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Irregularity and want of method are only supportable in men of great learning or genius, who are often too full to be exact, and therefore choose to throw down their pearls in heaps before the reader, rather than be at the pains of stringing them.
Method is of advantage to a work, both in respect to the writer and the reader. In regard to the first, it is a great help to his invention. Whena man has planned his discourse, he finds a great many thoughts rising out of every head, that do not offer themselves upon the general survey of a subject. His thoughts are at the same time more intelligible, and better discover their drift and meaning, when they are placed in their proper lights, and follow one another in a regular series, than when they are thrown together without order and connexion. There is always an obscurity in confusion; and the same sentence that would have enlightened the reader in one part of a discourse perplexes him in another. For the same reason likewise every thought in a methodical discourse shows itself in its greatest beauty, as the several figures in a piece of painting receives new grace from their disposition in the picture. The advantages of a reader from a methodical discourse are correspondent with those of the writer. He comprehends every thing easily, takes it in with pleasure, and retains it long.
Method is not less requisite in ordinary conversation than in writing, provided a man would talk to make himself understood. I, who hear a thousand coffee-house debates every day, am very sensible of this want of method in the
thoughts of my honest countrymen. There is not one dispute in ten which is managed in those schools of politics, where, after the three first sentences, the question is not entirely lost. Our disputants put me in mind of the scuttle-fish, that, when he is unable to extricate himself, blackens all the water about him till he becomes invisible. The man who does not know how to methodize his thoughts, has always, to borrow a phrase from the dispensary, a barren superfluity of words;' the fruit is lost amidst the exuberance of leaves.
Tom Puzzle is one of the most eminent immethodical disputants of any that has fallen under my observation. Tom has read enough to make him very impertinent, his knowledge is sufficient to raise doubts, but not to clear them. It is pity that he has so much learning, or that he has not a great deal more. With these qualifications Tom sets up for a freethinker, finds a great many things to blame in the constitution of his country, and gives shrewd intimations that he does not believe in another world. In short, Puzzle is an atheist as much as his parts will give him leave. He has gotabout half a dozen commonplace topics, into which he never fails to turn the conversation, whatever was the occasion of it; though the matter in debate be about Doway or Denain, it is ten to one but half his discourse runs upon the unreasonableness of bigotry and priestcraft. This makes Mr. Puzzle the admiration of all those who have less sense than himself, and the contempt of all those who have more. There is none in totvn whom Tom dreads so much as my friend Will Dry. Will, who is acquainted with
Tom's logic, when he finds him running off the question, cuts him short with a “What then? We allow all this to be true, but what is it to our present purpose?' I have known Tom eloquent half an hour together, and triumphing, as he thought, in the superiority of his argument, when he has been nonplussed on a sudden by Mr. Dry's desiring him to inform the company what it was that he endeavoured to prove. In short, Dry is a man of a clear methodical head, but few words, and gains the sameadvantages over Puzzle, that a small body of regular troops would gain over a numberless undisciplined militia.
-Does airy fancy cheat
Wantons through the waving trees. - CREECH. “SIR,
HAVING lately read your essay on the Pleasures of the Imagination, (See No. 411 to 421,) I was so taken with your thoughts upon some of our English gardens, that I can not forbear troubling you with a letter upon that subject. I am one, you must know, who am looked upon
as an humorist in gardening. I have several acres about my house, which I call my garden: and which a skilful gardener would not know what to call. It is a confusion of kitchen and parterre, orchard and flower garden, which lie so mixed and interwoven with one another, that if a foreigner who had seen nothing of our country should be conveyed into my garden at his first landing, he would look upon it as a natural wilderness, and one of the uncultivated parts of our country. My flowers grow up in several parts of the garden in the greatest luxuriancy and profusion. I am so far from being fond of any particular one, by reason of its rarity, that if I meet with any one in a field which pleases me, I give it a place in my garden. By this means, when a stranger walks with me, he is surprised to see several large spots of ground covered with ten thousand different colours, and has often singled out flowers that he might have met with under a common hedge, in a field; or in a mea. dow, as some of the greatest beauties in the place. The only method I observe in this particular, is to range in the same quarter the products of the same season, that they may make their appearance together, and compose a picture of the greatest variety. There is the same irregularity in my plantations, which run into as great a wildness as their natures will permit. I take in none that do not naturally rejoice in the soil, and am pleased when I am walking in a labyrinth of my own raising, not to know whether the next tree I shall meet with is an apple or an oak, an elm or a pear tree. My kitchen has likewise its particular quarters assigned it; for besides the wholesome luxury which that place abounds with, I have always thought a kitchen garden a more pleasant sight than the finest orangery, or artificial green-house. I love to see every thing in its perfection, and am more pleased to survey my rows of colworts and cabbages, with a thousand nameless pot-herbs, springing up in their full fragrancy and verdure, than to see the tender plants of foreign countries kept alive by artificial heats, or withering in an air and soil that are not adapted to them. I must not omit that there is a fountain rising in the upper part of my garden, which forms a little wandering rill, and administers to the pleasure as well as to the plenty of the place. I have so conducted it, that it visits most of my plantations; and have taken particular care to let it run in the same manner as it would do in an open field, so that it generally passes through banks of violets and primroses, plats of willow, and other plants, that seem to be of its own producing. There is another circumstance in which I am very particular, or, as my neighbours call me, very whimsical: as my garden invites into it all the birds of the country, by offering them the conveniency of springs and shades, solitude and shelter, I do not suffer any one to destroy their nests in the spring, or drive them from their usual haunts in fruit time. I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. By this means I have always the music of the season in its perfection, and am highly delighted to see the jay or the thrush hopping about my walks, and shooting before my eyes across the several little