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withhold; and where vice smarts for its crimes, and is not rendered alluring by the attraction of pleasing qualities; then the stage may be considered as an auxiliary to the pulpit--for morality and religion must ever be uvited.
. M. MAVOR.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1787.
Cavendum est, si ipse ædifices, ne extra modum sumtu et magnificentiâ prodeas.
WHEN Greece and Rome liad emerged from barbarism to an exalted state of civilization, a distinguished place among the arts was given to architecture. The accomplished Pericles, assisted by the retined genius of Phidias, adorned Athens with those temples, theatres, and porticos, which even in ruins have excited the admiration of posterity, After Augustus had established the peace of the Roman world, a similar display of magnificence was exhibited ; and equalled, or rather surpassed, the glory of Athens. This memorable æra of architecture is eminently distinguished by the elegance of the Palatine Temple of Apollo, and the sublimity of the Pantheon.
The progress of refinement from public to private works must necessarily be private houses, because uothing is more natural to mān than imitation,
párticularly of that which is the object of his wonder and applause. They who daily surveyed such edifices as were remarkable for capaciousness and grandeur, projected the erection of similar structures upon a more confined plan. Their de. signs were frequently carried to such an excess in the execution, as to pass the limits of convenience and economy, and give a loose to the sallies of ostentation and extravagancé. From this source was derived the just indignation with which Demo: sthenes inveighed against the degenerate Athenians, whose houses eclipsed the public buildings, and were lasting monuments of vanity triumphant over patriotism. The strictures of Herace flow in a si. milar channel, and plainly indicate that the same preposterous rage for building prevailed among the Romans. Even if we make allowance for the hyperbolical flights of the Lyric Muse, we must still suppose that vast and continued operations of architects were carried on by land and water, “since a few acres only were left for the exercise of the plough, and the fish were sensible of the contrac. tion of their element."
The transition from the ancients to the moderns is easy and obvious. It must be confessed, that, like servile copyists, we have too closely followed the ori. ginals of our great masters, and have delineated their faults as well as their beauties. The contagion of the building influenza was not peculiar to the Greeks and Romans, but has extended its virulence to this country, where it rages with unabating violence. Neither the acuteness of Pott, nor the erudition of Jebb, are necessary to ascertain its sym. ptonis in various parts of England. Bath, Bristol,
Cheltenham, Brighton, and Margate, bear evident marks of its wide diffusion. The metropolis is manifestly the centre of the disease. In other places, the accumulation is made by occasionally adding house to house ; but in London, street is suddenly added to street, and square to square. The adjacent villages in a short time undergo a complete transformation, and bear no more resemblance to their original state, thau Phyllis the milk-maid does to a lady mayoress. The citizen who, twenty years ago, enjoyed at his country seat pure air, undisturbed retirement, and an extensive prospect, is now surrounded by a populous neighbourhood. The purity of the air is sullied with smoke, and the prospect is cut off by the opposite houses. The retirement is interrupted by the London cries and the vocifera. tions of the watchmen. In the vicinity of the capital every situation is propitious to the mason and the carpenter. Mansions daily arise upon the marshes of Lambeth, the roads of Kensington, and the hills of Hampstead. The chain of buildings so closely unites the country with the town, that the distinction is lost between Cheapside and St. George's Fields. This idea struck, the mind of a child, who lives at Clapham, with so much force, that he observed, “If they go on building at such a rate, London will soon be next door to us."
Astrong light is often thrown upon the manners of a people by their proverbial sayings. When the Irish are highly enraged, they express’a wish which is not tempered with much of the milk of kindness, by saying, “May the spirit of building come upon you." If an Irishman be once possessed by this dæmon, it is difficult to stop his progress through brick and mortar, till he exchanges the superinteu. dence of his workmen for the confinement of a prison. But this propensity is not merely visible in the environs of Dublin, or upon the shores of Cork; it is equally a characteristic of the sister kingdom. : · England can furnish not a few instances of men of taste who have sold the best oaks of their estates for gilding and girandoles, -of fathers who have beggared their families to enjoy the pleasure of seeing green-houses and pineries arise under their inspection,--and of fox-hunters who have begun with a dog-kennel, and ended with a dwellinghouse. Enough is every day done by the amateurs of Wyat and Chambers, to palliate the censure of ostentation and uselessness that is lavishly throwu upon the king's house at Winchester, and the Radcliffe library at Oxford.
My cousin, Obadiah Project, Esq. formerly a respectable deputy of Farringdon Ward Within, retired into the couutry, when he had reached his grand climacteric, upon a small estate.' While he lived in town, his favourite hobby-horse, which was building, had never carried him farther than to change the situation of a door, or erecting a chimney. On settling in his new habitation, as he was no sportsman, he found himself inclined to turn student. His genius led him to peruse books of architecture. For two years nothing pleased him so much as The Builder's Complete Guide, Campbell's Vitruvius, and Sandby's Views. All these heated his imagination with the beauties of palaces, and delighted his eye with the regularity of the orders, for which he felt a vague and confused fond.
ness. He had, perhaps, no more idea of the distinction between a cornice and a colonnade, than the monstrous craws. Unluckily, sir Maximilian Barleycorn was his neighbour, who had lately erected a house upon the Italian plan. As my cousin was laying out his garden, he found that the soil was composed of a fine vein of clay. It immediately struck him, that bricks might be procured at a very cheap rate. The force of inclination, combined with rivalship, and encouraged by opportunity, is too powerful for man to resist. He, therefore, flew to tell his wife of the grand discovery, and inveighed with much warmth against the smallness of their parlour, the badness of the kitchen floor, and the ruinous state of the garrets. She mildly represented that they had no money to throw away upon a new house, and that the old one might cheaply be put into repair. Her remarks had just as much effect as the advice of the barber and the curate had upon Don Quixote. The next day he played Geoffrey Gambado, by taking a ride to consult Mr. Puff, the architect. Mr. Puff was confident that the old house must fall down in a day or two, and proposed the following plan for a new one, which exactly reflected my cousin's ideas. The rooms were to be all cubes. In front, a Venetian door, with a portico supported by brick pillars, with wooden capitals; and six bow-wiudows. A balcony was proposed, but afterwards given up because it was vulgar. My cousin retired to a neighbouring cottage. The old house was pulled down, and the brickmakers began their operations. Unfortunately the wind happened to blow in such a direction as to create much annoyance with clouds