Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!

Hail, ye plebeian under-wood!

Where the poetic birds rejoice, And for their quiet nests and plenteous food

Pay with their grateful voice.

2.

Hail, the poor Muses' richest mapor-seat!

Ye country houses and retreat,

Which all the happy gods so love, That for you oft they quit their bright and great

Metropolis above.

Here Nature does a house for me erect,

Nature, the wisest architect,

Who those fond artists does despiso That can the fair and living trees neglect;

Yet the dead timber prize.

Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,

Hear the soft winds, above me flying,

With all their wanton boughs dispute, And the more tuneful birds to both replying.

Nor be myself, too, mute.

affections are tied to things without himself? In the second place, he must learn the art, and get the habit of thinking; for this, too, no less than well speaking, depends upon much practice; and cogitation is the thing which distinguishes the solitude of a god from a wild beast. Now, because the soul of man is not, by its own nature or observation, furnished with sufficient materials to work upon, it is necessary for it to have continual recourse to learning and books for fresh supplies, so that the solitary life will grow indigent, and be ready to starve, without them; but if once we be thoroughly engaged in the love of letters, instead of being wearied with the length of any day, we shall only complain of the shortness of our whole life.

"O vita, stulto longa, sapienti brevis 1"*

O life, long to the fool, short to the wise ! The first minister of state has not so much business in public, as a wise man has in private : if the one have little leisure to be alone, the other has less leisure to be in company; the one has but part of the affairs of one nation, the other all the works of God and nature, under his consideration. There is no saying shocks me so much as that which I hear very often, “That a man does not know how to pass his time.” It would have been but ill spoken by Methusalem in the nine hundred and sixty-ninth year of his life; so far it is from us, who have not time enough to attain to the utmost perfection of any part of any science, to have cause to complain that we are forced to be idle for waat of work. But this, you will say, is work only for the learned ; others are not capable either of the employments or divertisements that arrive from letters. I know they are not; and, therefore, cannot much recommend solitude to a man totally illiterate. But, if any man be so unlearned, as to want entertainment of the little intervals of accidental solitude, which frequently occur in almost all conditions (except the very meanest of the people, who have business enough in the necessary provisions for life), it is truly a great shame both to his parents and himself; for a very small portion of any ingenious art will stop up all those gaps of our time: either music, or painting, or designing, or chemistry, or history, or gardening, or twenty other things, will do it usefully and pleasantly; and, if he happen to set his affections upon poetry (which I do not ad. vise him too immoderately), that will over-do it ; do wood will be thick enough to hide him from the importunities of company or business, which would abstract him from his beloved.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

"O qui me gelidis in vallibus Hæmi Sistat, et ingenti ramorum protegat umbra ?"

Thou the faint beams of reason's scattered light

Dost, like a burning glass, unite,

Dost multiply the feeble heat, And fortify the strength, till thou dost bright

And noble fires beget.

""O vita, misero longa, felici brevis !" (O life, long to the unhappy, to the happy brief ).-Publius Syrus.

12.

11.

of the kingdom are derived: we have no me Whilst this hard truth I teach, methinks I 889 now fetched from the plough to be made lords, The monster London * laugh at me;

as they were in Rome to be made consuls and I should at thee too, foolish city,

| dictators; the reason of which I conceive to be If it were fit to laugh at misery ; But thy estate I pity.

from an evil custom, now grown as strong among us as if it were a law, which is, that no men put

their children to be bred up apprentices in agri. Let the wicked men from out thee go,

culture, as in other trades, but such who are so And all the fools that crowd thee so,

poor, that, when they come to be men, they have Even thou, who dost thy millions boast,

not wherewithal to set up in it, and so can A village less than Islington wilt grow,

only farm some small parcel of ground, the rent A solitude almost.

of which devours all but the bare subsistence of

the tenant: whilst they who are proprietors of OF AGRICULTURE.

