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Sweeps thro' each kindred vista; groves to groves 1
EXHORTATION TO THE LIBERAL CULTIVATION OF TRUE TASTE IN GARDENING, REYNOLDS. —GARRICK.
Meanwhile, ye youths! whose sympathetic souls Would taste those genuine charms, which faintly In my descriptive song, O visit oft [smile The finished scenes, that boast the forming hand Of these creative Genii! feel ye there
What Reynolds felt, when first the Vatican
A PICTURE OF ENGLAND IMPROVED BY TASTE.
So shall your Art, if called to grace a scene Yet unadorned, with taste instinctive give Each grace appropriate; to your active eye Shall dart that glance prophetic, which awakes The slumbering wood-nymphs; gladly shall they rise Oread, and Dryad, from their verdurous beds, And fling their foliage, and arrange their stems, As you and beauty bid: the Naiad train, Alike obsequious, from a thousand urns Pour their crystalline tide; while, hand in hand, Vertumnus and Pomona bring their stores,
1 See Pope's Epistle on False Taste, to the Earl of Burlington.
2 Mr. Southcote first introduced the Ferme orné.'
Fruitage, and flowers of every blush, and scent,
THE ART OF LANDSCAPE GARDENING.— NATURE TO BE RESTORED AND AMENDED, NOT DEFORMED. TASTE NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THRIFT.-USE AND BEAUTY INSEPARABLE. -USE AN ELEMENT OF TRUE ART.
Hail to the art that teaches Wealth and Pride
Which fills the fields with plenty. Hail that art,
That works this happy change! true alchemy,
And pleased restores to earth's maternal lap
LONG STRAIGHT LINES AND LABYRINTHINE TRICKS TO BE
When such the theme, the poet smiles secure
In Nature's cause, that Albion's listening youths,
Those quick, acute, perplexed, and tangled paths,
1 An allusion to the supposed favorable effects of the harvest-moon.
2 Hesiod, the earliest poet of rural economics, was of the Greek village of Ascra; hence 'Ascræan' is put for‘rural.'
Mislead our step; till giddy, spent, and foiled, We reach the point where first our race began.
THE TRUE LINE OF BEAUTY; NATURE'S USUAL CURVE; SEEN IN THE OX-FURROW; THE TEAM-RUT; THE MILK-MAID'S PATH; THE COURSE OF THE HARE; THE STREAM.
These Fancy prized erroneous, what time Taste, An infant yet, first joined her to destroy The measured platform; into false extremes What marvel if they strayed, as yet unskilled To mark the form of that peculiar curve, Alike averse to crooked and to straight, Where sweet Simplicity resides; which Grace And Beauty call their own; whose lambent flow Charms us at once with symmetry and ease. Tis Nature's curve, instinctively she bids Her tribes of being trace it. Down the slope Of yon wide field, see, with its gradual sweep, The ploughing steers their fallow ridges swell; The peasant, driving through each shadowy lane His team, that bends beneath the incumbent weight Of laughing Ceres, marks it with his wheel; At night and morn, the milk-maid's careless step Has, through yon pasture green, from stile to stile, Impressed a kindred curve; the scudding hare Draws to her dew-sprent seat, o'er thymy heaths, A path as gently waving; mark them well; Compare, pronounce, that, varying but in size, Their forms are kindred all; go then, convinced That Art's unerring rule is only drawn From Nature's sacred source; a rule that guides Her every toil; or, if she shape the path, Or scoop the lawn, or gradual lift the hill. For not alone to that embellished walk, Which leads to every beauty of the scene, It yields a grace, but spreads its influence wide, Prescribes each form of thicket, copse, or wood, Confines the rivulet, and spreads the lake.
CONTRAST THIS CURVE WITH OTHER LINES; AVOID MONOTONY; STUDY VARIETY AND FREEDOM.
Yet shall this graceful line forget to please, If bordered close by sidelong parallels, Nor duly mixt with those opposing curves That give the charm of contrast. Vainly Taste Draws through the grove her path in easiest bend, If, on the margin of its woody sides, The measured greensward waves in kindred flow: Oft let the turf recede, and oft approach, With varied breadth, now sink into the shade, Now to the sun its verdant bosom bare. As vainly wilt thou lift the gradual hill To meet thy right-hand view, if to the left An equal hill ascends: in this, and all, Be various, wild, and free as Nature's self.
