loved, who best have been beloved, Can feel, or pity : sympathy severe ! Which she too felt, when on her pallid lip The last farewell hung trembling, and bespoke A wish to linger here, and bless the arms She left for heaven. She died, and heaven is hers ! Be mine, the pensive solitary balm That recollection yields. Yes, Angel pure !
1 Written shortly after the death of the author's wife.
Yet know, the art I sing Ev'n there ye shall not learn. Rome knew it not While Rome was free. Ah ! hope not then to find In slavish, superstitious Rome the fair Remains. Meanwhile, of old and classic aid Tho' fruitless be the search, your eyes entranced Sball catch those glowing scenes, that taught a To grace his canvas with Hesperian hues : (Claude And soenes like these, on Memory's tablet drawn, Bring back to Britain ; there give local form To each idea ; and, if Nature lend Materials fit of torrent, rock, and shade, Produce new Tivolis. But learn to rein, O Youth ! whose skill essays the arduous task, That skill within the limit she allows.
NATURE TO BE MENDED, NOT MADE.
Great Nature scorns control : she will not bear One beauty foreign to the spot or soil She gives thee to adorn : 't is thine alone To mend, not change her features. Does her hand Stretch forth a level lawn? Ah, hope not thou To lift the mountain there. Do mountains frown Around? Ah, wish not there the level lawn. Yet she perinits thy art, discreetly used, To smooth the rugged and to swell the plain. But dare with caution ; else expect, bold man ! The injured Genius of the place to rise In self-defence, and, like some giant fiend That frowns in Gothic story, swift destroy, By night, the puny labors of thy day.
NO SPOT ENTIRELY INCAPABLE OF BEAUTY. -ART.
What then must he attempt, whom niggard Fate Has fixed in such an inauspicious spot As bears no trace of beauty ? Must he sit Dull and inactive in the desert waste, If Nature there no happy feature wears To wake and meet his skill? Believe the Muse, She does not know that inauspicious spot Where Beauty is thus niggard of her store : Believe the Muse, through this terrestrial vast The seeds of grace are sown, profusely sown, Ev'n where we least may hope : the desert hills Will hear the call of Art ; the valleys dank Obey her just bebests, and smile with charms Congenial to the soil, and all its own.
And each has left a blessing as it rolled :
THE DELL FAVORABLE TO MEDITATION. THE POET, THE
NATURALIST. -THE PAINTER.
THE DESERT IS ONLY WHERE MAN IS NOT ; IN BEAUTIFYING
IT, LABOR LEADS ART. — THE NEW SETTLER.' For tell me, where 's the desert ? there alone Where man resides not; or, if 'chance resides, He is not there the man his Maker formed, Industrious man, by heaven's first law ordained To earn his food by labor. In the waste Place thou that man with his primeval arms, His ploughshare, and his spade; nor shalt thou long Impatient wait a change ; the waste shall smile With yellow harvests ; what was barren heath Shall soon be verdant mead. Now let thy Art Exert its powers, and give, by varying lines, The soil, already tamed, its finished grace.
Here, meanwhile, Even in the dull, unseen, unseeing dell, Thy taste contemns, shall Contemplation imp Her eagle plumes ; the Poet here shall hold Sweet converse with his Muse ; the curious Sage, Who comments on great Nature's ample tome, Shall find that volume here. For here are caves, Where rise those gurgling rills, that sing the song Which Contemplation loves ; here shadowy glades, Where through the tremulous foliage darts the ray That gilds the Poet's day-dream ; here the turf Tooms with the vegetating race ; the air Is peopled with the insect tribes, that float Upon the noontide beam, and call the Sage To number and to name them.
WHAT SCENERY POSSIBLE IN A VALE. RUISDALE. INTO
CATION TO THE MUSE OF PAINTING.
IN BEAUTIFYING A WET DALE, ART LEADS LABOR. Nor less obsequious to the hand of toil, If Fancy guide that hand, will the dank vale Receive improvement meet ; but Fancy here Must lead, not follow Labor ; she must tell In what peculiar place the soil shall rise, [wear, Where sink ; prescribe what form each sluice shall And how direct its course ; whether to spread Broad as a lake, or, as a river pent By fringéd banks, weave its irriguous way Through lawn and shade alternate : for if she Preside not o'er the task, the narrow drains Will run in tedious parallel, or cut Each other in sharp angles ; hence implore Her swift assistance, ere the ruthless spade Too deeply wound the bosom of the soil.
