« AnteriorContinuar »
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 eyes of a 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 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
nacer elegancies 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 would 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 rigour 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, and bay-tree, and the holly, with many other trees and plants of the same nature, grow so thick in it, that you can not 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 haye somewhere taken notice of in your former papers. (No. 393.) 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
tha 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 can not 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. ADDISON.
No. 478. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8.
'It happened lately, that a friend of mine, who had 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 shown, 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 amunin no
nuowy inoughts 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, lace-men, 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 of 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 now into one channel, and
anon into another; so that the different sets of people sink or flourish in their turns by it.
From the shops we retired to the tavern; where I found my friend express so much satisfaction for the bargains he had made, that my moral reflections (if I had told them) might have passed for a 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