the land are either too proud, or, for want of The first wish of Virgil (as you will find anon

that kind of education, too ignorant, to improve

their estates, though the means of doing it be as by his verses) was to be a good philosopher; the second, a good husbandman: and God (whom

easy and certain in this as in any other track of he seemed to understand better than most of the

commerce. If there were always two or three most learned heathens) dealt with him, just as

thousand youths, for seven or eight years, bound He did with Solomon; because he prayed for

to this profession, that they might learn the

whole art of it, and afterwards be enabled to be wisdom in the first place, He added all things

masters of it, by a moderate stock; I cannot else, which were subordinately to be desired. He made him one of the best philosophers, and

doubt but that we should see as many aldermen's

estates made in the country, as now we do out of best husbandmen; and, to adorn and communi. cate both those faculties, the best poet: He made

all kinds of merchandising in the city. There are him, besides all this, a rich man, and a man who

as many ways to be rich, and, which is better, desired to be no richer :

there is no possibility to be poor, without such

negligence as can neither have excuse nor pity; "O fortunatus nimium, et bona qui sua novit!" for a little ground will, without question, feed a To be a husbandman, is but a retreat from the little family, and the superfluities of life (which city; to be a philosopher, from the world; or | are now in some cases by custom made almost rather, a retreat from the world as it is man's, necessary) must be supplied out of the super. into the world as it is God's.

abundance of art and industry, or contemned by But, since nature denies to most men the as great a degree of philosophy. capacity or appetite, and fortune allows but to a As for the necessity of this art, it is evident very few the opportunities or possibility of ap- enough, since this can live without all others, plying theinselves wholly to philosophy, the best and no one other without this. This is like mixture of human affairs that we can make, are speech, without which the society of men cannot the employments of a country life. It is, as be preserved; the others, like figures and tropes Columella calls it,"Res sine dubitatione proxima, of speech, which serve only to adorn it. Many et quasi consanguinea sapientiæ,” the nearest nations have lived, and some do still, without neighbour, or rather next in kindred, to philo- any art but this: not so elegantly, I confess, but sophy. Varro says, the principles of it are the still they live; and almost all the other arts, 1 same which Ennius made to be the principles of which are here practised, are beholden to this all nature, earth, water, air, and the sun. It | for most of their materials. does certainly comprehend more parts of philo The innocence of this life is the next thing for sophy, than any one profession, art, or science,

| which I commend it; and if husbandmen prein the world besides: and therefore Cicero says, serve not that, they are much to blame, for no the pleasures of a husbandman, “mihi ad sapi men are so free from the temptations of iniquity. entis vitam proxime videntur accedere,” come They live by what they can get by industry. very nigh to those of a philosopher. There is no from the earth; and others, by what they can other sort of life that affords so many branches catch by craft from men. They live upon an of praise to a panegyrist: the utility of it, to a estate given them by their mother; and others, man's self; the usefulness, or rather necessity, | upon an estate cheated from their brethren. of it to all the rest of mankind; the innocence, They live, like sheep and kine, by the allowances the pleasure, the antiquity, the dignity.

of nature; and others, like wolves and foxes, by The utility (I mean plainly the lucre of it) is the acquisitions of rapine. And, I hope, I may not so great now in our nation, as arises from affirm (without any offence to the great) that merchandise and the trading of the city, from sheep and kine are very useful, and that wolves whence many of the best estates and chief honours and foxes are pernicious creatures. They are,

without dispute of all men, the most quiet and * "London has a great belly, but no palate."- least apt to be inflamed to the disturbance of Hobbes' Hist. Civil War, p. 169, quoted by Hurd. | the commonwealth: their manner of life inclines

them, and interest binds them, to love peace: in not only to till the ground, but also to tread our late mad and miserable civil wars, all other upon it. We may talk what we please of lilies, trades, even to the meanest, set forth whole and lions rampant, and spread eagles, in fields troops, and raised up some great commanders, d'or or d'argent; but, if heraldry were guided who became famous and mighty for the mischiefs by reason, a plough in a field arable, would be they had done; but I do not remember the name | the most noble and ancient arms. of any one husbandman, who had so considerable | All these considerations make me fall into the a share in the twenty years' ruin of his country, wonder and complaint of Columella, how it as to deserve the curses of his countrymen. should come to pass that all arts or sciences (for

And if great delights be joined with so much the dispute, which is an art, and which a science, innocence, I think it is ill done of men, not to take does not belong to the curiosity of us husbandthem here, where they are so tame, and ready at men), metaphysic, physic, morality, mathematics, hand, rather than hunt for them in courts and logic, rhetoric, etc., which are all, I grant, good cities, where they are so wild, and the chase so and useful faculties (except only metaphysic, troublesome and dangerous.

