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Hence he considers the garden as a picture, the unadorned and naked soil as the painter's canvass, and all the means of decoration as the pencil and colours with which he is to work. The same idea is likewise beautifully expressed by the abbé de Lille :
Un jardin, à mes yeux, est un vaste tableau.
Agreeably to this idea, the modern art of gardening has been justly styled an imitation of the Deity in the most beautiful of his visible works. The great elements of this species of beauty seem to be wood, water, and uneven ground; to which may be added a fourth, that is to say, lawn. It is the happy mixture of these four that produces every scene of natural beauty, as it is a more mysterious mixture of other elements, perhaps as simple and as few, that is productive of a world or a universe.
The painters seem to have felt the force of these elements, and to have transplanted them into their landscapes with such felicity, that they have rather emulated than imitated nature. Claude Lorraine, the Poussins, Salvator Rosa, and a few more in the 17th century, may be called superior artists in this exquisite taste. Yet, with all their superiority to their contemporaries in landscape-painting, Lord Kames observes, that it requires more genius to paint in the gardening way. In forming a landscape upon canvass (says this elegant and philosophic writer) no more is required but to adjust the figures to each other; an artist who would form a garden in Kent's manner, has an additional task: which is, to adjust the figures to the several varieties of the field.'
But while the genuine beauties of Nature were displayed on the canvass, our gardens, till the 18th century, exhibited scenes, which, in every respect, were tasteless and insipid. The artists of those times imagined, that the farther they wandered from nature, the nearer they approached to the sublime. Unfortunately, where they travelled no sublime was to be found; and the farther they went the farther they left it behind. Perfection in po science whatever has been the work of a. day. Many prejudices were to be removed; many gradual ascents to be made from bad to good, and from good to better, before the delicious amenities of a Claude or a Poussin could be rivalled in a. Stourl ead, a Hagley, or a Stow; or the tre. mendous beauties of a Salvator Rosa could be equalled in the scenes of a Piercefield or a Mount Edgecombe
O how unlike the scene my fancy forms,
To form with verdure what the builder formed With stone. Egregious madness; yet pursued With pains unwearied, with expense unsummed, And science doating. Hence the sidelong walls Of shaven yew; the holly's prickly arms Trimmed into high arcades; the tonsile box Wove, in Mosaic mode of many a curl, Around the figured carpet of the lawn, Hence too deformities of harder cure: The terrace mound uplifted; the long line Deep delved of flat canal; and all that Toil, Misled by tasteless Fashion, could achieve To mar fair Nature's lineaments divine. Mr. Horace Walpole, in an ingenious essay on modern Gardening, has quoted several passages from Milton, full half a century before the appearance of Kent, the great reformer of gardening, to show that our divine bard had the justest and most perfect ideas of this beautiful art. But I will not repeat the observations of this lively writer, which are too copious to be quoted. The reader who would trace the gradual prospect of a more enlightened taste in gardening, and who would form a just idea of the reformation which Kent effected, will read Mr. Walpole's remarks with particular satisfaction. I shall be content to observe, that the art of gardening, which may be called the luxury of agriculture, appears to me one of the most becoming, and I had almost said, the most virtuous amusements of the wealthy. As culture, it recals them to the innocence of rural occupations: as decoration, it favours, without danger, that taste for expense which is so naturally attendant on great fortunes.. And far superior are such pleasures to the ordinary pursuits of the great, în senates and in courts.
Could'st thou resign the park and play content,
And stretch thy prospects o'er the smiling land,
REFLECTIONS ON VEGETATION.
A BLACKMORE. IN Spring, when Nature has again beautified the earth with the brightest colours, and universal life and cheerfulness pervade the whole creation, my inquiries are naturally directed to the great principle of vegetation, by which such a wonderful transformation has been effected. But the subject is too copious and too extensive to be treated of with systematic accuracy: I shall be content, therefore, to point out some of its most prominent and pleasing features to the contemplation and admiration of my readers.
The definition of a plant is the first object of inquiry. Boerhaave defines a plant to be an organical body, composed of vessels and juices; to which body belongs a root, or a part by which it adheres to some other body, and particularly the earth, from which it derives the matter of its life and growth. It is distinguished from a fossil by its being organized, and consisting of vessels and juices; and from an animal, by its adhering to another body, and deriving its nourishment from it
That plants are organized bodies, and endued with life, is evident from a variety of considerations, and particularly, from a degree of spontaneous motion observable in them. Thus, herbs, in green-houses or stoves, incline toward the light: when shut up, if they find a hole in the wall, shutters, .or frames, they will endeavour to penetrate. Several plants, in the day-time, turn their flowers toward the sun: most plants, in a serene sky, expand their flowers; but, before rain, shut them up, or contract them at the approach of night. The flowers of many plants hang down in the night, as if the plants were asleep, lest rain, or the moist air should injure the fertilizing dust. The trefoils, and others, shut up, or double their leaves before storms or tempests, but unfold them in a clear sky. The tamarind-tree is said by Alpinus and Acosta to infold within its leaves the flowers or fruit every night, in order to guard them from cold or rain. Some of the sensitive plants, and the wood-sorrel, with pinnated leaves, upon being touched, roll up their leaves, and turn downward or shrink, and after a little time expand them again, as if they had both life and sensation. And it further
that motion is no less necessary to the vigour of plants, than exercise is to the health and strength of ani