The vast Parterres a thousand hands shall make, Lo! COBHAM comes, and floats them with a

Lake: Or cut wide views thro' Mountains to the Plain, You'll wish your hill or shelter'd seat again. 76

COMMENTARY, the case of Villario) and find at last, that Nature is to be pre ferred before them, -, •* Tir'd of the scene Parterres and Fountains yield,

“ He finds at last, he better likes a Field." Sometimes, again, the Heir (like Sabinus's) will be changing a bad Taste for a worse,

“. One boundless green, or flourish'd carpet views,

" With all the mournful family of Yews.” So that mere Taste standing exposed between the true and false, like the decent man, between the rigidly virtuous, and thoroughly profligate, hated and despised by both, can ne

ver long support itself: and with this, the first part of the Epistle concludes.

NOT E S. says, that the Terraces desert their walls, which implies purpose and violence in their subversion.

VER. 74. Lo! COBHAM comes, and floats them with a Lake:) An high compliment to the noble person on whom it is be ftowed, as making him the substitute of good Sense.--This of fice, in the original plan of the Poem, was given to another Man of Taste; who not having the Sense to see that a compliment was intended him, it continced the Poet that it did not belong to him. Ver. 75, 76. Or cut wide views thro' Mountains to the Plain,

You'll wish your hill ar fhelter'd feat again. ) This was done in Hertfordshire by a wealthy citizen, at the expence of above 5000l. by which means (merely to oves

Év'n in an ornament its place remark,
Nor in an Hermitage set Dr. Clarke.

Behold Villario's ten-years toil compleat ;
His Quincunx darkens, his Espaliers meet; 80
The Wood supports the Plain, the parts

unite, And strength of Shade contends with strength of



[ocr errors]

look a dead plain) he let in the north-wind upon his house and parterre, which were before adorned and defended by beautiful woods. P.

Ver. 78.-set Dr. Clarke.) Dr. S. Clarke's busto placed by the Queen in the Hermitage, while the Dr. duly frequented the Court. P. But he should have added-with the inno. cence and disinterestedness of an Hermit. VER. 81; 82. The Wood supports the Plain, the parts unite;

And strength of Shade contends with strength

of Light;] The imagery is here taken from Painting in the judicious execution of the Pencil, and in the happy improvement of it by time. To understand what is meant by supporting (which is a term of art common both to Planting and Painting) we must consider what things make the natural defect or weakness of a rude uncultivated Plain ; and these are, the having a disagreeable flatness, and the not having a proper termination. Bue a Wood, rightly disposed, takes away the one, and gives what * wanting of the other.

" -The parts unite,"

The utmost which art can do, when it does its full office, is to give the work a consent of parts ; but it is time only that Cau make the union here spoken of. So in painting, the skill of the Master can go no further, in the chromatic part, than to set thofe colours together, which have a natural friendlip

A waving Glow the bloomy beds display,
Blushing in bright diversities of day,
With silver-quiv'ring rills mæander'd o'er--- 85
Enjoy them, you! Villario, can no more;
Tir'd of the scene Parterres and Fountains yield,
He finds at last he better likes a Field.
Thro' his young Woods how pleas'd Sabinus

Or fat delighted in the thick’ning shade, go
With annual joy the red’ning shoots to greet,
Or see the stretching branches long to meet!

NO TE S. and sympathy for each other : But nothing but time cap unite and incorporate their tints:

“And strength of Shade contends with strength of Light.” And now the work becomes a very picture; which the Poet informs us of, in the sublime way of poetical infraction, by setting that picture before our eyes; and not merely a picture, but a perfect picture, in which the lights and shades, not only bear a proportion to one another in their force (which is implied in the word contends) but are both at their height (which the word strength signifies.) As the use of the singular number, in the terms Shade and Light, alludes to another precept of the art; that not only the shades and lights should be great and broad, but that the masses of the clair-obscure, in a group of objects, should be so managed, by a fubordination of the groupes to the unity of design, as that the whole together may afford one great made and light.

Ver. 84. Blushing in bright diversities of day,] i. e. The several colours of the grove in bloom, give several different , tipts to the lights and shades.

His Son's fine Taste an op'ner Vista loves,
Foe to the Dryads of his Father's groves ;
One boundless Green, or flourish'd Carpet views,
With all the mournful family of Yews; 96
The thriving plants, ignoble broomsticks made,
Now sweep those Alleys they were born to shade.

At Timon's Villa let us pass a day, Where all cry out, “ What sums are thrown “ away !"


II. VER. 99. At Timon's Villa, &c.] As the first part ended with exposing the works of Taste without fense, the second be

NOT E s. Ver. 94. Foe to the Dryads of his Father's groves;] Finely intimating, by this sublime classical image, that the Father's taste was enthufiaftical; in which passion there is always fomething great and noble; though it be too apt, in its flights, to leave fenje behind it: and this was the good man's case. But his Son's was a poor despicable superfition, a low sombrous paflion, whose perversity of Taste could only gratify itself.

“ With all the mournful family of Yews." Ver. 95. The two extremes in parterres, which are equally faulty; a boundless Green, large and naked as a field, or a flourish'd Carpet, where the greatness and nobleness of the piece is lessened by being divided into too many parts, with scroll'd works and beds, of which the examples are frequent.

P. Ver. 96.-mournful family of rews;] Touches upon the ill taste of those who are so fond of Ever-greens (particularly Yews, which are the most tonsile) as to destroy the pobler Forest-trees, to make way for such little ornaments as Pyramids of dark-green continually repeated, not unlike a Funeral procession. P. VER. 99. At Timon's Villa] This description is intended

[ocr errors]

So proud, so grand; of that stupendous air,
Soft and Agreeable come never there.
Greatness, with Timon, dwells in such a draught
As brings all Brobdignag before your thought.
To compass this, his building is a Town, 105
His pond an Ocean, his parterre a Down:
Who but must laugh, the Master when he sees,
A puny insect, shiv'ring at a breeze !


COMMENTARY, gins with a description (from Ver. 98 to 173.) of false magnis ficence WITHOUT EITHER SENSE OR Taste, in the gardens, buildings, table furniture, library, and way of living of Lord Timon; who, in none of these, could distinguish between greatness and vastness ; between regularity and form ; between dignity and state ; or between learning and pedantry. But what then? says the Poet, resuming here the great principle of his Philosophy (which these moral Epistles were written to illustrate, and consequently on which they are all regulated) tho'

“ Heav'n visits with a Taste the wealthy Fool,

« And needs no Rod--
yet the punishment is confined as it ought; and the evil ia
furned to the benefit of others : For

6-hence the Poor are cloath'd, the Hungry fed ;
& Health to himself, and to his Infants bread,
“ The Lab'rer bears; what his hard heart denies,
* His charitable vanity supplies.”

NOT E s. to comprize the principles of a false Taste of Magnificence, and to exemplify what was said before, that nothing but Good Sense can attain it. P.

VER. 104.-all Brcbdignag) A region of giants, in the sa: tires of Gulliver:

« VorigeDoorgaan »