which I do not know whether it be anything or We are here among the vast and noble scenes no); but even vaulting, fencing, dancing, attir. of nature; we are there among the pitiful shifts ing, cookery, carving, and such like vanities, of policy: we walk here in the light and open should all have public schools and masters, and ways of the Divine bounty; we grope there in yet that we should never see or hear of any man, the dark and confused labyrinths of human who took upon him the profession of teaching malice: our senses are here feasted with the clear this so pleasant, so virtuous, so profitable, so and genuine taste of their objects, which are all | honourable, so necessary an art. sophisticated there, and for the most part over. A man would think, when he was in serious whelmed with their contraries. Here, pleasure | humour, that it were but a vain, irrational, and looks (methinks) like a beautiful, constant, and ridiculous thing, for a great company of nien and modest wife; it is there an impudent, fickle, women to run up and down in a room together, and painted harlot. Here, is harmless and in a hundred several postures and figures, to no cheap plenty; there, guilty and expenseful | purpose and with no design; and therefore luxury.

dancing was invented first, and only practised I shall only instance in one delight more, the anciently, in the ceremonies of the heathen remost natural and best-natured of all others, a ligion, which consisted all in mummery and perpetual companion of the husbandman; and madness; the latter being the chief glory of the that is, the satisfaction of looking round about worship, and accounted divine inspiration: this, him, and seeing nothing but the effects and im I say, a severe man would think; though I dare provements of his own art and diligence; to be not determine so far against so customary a part, always gathering of some fruits of it, and at the now, of good breeding. And yet, who is there same time to behold others ripening, and others among our gentry that does not entertain a budding: to see all his fields and gardens covered dancing-master for his children, as soon as they with the beauteous creatures of his own industry; are able to walk? But did ever any father pro. and to see, like God, that all his works are good: vide a tutor for his son, to instruct him betimes “ Hinc atque hinc glomerantur Orcades , ipsi

in the nature and improvements of that land Agricolæ tacitum pertentant gaudia pectus."

which he intended to leave him? That is at

least a superfluity, and this a defect, in our On his heart-strings a secret joy does strike.

manner of education; and therefore I could wish The antiquity of his art is certainly not to be (but cannot in these times much hope to see it) contested by any other. any other

The three first men in

The three first men in that one college in each university were erected, the world, were a gardener, a ploughman, and a and appropriated to this study, as well as there grazier; and if any man object, that the second of are to medicine and the civil law: there would these was a murderer, I desire he would con- be no need of making a body of scholars and sider, that as soon as he was so, he quitted our fellows, with certain endowments, as in other profession, and turned huilder. It is for this colleges; it would suffice, if, after the manner of reason, I suppose, that Ecclesiasticus * forbids halls in Oxford, there were only four professors us to hate husbandry ; “ because," says he,

constituted (for it would be too much work for "the Most High has created it.” We were all only one master, or principal, as they call him born to this art, and taught by nature to nourish

there) to teach these four parts of it: First, our bodies by the same earth out of which they

Aration, and all things relating to it. Secondly, were made, and to which they must return, and

Pasturage. Thirdly, Gardens, Orchards, Vineto pay at last for their sustenance.

yards, and Woods. Fourthly, all parts of Rural Behold the original and primitive nobility of

Economy, which would contain the government all those great persons, who are too proud now,

of Bees, Swine, Poultry, Decoys, Ponds, etc.,

and all that which Varro calls “villaticas pas. • Ecclas, vil. 15: “flate not laborious work, neither tiones," together with the sports of the field husbandry, which the Most Bigh has ordained.” (which ought to be looked upon not only as plea.

sures, but as parts of housekeeping), and the and he is the first writer too of the art of husdomestical conservation and uses of all that is bandry: “He has contributed,” says Columella, brought in by industry abroad. The business of “not a little to our profession;" I suppose, he these professors should not be, as is commonly means not a little honour, for the matter of his practised in other arts, only to read pompous and instructions is not very important: his great an. superficial lectures, out of Virgil's Georgics, tiquity is visible through the gravity and simpli. Pliny, Varro, or Columella; but to instruct city of his style. The most acute of all his sayings their pupils in the whole method and course of concerns our purpose very much, and is couched this study, which might be run through perhaps, in the reverent obscurity of an oracle. Iléor with diligence, in a year or two: and the continual ý ulov navTds, The half is more than the whole. succession of scholars, upon a moderate taxation The occasion of the speech is this: his brother for their diet, lodging, and learning, would be a Perses had, by corrupting some great men (Bagisufficient constant revenue for maintenance of néas owpodáyous, great bribe-eaters, he calls the house and the professors, who should be men them), gotten from him the half of his estate, not chosen for the ostentation of critical litera-“It is no matter,” says he; "they have not ture, but for solid and experimental knowledge done me so much prejudice as they imagine :" of the things they teach; such men, so industri

