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did misery, little greatness, and titled infamy, risques his liberty and last shilling to become a man of taste and fashion. He boasts that he is a happy man, for he is a man of pleasure; he knows how to enjoy life; he professes the important science called the Scavoir Vivre. Give him the distinction which, in the littleness and blindness of his soul, he considers as the source of happiness and honour. Allow him his claim to taste, give him the title of a man of pleasure, and since he insists upon it, grant him his pretensions to Scavoir Vivre. But at the same time he cannot deny that he is hunted by his creditors, that he is obliged to hide himself, left he should lose his liberty; that he is eating the bread and the meat, and wearing the clothes of those whose children are crying for a morsel, and shivering in rags. If he has brought himself to such a state as to feel no uneasiness, when he reflects on his embarrassment, and its consequences to others; he is a base, worthless, and degenerate wretch: but if he is uneasy, where is his happiness? where his exalted enjoyments? how much happier had been this boaster of happiness, had he lived within the limits of reason, duty, and his fortune, in love and unity with his own regular family, at his own fire-side, beloved, trusted, res.. pected in the neighbourhood, afraid of no creditor or perfecution, nor of any thing else, but of doing Mm?
wrong ?-He might not indeed have made a figure on the turf; he might not have had the honour of leading the fashion; but he would probably have had health, wealth, fame and peace. Many a man who is seldom seen, and never heard of, enjoys, in the silence and security of a private life, all which this sublunary state can afford to sweeten the cup, and to lighten the burthen.
In things of an inferior nature, and such as are not immediately connected with moral conduct; the same predilection for external appearance, and the same neglect of solid comfort, when placed in competition with the display of an affected taste, are found to prevail. Our houses are often rendered cold, small, and inconvenient, for the fake of preserving a regularity of external figure, or of copying the architecture of a warmer clia mate. Our carriages are made dangerous or incommodious, for the sake of attracting the pafsenger's eye, by something new or fingular in their shape, strength, or fabric. Our dress is fashioned in uneasy forms, and with troublesome superfluities, or uncomfortable defects, just as the Proteus, fashion, issues out the capricious edicts of a variable taste. We even eat and drink, see and hear, not according to our own appetites and senses, but as the prevalent taste happens to direct. In this
refined age we are all persons of tafte, from the hair-dresser and milliner, to the duke and duchess. The question is, not what is right, prudent, pleafing, comfortable, but what is the taste. Hence beggarly finery, and lordly beggary.
The sacrifice of comfort to taste is visible in our modern gardens. I rejoice in the explosion of the Dutch manner. I expatiate with raptured eye. and imagination over the noble scenes created by a Kent and a Brown. But at the same time I lament that our cold climate often renders the sublime and magnificent taste in gardening incompatible with comfort. Winter as the poet says, often lingers in the lap of May. How pleasing to ftep out of the house, and bask under a sunny wall covered with bloom, to watch the expansion of a rose bud, and to see even the humble pea and bean shooting up with all the vigour of vernal fertility. But now the mansion-house stands naked and forlorn. You descend from the flight of steps, You are faluted by the rudest breath of Eurus and Borcas. No trees, no walls, no out-houses, even the kitchen and offices subterraneous. Not a cor. ner to seek the genial warmth of a meridian sun. Fine prospects indeed all around. But you cannot stay to look at them. You fly to your chimneycorner, happy if the perfecuting blaft pursues you
not to your last recess. We allow all that taste ca: claim. We admire and love her beauties; but they are dearly bought at the expence of comfort.
A little and inclosed garden adds greatly to the real enjoyment of a rural retreat: though taste has thrown down the walls, and laid all open; I ven. ture to predict, that before the lapse of half a century, good sense and the love of comfort will rebuild them. The grounds beyond may still be laid out in the grandest and most beautiful style; but let the house stand in the midst of a little cultivated spot, where every vegetable beauty and delicacy may be displayed, and where the rigours of our inclement clime may be softened with elegant inclosures. The contrast between this, which I would call the domestic, and the other which might be named the outer garden or the grove, would produce an effc&t by no means unpleasing. They who have no taste for flowers, and the thousand beauties of an inclosed garden, are but pretenders to any kind of taste in the graces of horticulture,
Indeed, such is the nature of man, we commonly advance improvement to the verge of impropriety. We now loath the idea of a straight line, and a regular row of trees. But let us not, in the pride of our hearts, flatter ourselves with
the unerring rectitude of our taste. Many of the ancients who possessed the best taste, not only in poetry and eloquence, but in arts, in painting, sculpture, architecture, were great admirers of plantations perfe&ly regular, and laid out in quincunxes. However vanity and fashion may dictate and declaim, the world will not always believe that Homer, Virgil, Cyrus, Cicero, Bacon, and Temple, were totally mistaken in their ideas of horticultural beauty.
Cicero informs us, in a fine quotation from Xenophon's economics, that when Lysander came to Cyrus, a prince equally distinguished for his glorious empire and his genius, Cyrus shewed him a piece of ground well inclosed and completely planted. After the visitor had admired the tall and Uraight trees, and the rows regularly formed in a quincunx, and the ground clear of weeds, and well cultivated, and the sweetness of the odours which exhaled from the flowers, he could not help expressing his admiration, not only of the diligence, but the skill of him, by whom all this was measured and marked out; upon which Cyrus answered, “ It was myself who measured every thing, the rows of trees are of my disposing, the plan is mine, and many of the trees were planted with my own hand.” An illustrious pattern, which I hope our