Nor if here The Painter comes, shall his enchanting art Go back without a boon : for Fancy here, With Nature's living colors, forms a scene Which Ruisdale best might rival : crystal lakes, O’er which the giant oak, himself a grove, Flings his romantic branches, and beholds His reverend image in th' expanse below. If distant hills be wanting, yet our eye Forgets the want, and with delighted gaze Rests on the lovely foreground ; there applauds The art, which, varying forms and blending hues, Gives that harmonious force of shade and light, Which makes the landscape perfect. Art like this Is only art, all else abortive toil. Come, then, thou Sister Muse, from whom the mind Wins for her airy visions color, form, And fixed locality, sweet Painting, come To teach the docile pupil of my song How much his practice on thy aid depends.
THE ART OF LANDSCAPE PAINTING AND GARDENING.
COLORS. -- FOLIAGE.
FANCY'S TASK TO BEAUTIFY A LOW VALE DIFFICULT, YET NOT
IMPOSSIBLE. — RICHMOND. - WINDSOR, Yet, in this lowly site, where all that charms Within itself must charm, hard is the task Imposed on Fancy. Hence with idle fear! Is she not Fancy ? and can Fancy fail In sweet delusions, in concealments apt, And wild creative power? She cannot fail. And yet, full oft, when her creative power, Her apt concealments, her delusions sweet, Have been profusely lavished ; when her groves Have shot, with vegetative vigor strong, Ev'n to their wished maturity ; when Jove Has rolled the changeful seasons o'er her lawns,
Of Nature's various scenes the Painter culls That for his fav'rite theme, where the fair whole Is broken into ample parts, and bold; Where to the eye three well-marked distances Spread their peculiar coloring. Vivid green, Warm brown, and black opaque the foreground bears Conspicuous ; sober olive coldly marks The second distance ; thence the third declines
POVERTY OF FORESTING FORBIDDEX. - AMPLY FLOWING LINES
OF FOREST. - ELM. CHESTNUT. -OAK. SIMILE OF THE
ARRANGEMENT OF SHRUBBERY AND TREES.
HOW TO SHOW A PROSPECT.
In softer blue, or, less'ning still, lost
Does then the song forbid the planter's hand
To clothe the distant hills, and veil with woods As does the painter, and like him apply Thy colors : plant thou on each separate part
Their barren summits? No ; it but forbids
All poverty of clothing. Rich the robe,
Her horizontal march, pursue her step
With sweeping train of forest ; hill to hill
Unite with prodigality of shade. That flowers, that shrubs, that trees can yield, the
There plant thy elm, thy chestnut ; nourish there sides
Those sapling oaks, which, at Britannia's call, Of that fair path, from whence our sight is led
May heave their trunks mature into the main, Gradual to view the whole. Where'er thou wind'st
And float the bulwarks of her liberty : That path, take heed between the scene and eye
But if the fir, give it its station meet; To vary and to mix thy chosen greens.
Place it an outguard to th' assailing north, Here for a while with cedar or with larch, [hide To shield the infant scions, till possessed That from the ground spread their close texture,
Of native strength, they learn alike to scorn
The blast and their protectors. Fostered thus,
His future vigor ; but, that vigor felt,
THE PRINCIPLES OF LANDSCAPE. — BROAD CONTRASTS. How long soe'er the wanderer roves, each step Shall wake fresh beauties ; each short point present
If yet thy art be dubious how to treat A different picture, new, and yet the same.
Nature's neglected features, turn thy eye
To those, the masters of correct design, CAUTION AS TO FELLING TREES. -POUSSIN. - CLAUDE. Who, from her vast variety, have culled
The loveliest, boldest parts, and new arranged ; Yet some there are who scorn this cautious rule, And fell each tree that intercepts the scene.
Yet, as herself approved, herself inspired.
In their immortal works thou ne'er shalt find
Dull uniformity, contrivance quaint,
Or labored littleness ; but contrasts broad,
And careless lines, whose undulating forms
Play through the varied canvas : these transplant Like outrage, and bewails a beauty lost,
Again on Nature ; take thy plastic spade,
It is thy pencil ; take thy seeds, thy plants,
With interest every charm she lent thy art.
