Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

little, he took up the argument again. 'Give me leave, madam,' said he to Eliza, 'without offence, to lead you into further wonders. You have seen that the furniture of the place where we are, as well as the precious attire in which you are dressed, were lately the production and the ornaments of the forest, the meadow, or the garden. But could you forgive me, madam, if I should attempt to persuade you, that that beautiful body of yours, those features, and those limbs, were once growing also in the fields and the meadows? I see, lady, you are a little shocked and surprised at the thought. I confess the ideas and sentiments of philosophy are not always so courtly and so favourable to human nature as to be addressed to the tender sex: but pardon me, Lama, if I inquire, was not your infancy nursed with milk and bread-corn? Have you not been fed with wheat, though it was of the finest kind? And your drink, what has it been but either the infusion of barley, or the jnice of the grape? or for variety, perhaps, the cider-grove has supplied you. The flesh, with which you have been nourished to such a wellproportioned stature, belonged to four-footed animals, or to the fowls of the air; and each of these has either been fed with corn or grass: whence then has your own body been supported, and what do you think it is made of?

'But it is safer to transfer the argument to myself. These limbs of mine owe themselves entirely to the animal or vegetable food, to the roots or the stalks, to the leaves or the fruit of plants, or to the flesh of brute creatures, which have passed through my mouth for these fifty years, or the mouths of my parents before me: this hand would have been worn to a mere skeleton, my arms had been dry bones, and my trunk and ribs the statue of death, had they not all rereived perpetual recruits from the field. These lips, which now address you, are of the same materials, and they were once growing in the grass of the earth. This very flesh which I call mine now, did belong to the sheep or the ox, before it was a part of me; and it served to clothe their bones before it covered mine.

'It is true, you have sometimes tasted of fish, either from the sea or the rivers: but even these in their original also are a sort of grass; they have been fed partly by sea-weeds, and partly by lesser fish which they have devoured, whose prime and natural nourishment was from some vegetable matter in the watery world. In short, sir, I am free to declare, that whether I have eaten cheese or butter, bread or milk; whether I have fed on the ox or the sheep, or the fowls of the air, or the fish of the sea, I am certain that this body, and these limbs of mine, even to my teeth and nails, and the hairs on my head, are all borrowed originally from the vegetable creation. Every thing of me that is not a thinking power, that is not mind or spirit, was once growing like grass on the ground, or was made of the roots which supported some green herbage. Watts,

THE PLEASURES OF A GARDEN.

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 the 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 flower 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 different colours, and has often singled out flowers that he might have met with under a common hedge, in a field, or in a meadow, as some of the greatest beauties of the place. The only method I observe in tiiis 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 nature 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-garden 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 orangerie or artificial green-house. I love to see every thing in its perfection, and am more pleased to survey my rows of cole worts and cabbages, with a thousand nameless pot-herbs, springing up in their full fragrance 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 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, or 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 ofteriug 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 glades and alleys that I pass through. I find that in one of your discourses you are peremptorily 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 fine weather in the most uncomfortable parts of the year, and have frequently several days in November and January, that are as agreeable as any day in the finest months. At such times, therefore, I think there could not be a greater pleasure than to walk in such a wintergarden 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, the hornbeam, and the holly, with many other trees and plants of the same nature, grow so thick in it, that you cannot imagine a more lively scene. The glowing redness of the berries with which they are hung at this

« ZurückWeiter »