NATURE'S EXPEDIENTS TO GIVE VARIETY. HOW FAR ART CAN DO THE SAME.
For in her wildness is there oft an art, Or seeming art, which, by position apt, Arranges shapes unequal, so to save That correspondent poise, which unpreserved Would mock our gaze with airy vacancy.
Yet fair Variety with all her powers
She rules the foreground; she can swell or sink
And there withdraw; here part the varying greens,
STUDY THE LANDSCAPE AS IT IS. CONSULT THE GENIUS OF THE PLACE.' LET ART ADAPT ITSELF TO THE CHARACTER OF THE LOCALITY. UNITY.
Him, then, that sovereign Genius, monarch sole, Who, from creation's primal day, derives His right divine to this his rural throne, Approach with meet obeisance; at his feet Let our awed art fall prostrate. They of Ind, The Tartar tyrants, Tamerlane's proud race, Or they in Persia throned, who shake the rod Of power o'er myriads of enervate slaves, Expect not humbler homage to their pride Than does this sylvan despot. Yet to those Who do him loyal service, who revere His dignity, nor aim, with rebel arms, At lawless usurpation, is he found Patient and placable, receives well pleased Their tributary treasures, nor disdains To blend them with his own internal store.
HOW TO MANAGE A LANDSCAPE WHOSE PREVAILING CHARACTERISTIC IS DESOLATION, AND SAVAGE HORROR, CHANGED TO BOLD AND WILD GRANDEUR.
Stands he in blank and desolated state,
Where yawning crags disjointed, sharp, uncouth,
Of early underwood shall veil their sides,
HOW TO TREAT A DREARY LEVEL; OR A LUXURIANT TANGLED COPSE, OR RANK SWAMPY WILD.
On some plain Of tedious length, say, are his flat limbs laid? Thy hand shall lift him from the dreary couch, Pillowing his head with swelling hillocks green, While, all around, a forest-curtain spreads Its waving folds, and blesses his repose. What, if perchance in some prolific soil, Where vegetation strenuous, uncontrolled, Has pushed her powers luxuriant, he now pines For air and freedom? Soon thy sturdy axe,
Amid its intertwisted foliage driven,
grace his state, their boughs obtrusive flung.
THE RESPECTIVE LIMITS OF PLEASURE AND USE. THRIFT MAY BE RECONCILED WITH BEAUTY. HOW TO SOFTEN A
But chief consult him ere thou dar'st decide The appropriate bounds of Pleasure, and of Use; For Pleasure, lawless robber, oft invades Her neighbor's right, and turns to idle waste Her treasures: curb her then in scanty bounds, Whene'er the scene permits that just restraint. The curb restrains not Beauty; sovereign she Still triumphs, still unites each subject realm, And blesses both impartial. Why then fear Lest, if thy fence contract the shaven lawn, It does her wrong? She points a thousand ways, And each her own, to cure the needful ill. Where'er it winds, and freely must it wind, She bids, at every bend, thick-blossomed tufts Crowd their inwoven tendrils: is there still A void? Lo, Lebanon her cedar lends! Lo, all the stately progeny of pines Come, with their floating foliage richly decked, To fill that void! meanwhile across the mead The wandering flocks that browse between the shades Seem oft to pass their bounds; the dubious eye Decides not if they crop the mead or lawn.
BROWSING SHEEP KEEP THE GRASS SHORT AND VERDANT.
Browse then your fill, fond foresters! to you Shall sturdy Labor quit his morning task Well pleased; nor longer o'er his useless plots Draw through the dew the splendor of his scythe. He, leaning on that scythe, with carols gay Salutes his fleecy substitutes, that rush In bleating chase to their delicious task, And, spreading o'er the plain, with eager teeth Devour it into verdure. Browse your fill, Fond foresters! the soil that you enrich Shall still supply your morn and evening meal With choicest delicates; whether you choose The vernal blades, that rise with seeded stem Of hue purpureal; or the clover white, That in a spiked ball collects its sweets; Or trembling fescue: every favorite herb Shall court your taste, ye harmless epicures !
SHEEP GIVE THE CHARM OF LIFE TO THE LANDSCAPE. A REMINISCENCE OF PRIMEVAL INNOCENCE. — THE GOLDEN AGE DESCRIBED.
Meanwhile permit that with unheeded step I pass beside you, nor let idle fear Spoil your repast, for know the lively scene, That you still more enliven, to my soul
Darts inspiration, and impels the song
That felt for all, and blest them with its smiles.
