Imágenes de página

- ITAY 960

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Comptroller General of his Majesty's Works, and Author

of a late Dissertation on Oriental Gardening. *


Chiefiy extracted from that elaborate Performance.

Non omnes arbusta juvant, humilesque myricæ.


KNIGHT of the Polar Star! by Fortune plac'd
To shine the Cynosure of British taste; i
Whose orb collects in one refulgent view
The scatter'd glories of Chinese Virtù ;

* Readers of the present generation are so very inatten. tive to what they read, that it is probable one half of Sir William's may have forgotten the principles which his book inculcates. Let these, then, be reminded, that it is the author's professed aim, in extolling the taste of the Chinese, to condemn that mean and paltry manner which Kent introduced; which Southcote, Hamilton, and Brown, followed; and which, to our national disgrace, is called the English


And spread their lustre in so broad a blaze, 5 That kings themselves are dazzled, while they gaze.

style of gardening. He shews the poverty of this taste, by aptly comparing it to a dinner, which consisted of three gross pieces, three times repeated; and proves to a demonstration, that Nature herself is incapable of pleasing, without the assistance of Art, and that too of the most luxuriant kind; in short, such art as is displayed in the Emperor's garden of Yven-Ming-Yven, near Pekin, where fine lizards and fine women, human giants and giant-baboons, make bat a small part of the superb scenery. He teaches us, that a perfect garden must contain within itself all the amusements of a great city; that urbs in rure, not rus in urbe, is the thing, which an improver of true taste ought to aim at. He says--but it is impossible to abridge all that he says:" Let this therefore suffice to tempt the reader again to peruse his invaluable Dissertation, since, without it, he will never relish half the beauties of the following epistle; for (if her Majesty's Zebra, and the powder-mills at Hounslow, be excepted) there is scarce a single image in it, which is not taken from that work.”

But though the images be borrowed, the author claims some small merit from the application of them. Sir William says too modestly, “ that European artists must not hope to rival Oriental splendor.” The poet shews, that European artists may easily rival it; and that Richmond gardens, with only the addition of a new bridge to join them to Brentford, may be new modelled, perfectly à la Chinoise.” He exhorts his Knight to undertake the glorious task, and leaves no cause to doubt, but that, under

« AnteriorContinuar »