“ NÝTriol, oud' to ao u 60W Téov jov tartós, ous and public-spirited, as I conceive Mr Hartlib* to be, if the gentleman be yet alive: but it is

Ουδ' όσον έν μαλάχη τε και ασφοδέλη μέγ' needless to speak further of my thoughts of this

Övelap, design, unless the present disposition of the age

Κρύψαντες γάρ έχουσι θεοι βίον ανθρώποισι.” allowed more probability of bringing it into Unhappy they, to whom God has not revealed, execution. What I have further to say of the

By a strong light which must their sense control,

That half a great estate 's more than the whole: country life, shall be borrowed from the poets,

Unhappy, from whom still concealed does lie, who were always the most faithful and affection

Of roots and herbs, the wholesome luxury. ate friends to it. Poetry was born among the

This I conceive to be honest Hesiod's meaning. shepherds :

From Homer we must not expect much concern. "Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine Musas

ing our affairs. He was blind, and could neither Ducit, et immemores non sinit esse sui."

work in the country, nor enjoy the pleasures of The Muses still love their own native place;

it; his helpless poverty was likeliest to be sus. "T has secret charms, which nothing can deface. tained in the richest places; he was to delight The truth is, no other place is proper for their

the Grecians with fine tales of the wars and work; one might as well undertake to dance in a

adventures of their ancestors; his subject re

moved him from all commerce with us, and yet, crowd, as to make good verses in the midst of

methinks, he made a shift to show his goodwill noise and tumult.

a little. For though he could do us no honour As well might corn, as verse, in cities grow;

in the person of his hero Ulysses (much less of in vain the tbankless glebe we plough and sow: Achilles), because his whole time was consumed Against th' unnatural soil in vain we strive :

in wars and voyages; yet he makes his father 'Tis not a ground, in which these plants will thrive.

Laertes a gardener all that while, and seeking It will bear nothing but the nettles or thorns of his consolation for the absence of his son in the satire, which grow most naturally in the worst pleasure of planting, and even dunging his own earth; and therefore almost all poets, except grounds. Ye see, he did not contemn us pea. those who were not able to eat bread without sants; nay, so far was he from that insolence, the bounty of great men, that is, without what that he always styles Eumæus, who kept the they could get by flattering of them, have not hogs, with wonderful respect, dior üpopBov, the only withdrawn themselves from the vices and divine swineherd; he could have done no more vanities of the grand world,

for Menelaus or Agamemnon. And Theocritus “ Pariter vitiisque jocisque

(a very ancient poet, but he was one of our own Altius humanis exeruere caput,"

tribe, for he wrote nothing but pastorals) gave into the innocent happiness of a retired life; but

the same epithet to an husbandman : have commended and adorned nothing so much

“ — duelßero dios áypørns." by their ever-living poems. Hesiod was the

The divine husbandman replied to Hercules, who first or second poet in the world that reinains yet

was but dios, himself. These were civil Greeks, extant (if Homer, as some think, preceded him, but I rather believe they were contemporaries);

and who understood the dignity of our calling!

Among the Romans we have, in the first place, A gentleman of whom it may be enough to say

our truly divine Virgil, who, though, by the that he had the honour to live in the friendship of

favour of Mæcenas and Augustus, he might have Mede and Milton. The former of these great men

been one of the chief men of Rome, yet chose addressed some letters to him, and the latter his rather to employ much of his time in the exercise, Tractate on Education.'"-Hurd.

and much of his immortal wit in the praise and

instructions, of a rustic life; who, though he had should dare to do it in Latin verses (though of written, before, whole books of pastorals and another kind), and have the confidence to transgeorgies, could not abstain, in his great and late them. * I can only say that I love the matter, imperial poem, from describing Evander, one of and that ought to cover many faults; and that I his best princes, as living just after the homely run not to contend with those before me, but manner of an ordinary countryman. He seats follow to applaud them. him in a throne of maple, and lays him but upon a bear's skin; the kine and oxen are lowing in