CONTRAST OF THE PRESENT AGE. THE LAMB AND HONEYSUCKLE MISCHIEF.
The flocks, to whom the grassy lawn was given, Fed on its blades contented; now they crush Each scion's tender shoots, and, at its birth, Destroy, what, saved from their remorseless tooth, Had been the tree of Jove. E'en while I sing, Yon wanton lamb has cropt the woodbine's pride, That bent beneath a full-blown load of sweets, And filled the air with perfume; see it falls; The busy bees, with many a murmur sad, Hang o'er their honeyed loss. Why is it thus? Ah, why must Art defend the friendly shades She reared to shield you from the noontide beam? Traitors, forbear to wound them! say, ye fools! Does your rich herbage fail? do acrid leaves Afford you daintier food? I plead in vain ; For now the father of the fleecy troop Begins his devastation, and his ewes Crowd to the spoil, with imitative zeal.
THE ART OF MAKING FENCES. NECESSARY DEFECTS.
Since then, constrained, we must expel the flock From where our saplings rise, our flowerets bloom, The song shall teach, in clear preceptive notes, How best to frame the fence, and best to hide All its foreseen defects; defective still, Though hid with happiest art. Ingrateful sure, When such the theme, becomes the poet's task: Yet must he try, by modulation meet Of varied cadence, and selected phrase, Exact yet free, without inflation bold, To dignify that theme, must try to form Such magic sympathy of sense with sound As pictures all it sings; while Grace awakes
THE SUNKEN FENCE; FOR DEER; FOR SHEEP. The first and best Is that, which, sinking from our eye, divides, Yet seems not to divide the shaven lawn, And parts it from the pasture; for if there Sheep feed, or dappled deer, their wandering teeth Will, smoothly as the scythe, the herbage shave, And leave a kindred verdure. This to keep Heed that thy laborer scoop the trench with care; For some there are who give their spade repose, When broad enough the perpendicular sides Divide, and deep descend to form perchance Some needful drain, such labor may suffice, Yet not for beauty here thy range of wall Must lift its height erect, and o'er its head A verdant veil of swelling turf expand; While smoothly from its base, with gradual ease, The pasture meets its level, at that point Which best deludes our eye, and best conceals Thy lawn's brief limit. Down so smooth a slope The fleecy foragers will gladly browse ; The velvet herbage free from weeds obscene Shall spread its equal carpet, and the trench Be pasture to its base. Thus form thy fence Of stone, for stone alone, and piled on high, Best curbs the nimble deer, that love to range Unlimited; but where tame heifers feed,
Or innocent sheep, an humbler mound will serve,
THE WIRE FENCE. THE HILL-SIDE PATH.-DEER CHECKED BY A HORIZONTAL STRING AND FEATHERS. FANCIFUL FEARS.
Yet learn, that each variety of ground Claims its peculiar barrier. When the foss Can steal transverse before the central eye, 'Tis duly drawn; but, up yon neighboring hill That fronts the lawn direct, if labor delve The yawning chasm, 't will meet, not cross our view; No foliage can conceal, no curve correct, The deep deformity. And yet thou mean'st
Up yonder hill to wind thy fragrant way,
That leads to all these charms expects defence:
DISADVANTAGES OF A STRING-FENCE. - MAN ALONE BROOKS THRALDOM. ELM AND OAK FENCE.
Still must the swain, who spreads these corded guards,
Expect their swift decay. The noontide beams
Who deems a monarch's smile can gild his chains.
Of firmest juncture; happy could thy toil
TAWDRY PAINTED FENCES.
Let those, who weekly, from the city's smoke, Crowd to each neighboring hamlet, there to hold Their dusty Sabbath, tip with gold and red The milk-white palisades, that Gothic now, And now Chinese, now neither, and yet both, Checker their trim domain. Thy sylvan scene Would fade, indignant at the tawdry glare.
'Tis thine alone to seek what shadowy hues Tinging thy fence may lose it in the lawn;
1 The twine string has generally feathers tied along it. Virgil alludes to it in Georgics, Book III., line 368; also in his fifth Æneid, line 749.
And these to give thee Painting must descend Ev'n to her meanest office; grind, compound, Compare, and by the distanced eye decide.
HOW TO PREPARE A PAINT PROPER FOR A FENCE. OLIVE TINTS BEST.