Nor, while I thus to Imitation's realm
Direct thy step, deem I direct thee wrong ; His fence he scatters ; there the Scottish fir
Nor ask, why I forget great Nature's fount, In murky file lifts his inglorious head,
And bring thee not the bright inspiring cup And blots the fair horizon. So should art
From her original spring. Yet, if thou ask'st, Improve thy pencil's savage dignity,
Thyself shalt give the answer. Tell me why Salvator! if where, far as eye can pierce,
Did Raphael steal, when his creative hand
Imaged the seraphim, ideal grace
Of Attic sculpture, which the ruthless Goth This deed were impious. Ah, forgive the thought, Spared in his headlong fury! Tell me this : Thou more than painter, more than poet! He And then confess that beauty best is taught Alone thy equal, who was • Fancy's child.'
By those, the favored few, whom Heaven has lent
PERFECTION FROM UNION OF ART AND NATURE. RAPHAEL.
- COMBINE SELECTED EXCELLENCES.
AIM AT AN IDEAL. - VARIETY SCORNS THE CUBE AND CONE.
THE BARSHNESS OF ART MELLOWED BY TIME.- ROIXS.
NEY.-SURRY - SHADOWY POMP.
The power to seize, select, and reünite
THE WILD-WOOD GLADES OF BRITAIN. Her loveliest features ; and of these to form
And yet, my Albion ! in that fair domain, One archetype complete of sovereign grace. Which ocean made thy dowry, when his love Here Nature sees her fairest forms more fair ; Tempestuous tore thee from reluctant Gaul, Owns them for hers, yet owns herself excelled And bade thee be his queen, there still remains By what herself produced. Here Art and she Full many a lovely, unfrequented wild, Embrace ; connubial Juno smiles benign,
Where change like this is needless ; where no lines And from the warm embrace Perfection springs. Of hedge-row, avenue, or of platform square,
Demand destruction. In thy fair domain,
Yes, my loved Albion ! many a glade is found, Rouse then each latent energy of soul,
The haunt of wood-gods only ; where, if Art To clasp ideal beauty. Proteus-like,
E’er dared to tread, 't was with unsandalled foot. Think not the changeful nymph will long elude
Printless, as if the place were holy ground. Thy chase, or with reluctant coyness frown.
And there are scenes, where, though she whilom Inspired by her, thy happy art shall learn
Led by the worst of guides, fell Tyranny, (trod, To melt in fluent curves whate'er is straight,
And ruthless Superstition, we now trace Acute, or parallel. For, these unchanged,
Her footsteps with delight; and pleased revere Nature and she disdain the formal scene.
What once had roused our hatred.
But to Time,
Which, when it frowned with all its battlements, Hence springs their enmity; and he that hopes Was only terrible ; and many a fane To reconcile the foes, as well might aim
Monastic, which, when decked with all its spires, With hawk and dove to draw the Cyprian car. Served but to feed some pampered abbot's pride,
And awe the unlettered vulgar. Generous youth, HOW TO TREAT A RIGID ROW OF VENERABLE OAKS. — SID
Whoe'er thou art, that listen'st to my lay,
And feel’st thy soul assent to what I sing, Such sentenco passed, where shall the Dryads fly Happy art thou if thou canst call thine own That haunt yon ancient vista? Pity, sure,
Such scenes as these : where Nature and where Will spare the long cathedral aisle of shade
Time In which they sojourn ; taste were sacrilege,
Have worked congenial; where a scattered host If, lifting there the axe, it dared invade
Of antique oaks darken thy sidelong hills ; Those spreading oaks that in fraternal files
While, rushing through their branches, rifted cliffs Have paired for centuries, and heard the strains
Dart their white heads, and glitter through the Of Sidney's, nay, perchance, of Surry's reed.
More happy still, if one superior rock (gloom. Yet must they fall, unless mechanic skill,
Bear on its brow the shivered fragment huge To save her offspring, rouse at our command ;
Of some old Norman fortress ; happier far, And, where we bid her move, with engine huge,
Ah, then most happy, if thy vale below
Wash, with the crystal coolness of its rills,
Some mouldering abbey's ivy-vested wall.