THE GARDEN. his court-yard; the birds under the eaves of his window call him up in the morning; and when

TO J. EVELYN, ESQ.+ he goes abroad, only two dogs go along with him for his guard : at last, when he brings

I never had any other desire so strong, and so Æneas into his royal cottage, he makes him say

like to covetousness, as that one which I have

had always, that I might be master at last of a this memorable compliment, greater than ever

small house and large garden, with very modeyet was spoken at the Escurial, the Louvre, or

rate conveniences joined to them, and there our Whitehall :

dedicate the remainder of my life only to the “ Hæc (inquit) limina victor

culture of them, and study of nature; Alcides subiit, hæc illum regia cepit: Aude, hospes, contemnere opes; et te quoque digoum And there (with no design beyond my wall) whole and Finge Deo, rebusque veni non asper egenis."

entire to lie,

In no inactive ease, and no inglorious poverty.
This humble roof, this rustic court (said he)
Received Alcides, crowned with victory;

Or, as Virgil has said, shorter and better for
Scorn not, great guest, the steps where he has trod; I me, that I might there
But contemn wealth, and imitate a god.
The next man, whom we are much obliged to,

"Studiis florere ignobilis oti;" both for his doctrine and example, is the next (though I could wish that he had rather said, | best poet in the world to Virgil, his dear friend

“Nobilis oti,” when he spoke of his own). But Horace; who, when Augustus had desired Mæce

several accidents of my ill fortune have disapnas to persuade him to come and live domes.

pointed me hitherto, and do still, of that felicity; tically and at the same table with him, and to

for though I have made the first and hardest be secretary of state of the whole world under

step to it, by abandoning all ambitions and him, or rather jointly with him, for he says, “Ut

hopes in this world, and by retiring from the nos in epistolis scribendis adjuvet," could not be

noise of all business and almost company, yet I tempted to forsake his Sabine, or Tiburtin manor,

stick still in the inn of a hired house and garden, for so rich and so glorious a trouble. There was

among weeds and rubbish ; and without that never, I think, such an example as this in the

pleasantest work of human industry, the imworld, that he should have so much moderation

provement of something which we call (not very and courage as to refuse an offer of such great

properly, but yet we call) our own. I am gone Dess, and the emperor so much generosity and

out from Sodom, but I am not yet arrived at my goodnature as not to be at all offended with his

little Zoar. “Oh ! let me escape thither, (is it refusal, but to retain still the same kindness,

not a little one ?) and my soul shall live." I do and express it often to him in most friendly and

not look back yet; but I have been forced to familiar letters, part of which are still extant.

stop, and make too many balts. You may wonder, If I should produce all the passages of this ex

sir (for this seems a little too extravagant and cellent author upon the several subjects which I

pindarical for prose), what I mean by all this treat of in this book, I must be obliged to trans

preface; it is to let you know, that though I late half his works; of which I may, say more

have missed, like a chemist, my great end, yet I truly than, in my opinion, he did of Homer :

account my affections and endeavours well re“Qai, quid sit pulchrum, quid turpe, quid utile, quid warded by something that I have met with by non,

the by; which is, that they have procured to Planius et melius Chrysippo et Crantore dicit."

me some part in your kindness and esteem; and I shall content myself upon this particular thereby the honour of having my name so adtheme with three only, one out of his Odes, the vantageously recommended to posterity, by the other out of his Satires, the third out of his epistle you are pleased to prefix to the most use. Epistles; and shall forbear to collect the suf- ful book that has been written in that kind, and frages of all other poets, which may be found which is to last as long as months and years. scattered up and down through all their writ. Among many other arts and excellencies, which ings, and especially in Martial's. But I must not omit to make some excuse for the bold

cuse for the bold * In reference to the translations from Virgil and undertaking of my own unskilful pencil upon Horace, prefixed to this Essay in the original edition. the beauties of a face that has been drawn before Joho Evelyn, the author of the “Diary," and by so many great masters; especially, that I “Sylva. or a Discourse on Forest Trees."

« AnteriorContinuar »