For this she first, with snowy ceruse, joins The ocherous atoms that chalybeate rills Wash from their mineral channels, as they glide, In flakes of earthy gold; with these unites A tinge of blue, or that deep azure gray, Formed from the calcined fibres of the vine; And, if she blends, with sparing hand she blends That base metallic drug then only prized, When, aided by the humid touch of Time, It gives a Nero's or some tyrant's cheek Its precious canker. These, with fluent oil Attempered, on thy lengthening rail shall spread That sober olive-green which Nature wears E'en on her vernal bosom: nor misdeem, For that, illumined with the noontide ray, She boasts a brighter garment; therefore Art A livelier verdure to thy aid should bring. Know when that Art, with every varied hue, Portrays the living landscape; when her hand Commands the canvas plane to glide with streams, To wave with foliage, or with flowers to breathe, Cool olive tints, in soft gradation laid, Create the general herbage there alone, Where darts, with vivid force, the ray supreme, Unsullied verdure reigns; and tells our eye It stole its bright reflection from the sun.
THE EFFECT OF PAINT COMPARED TO A MIST.-THE COT.
The paint is spread; the barrier pales retire, Snatched, as by magic, from the gazer's view. So, when the sable ensign of the night, Unfurled by mist-impelling Eurus, veils The last red radiance of declining day, Each scattered village, and each holy spire That decked the distance of the sylvan scene, Are sunk in sudden gloom: the plodding hind, That homeward hies, kens not the cheering site Of his calm cabin, which, a moment past, Streamed from its roof an azure curl of smoke, Beneath the sheltering coppice, and gave sign Of warm domestic welcome from his toil.
THE COTTER'S HEALTHY CHILDREN. HIRE THEM AS A LIVING FENCE. THE ROSE OF INNOCENCE.
Nor is that cot, of which fond fancy draws This casual picture, alien from our theme. Revisit it at morn; its opening latch, Though penury and toil within reside, Shall pour thee forth a youthful progeny Glowing with health and beauty (such the dower Of equal Heaven): see, how the ruddy tribe Throng round the threshold, and, with vacant gaze, Salute thee; call the loiterers into use, And form of these thy fence, the living fence That graces what it guards. Thou think'st, perchance,
That, skilled in Nature's heraldry, thy art
MAKE THE CHILDREN SHEPHERDS. HOW THEY ARE TO BE CLOTHED AND ARMED. A LIVING, HAPPY ORNAMENT.
Want, alas! Has o'er their little limbs her livery hung, In many a tattered fold, yet still those limbs Are shapely; their rude locks start from their brow, Yet, on that open brow, its dearest throne, Sits sweet Simplicity. Ah, clothe the troop In such a russet garb as best befits Their pastoral office; let the leathern scrip Swing at their side, tip thou their crook with steel, And braid their hat with rushes, then to each Assign his station; at the close of eve, Be it their care to pen in hurdled cote The flock, and when the matin prime returns, Their care to set them free; yet watching still The liberty they lend, oft shalt thou hear Their whistle shrill, and oft their faithful dog Shall with obedient barkings fright the flock From wrong or robbery. The livelong day Meantime rolls lightly o'er their happy heads; They bask on sunny hillocks, or disport In rustic pastime, while the loveliest grace, Which only lives in action unrestrained, To every simple gesture lends a charm.
COUNTRY CHILDREN COMPARED TO SPRING. THE FOUR SEASONS OF MAN.
Pride of the year, purpureal Spring! attend, And in the cheek of these sweet innocents Behold your beauties pictured. As the cloud That weeps its moment from thy sapphire heaven, They frown with causeless sorrow; as the beam, Gilding that cloud, with causeless mirth they smile. Stay, pitying Time! prolong their vernal bliss. Alas! ere we can note it in our song, Comes manhood's feverish summer, chilled full soon By cold autumnal care, till wintry age Sinks in the frore severity of death.
RETIREMENT. — SELF-IMPROVEMENT. SELF-CONTENT.
Ah! who, when such life's momentary dream, Would mix in hireling senates, strenuous there To crush the venal Hydra, whose fell crests Rise with recruited venom from the wound! Who, for so great a conflict, would forego Thy sylvan haunts, celestial Solitude! Where self-improvement, crowned with self-content, Await to bless thy votary.
STORY OF PRINCE ABDOLONYMUS.
Nurtured thus In tranquil groves, listening to Nature's voice,