EXPENSIVE FOLLY OF OLD-FASHIOXED GARDENING. - STIFFYet needful. Trust me, though I bid thee strike, Reluctantly I bid thee : for my soul
O how unlike the scene my fancy forms, Holds dear an ancient oak, nothing more dear ; Did Folly, heretofore, with Wealth conspire It is an ancient friend. Stay then thine hand ; To plan that formal, dull, disjointed scene, And try by saplings tall, discreetly placed
Which once was called a garden! Britain still Before, between, behind, in scattered groups, Bears on her breast full many a hideous wound To break the obdurate line. So may'st thou save Given by the cruel pair, when, borrowing aid A chosen few ; and yet, alas, but few
From geometric skill, they vainly strove of these, the old protectors of the plain.
By line, by plummet, and unfeeling shears, Yet shall these few give to thy opening lawn To form with verdure what the builder formed That shadowy pomp, which only they can give : With stone. Egregious madness; yet pursued For parted now, in patriarchal pride,
With pains unwearied, with expense unsummed, Each tree becomes the father of a tribe ;
And science doting. Hence the sidelong walls And, o'er the stripling foliage, rising round, Of shaven yew ; the holly's prickly arms Towers with parental dig supreme.
Trimmed into high arcades ; the tonsile box
NESS. - YEW HOLLY. - BOX. - CANAL.-TERRACE.
Wove, in mosaic mode, of many & curl,
Received, and to mankind with ray reflex
TEMPLE'S IDEA OF A GARDEX. --BARENESS. -STIFFXESS.
REFORM IN LANDSCAPE GARDENING DUE TO BACON, THE
PROPHET OF A TRUE TASTE.
LORD BACON'S GARDEN.- A SWEET PICTURE.
Go to the proof! behold what Temple called A perfect garden. There thou shalt not find One blade of verdure, but with aching feet From terras down to terras shalt descend, Step following step, by tedious flight of stairs : On leaden platforms now the noon-day sun Shall scorch thee ; now the dank arcades of stone Shall chill thy fervor ; happy, if at length Thou reach the orchard, where the sparing turf Through equal lines, all centring in a point, Yields thee a softer tread. And yet full oft O'er Temple's studious hour did Truth preside, Sprinkling her lustre o'er his classic page : There hear his candor own in fashion's spite, In spite of courtly dulness, hear it own • There is a grace in wild variety Surpassing rule and order.' Temple,? yes, There is a grace ; and let eternal wreaths Adorn their brows who fixed its empire here.
SPENSER'S RESIDENCE.- ART SECONDING NATCRE.
Thus, with a poet's power, the sage's pen Portrayed that nicer negligence of scene, Which Taste approves. While he, delicious swain, Who tuned his oaten pipe by Mulla's stream, Accordant touched the stops in Dorian mood; What time he 'gan to paint the fairy vale, Where stands the Fane of Venus. Well I ween That then, if ever, Colin, thy fond hand Did steep its poncil in the well-fount clear Of true simplicity; and called in Art Only to second Nature, and supply All that the nymph forgot, or left forlorn.' 1
REFORMERS OF GARDENING; ADDISON, POPE, KENT,
SOUTHCOTE, SHENSTONE, CAPABILITY BROWN.' The muse shall hail the champions that herself Led to the fair achievement. Addison, Thou polished sage, or shall I call thee bard,
see thee come : around thy temples play The lambent flames of humor, brightening mild Thy judgment into smiles ; gracious thou com'st With Satire at thy side, who checks her frown, But not her secret sting. With bolder rage Pope next advances ; his indignant arm Waves the poetic brand o'er Timon's shades, And lights them to destrucion ; the fierce blaze
MILTOX THE HERALD OF A TRUE TASTE. HIS DESCRIPTION
OF PARADISE. CHARLES II. - WILLIAM III.
Yet what availed the song ? or what availed Even thine, thou chief of bards, whose mighty mind, With inward light irradiato, mirror-like
1 See Milton's Paradise Lost, book 4.
2 See Sir William Temple's Miscellanies,' vol. 1., p. 186, fol. ed.
1 See Spenser's Faery Queene, book 4, canto 10.