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retired part of the inclosure, it is in the essence of my notion of a garden to retain it.”
“ In a terrace, if you please,” said I; “ but not in a shrubbery, or to have so many straight lines as I see here.” He paused a little, and then said: “Perhaps you are right as to the number; yet I have a reason for it, though it may be peculiar to myself.” We were then advancing into that long green turfwalk which he mentioned in his letter, and which was embellished all the way with flowers, and kept with the nicest care, under his own superintendence; and upon my asking what his reason was, he replied: “Why, I love a day-dream almost as well as yourself, and a garden is a great day-dream. It is my
book of moral philosophy, my hymn-book, my code of divinity. I do not, perhaps, believe with Cowley, that, during the great civil war, no husbandman ever was a rebel to his king; but this I will hazard, that no real lover or cultivator of a garden can pass his days in observing the wonderful processes of Nature, and be a rebel to his God. The intimate knowledge which it promotes of that Nature, pouring her bounties forth with such a full and unwithdrawing hand, covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks, no one can feel this, and be such a rebel. The thoughts that this kindles are sublime, and so absorbing as to require abstraction; and I need not say that abstraction requires us not to be in danger every moment of knocking our heads against a tree, or kept on the watch for fear of Mr. Sterling's zigzag. Hence I love walks, for the most part, to be straight; they
should also be level and smooth, as you see these are ; for we would not run the risk of breaking not only our reverie but our noses too by being tripped up by a molehill.”
I could not help owning he was right, especially as I knew of old how abstracted, even to absence, he often was. Why, yes,” he replied; “I agree
with the Frenchman, “ Ces plaisirs si doux, si passifs, si bêtes, sont précisément ceux qui me conviennent le mieux.' But another Frenchman represents still better the independence of a man who has thrown away ambition for a contented life in retirement:
"J'y goute avec plaisir
Toujours occupé sans avoir rien à faire.'* But these," continued he, though tranquil, are only the pleasures of sense, that is, of quiet nerves ; those of the mind and heart are incalculably higher.”
At this I had begun to reverence his doctrines so deeply, that I could not help being excited with expectation when I asked him to particularise his meaning. Nor was I disappointed. “ You know it," said he,“ as well as I do. In a word, as a restorative when in want of refreshment, whether of mind or body, a garden, even a homely one of mere potherbs, but much more if mingled with flowers, is to me like Nepenthe,
• That Nepenthe, which the wife of Thone In Egypt gave to Jove-born IIelena.'
says Milton. If you want a more minute description of it, take it from Spenser:
• Nepenthe is a drink of sovereign grace,
It doth establish in the troubled mind,'"*
“ This, potent as it was, when administered by Canace, to assuage the tumultuous rage of two combatants bent upon blood, was not of more power than a garden's sedatives are to the troubled mind. Hence, whenever I enter mine, even if vexed with some worldly care, every feeling becomes tranquil amid the outward aspect of peace. The heart expands with feelings of good-will, and is only alive to the attractions of Nature in her most pleasing and softest attire. Had I, therefore, envy or malice, or resentment against any of my fellow-creatures, I could not maintain them in a garden. Hence, no doubt, the ancient fictions of Elysium placed it always in gardens and groves, as the emblem of the purest pleasure and the abode of the good.
Devenere locos lætos, et amena vireta
Fortunatorum nemorum, sedesque beatas.' In fact, so sacred are such places, when properly considered, that the heart in them is still more moved than the eye. Hence the sentiment inspired by a rich vegetation is participated in by no animal but man; and hence that beautiful burst of Addison on
the effects of the cheerfulness of Nature on a good mind. Hence too, as I have said, even the most obtuse in faculties can never be an atheist, or doubter of Providence, if he possess a garden; for one walk, one little walk in it, if ever he swerved, would restore him to God.
“I felt this effect," continued Mordaunt, “the moment I returned here; for my garden occupations instantly restored the feelings of kindliness, I may say the
I innocence, of my childhood. Wonder not, therefore, at my saying that I would not exchange the freedom, the elegance, the beauty, and perfume, but, above all, the soothing of these walks for all the advantages that ambition could confer.
· Hic tamen hanc mecum poteris requiescere noctem
Castaneæ molles, et pressi copia lactis.'"'* Our evening repast in truth, with only the addition of some cold chicken and a better bed, seemed to realise the supposed entertainment given by Tityrus to his friend Melibaus.
I could not help congratulating my friend on the seemingly complete success of his experiment on himself, which all the incidents I had witnessed appeared to indicate, and which I owned I at first had doubted, from not being aware, from the tenor of his public life, of the number of qualifications which he possessed for a private one.
* “Here, however, you may with me repose for the night, upon a bed of green leaves; and I have mellow apples, soft chestnuts, and plenty of curds and milk” (for supper].
“ And yet,” said he, “ they are very simple, and in the power
of any man that pleases, provided he has nothing on his conscience, and is free from the stings of ambition, the excitements of vanity, or the anxious pursuit of riches. You, for example, though you live in observation of the world, have most of the qualifications we talked of for living out of it.”
“I am at least unconscious of them,” said I.
“ You do yourself injustice,” replied he; “you possess two of the first of them, moderation and content of mind. There are others, however, which, notwithstanding their simplicity, are far from being in every body's power. “For,' to return once more to our friend in retirement (Cowley), 'neither he who is a fop in the world is a fit man to be alone, por he who has set his heart upon the world, though he has never so much understanding; so that solitude can be well fitted and set right upon
few persons. They must have knowledge of the world enough to see its vanity, and enough virtue to despise all vanity whatever.'
"As for the want of employment, he still read from Cowley, “the first minister of state has not so much business in public as a wise man in private. If the one have little business to be alone, the other hath less to be in company; the one has but part of the affairs of a nation, the other all the works of God.'
“So far," continued Mordaunt, “this (at least) theoretical philosopher; and it is therefore obvious, that the tedium
you fear cannot happen, except when the ground is not properly laid by innocence of life, or