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was capable of receiving, a man might make a pretty landscape of his own possessions.
Writers, who have given us an account of China, tell us the inhabitants of that country laugh at the plantations of our Europeans, which are laid out by the rule and line; because they say any one may place trees in equal rows and uniform figures. They choose rather to show a genius in works of this nature; and therefore always conceal the art by which they direct themselves. They have a word it seems in their language, by which they express the particular beauty of a plantation that thus strikes the imagination at first sight, without discovering what it is that has so agreeable an effect. Our British gardeners, on the contrary, instead of humouring nature, love to deviate from it as much as possible. Our trees rise in cones, globes and pyramids. We see the marks of the scissors upon every plant and bush. I do not know whether I am singular in my opinion: but for my own part, I would rather look upon a tree in all its luxuriance and diffusion of boughs and branches, than when it is thus cut and trimmed into a mathematical figure; and can not but fancy, that an orchard in flower looks infinitely more delightful than all the little labyrinths of the most finished parterre. But as our great modellers of gardens have their magazines of plants to dispose of, it is very natural for them to tear up all the beautiful plantations of fruit trees, and contrive a plan that may most turn to their own profit, in taking off their evergreens, and the like moveable plants, with which their shops are plentifully overstocked.
No. 415. THURSDAY, JUNE 26.
ON THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION
of architecture, as it affects the imagination. Greatness in
architecture relates either to the bulk or to the manner. Greatness of bulk in the ancient oriental buildings. The ancient accounts of these buildings confirmed, i. From the advantages for raising such works, in the first ages of the world, and in the eastern climates; 2. From several of them which are still extant Instances how greatness of manner affects the imagination. A French author's observations on this subject. Why concave and convex figures give a greatness of manner to works of architecture. Every thing that pleases the imagination in architecture, is either great, beautiful, or new.
Adde tot egregias urbes, operumque laborem.
Next add our cities of illustrious name,
HAVING already shown how the fancy is affected by the works of nature, and afterwards considered in general both the works of nature and of art, how they mutually assist and complete each other, in forming such scenes and prospects as are most apt to delight the mind of the beholder, I shall in this paper throw together some reflections on that particular art, which has a more immediate tendency than any other to produce those primary pleasures of the imagination, which have hitherto been the subject of this discourse.
The art I mean, is that of architecture; which I shall consider only with regard to the light in which the foregoing speculations have placed it, without entering into those rules and maxims which the great masters of architecture have laid down and explained at large in numberless treatises upon that subject.
Greatness, in the works of architecture, may be considered as relating to the bulk and body of the structure, or to the manner in which it is built. As for the first, we find the ancients, especially among the eastern nations of the world, infinitely superior to the moderns.
Not to mention the tower of Babel, of which an old author says there were the foundations to be seen in his time, which looked like a spacious mountain; what could be more noble than the walls of Babylon, its hanging gardens, and its temple to Jupiter Belus, that rose a mile high by eight several stories, each story a furlong in height, and on the top of which was the Babylonian observatory? I might here likewise take notice of the huge rock that was cut into the figure of Semiramis, with the smaller rocks that lay by it in the shape of tributary kings; the prodigious basin, or artificial lake, which took in the whole Euphrates, till such time as a new canal was formed for its reception, with the several trenches through which that river was conveyed. I know there are persons who look upon some of these wonders of art as fabulous; but I can not find any ground for such a suspicion, unless it be that we have no such works among us at present. There were indeed many greater advantages for building in those times, and in that
part of the world, than have been met with ever since. The earth was extremely fruitful, men lived generally on pasturage, which requires a much smaller number of hands than agriculture: there were few trades to employ the busy part of mankind, and fewer arts and sciences to give work to men of speculative tempers: and what is more than all the rest, the prince was absolute: 60 that, when he went to war, he put himself at the head of a whole people: as we find Semiramis leading her three millions to the field, and yet overpowered by the number of her enemies. It is no wonder, therefore, when she was at peace, and turned her thoughts on building, that she could accomplish so great works with such a prodigious multitude of labourers: besides, that in her elimate there was small interruption of frost and winters, which make the northern workmen lie half the year idle. I might mention too, among the benefits of the climate, what historians
say of the earth, that it sweated out a bitumen or natural kind of mortar, which is doubtless the same with that mentioned in holy writ, as contributing to the structure of Babel. Slimé they used instead of mortar.'
In Egypt we still see their pyramids, which answer to the descriptions that have been made of them; and I question not but a traveller might find out some remains of the labyrinth that covered a whole province, and had a hundred temples disposed among its several quarters and divisions.
The wall of China is one of these eastern pieces of magnificence, which makes a figure even in the map of the world, although an account of it
would have been thought fabulous, were not the wall itself still extant.
We are obliged to devotion for the noblest buildings that have adorned the several countries of the world. It is this which has set men at work on temples and public places of Worship, not only that they might, by the magnificence of the building, invite the deity to reside within it, but that such stupendous works might at the same time
open the mind to vast conceptions, and fit it to converse with the divinity of the place. For every thing that is majestic imprints an awfulness and reverence on the mind of the beholder, and strikes in with the natural greatness of the soul.
In the second place, we are to consider greatness of manner in architecture, which has such force upon the imagination, that a small building, where it appears, shall give the mind nobler ideas than one of twenty times the bulk, where the manner is ordinary or little. Thus, perhaps, a man would have been more astonished with the majestic air that appeared in one of Lysippus's statues of Alexander, though no bigger than the life, than he might have been with mount Athos, had it been cut into the figure of the hero, according to the proposal of Phidias, with a river in one hand, and a city in the other.
Let any one reflect on the disposition of mind he finds in himself at his first entrance into the Pantheon at Rome, and how the imagination is filled with something great and amazing; and at the same time consider how little, in proportion, 'he is affected with the inside of a Gothic cathedral, though it be five times larger than the