Page images
PDF
EPUB

OSC00290050809999004909800005 No. 583. FRIDAY, AUGUST 20.

Ipfe thymum pinofque ferens de montibus altis,
Tefta ferat late circum, cui talia curæ :
Ipfe t'abore manum duro terat; ipfe feraces
Figat humo plantas, et amicos irriget imbres.

Virg. Georg. iv. ver. 112.
With his own hand, the guardian of the bees,
For flips of pines, may search the mountain trees:
And with wild thyme and fav'ry plant the plain,
Till his hard horny fingers ache with pain ;
And deck with fruitful trees the fields around,
And with refreshing waters drench the ground.

DRYDEN.

per to it.

VERY ftation of life has duties which are proE

Those who are determined by choice to any particular kind of business, are indeed more happy than those who are determined by necessity, but both are under an equal obligation of fixing on enployments which may be either useful to themfelves, or beneficial to others : no one of the fons of Adam ought to think himself exempt from that labour and industry which were denounced to our first parent, and in him to all his pofterity. Those to whom birth or fortune may seein to make such an application unneceffary, ought to find out some calling or profession for themselves, that they may not lie as a burden on the species, and be the only useless part of the creation.

Many of our country gentlemen in their busy hours apply themfelves wholly to the chace, or to fome o. ther diversion which they find in the fields and woods. This gave occasion to one of our most eminent Eng. lish writers to reprefent every one of them as lying

under

1

under a kind of curse pronounced to them in the words of Goliah. I will give thee to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Though exercises of this kind,

when indulged with moderation, may have a good influence both on the mind and body, the country affords many other amusements of a more noble kind.

Among these, I know none more delightful in itself, and beneficial to the public than that of PLANTING. I could mention a nobleman whose fortune has placed him in several parts of England, and who has always left these visible marks behind him, which Thew he has been there : he never hired a house in his life, without leaving all about it the feeds of wealth and bestowing legacies on the posterity of the owner. Had all the gentlemen of England made the same improvements upon their estates, our whole country would have been at this time as one great garden. Nor ought such an employment to be looked upon as too inglorious for men of the highest rank. There have been heroes in this art, as well as in others. We are told in particular of Cyrus the Great, that he planted all the Lefler Afia. There is indeed fomething truly magnificent in this kind of amusement : it gives a nobler air to several parts of nature; it fills the earth with a variety of beautiful scenes, and has something in it like creation. For this reason the pleasure of one who plants is something like that of a poet, who, as Aristotle observes, is more delighted ! with his productions, than any other writer or artist whatsoever.

Plantations have one advantage in them which is not to be found in most other works, as they give a pleasure of a more lasting date, and continually improve in the eye of the planter. have finished a building, or any other undertaking of the like nature, it immediately decays upon your hands; you see it brought to its utmost point of perfection, and from that time hastening to its ruin.

On

[ocr errors]

When you

[ocr errors]

On the contrary, when you have finished your plantations, they are still arriving at greater degrees of perfection as long as you live, and appear more delightful in every succeeding year, than they did in the foregoing.

But I do not only recommend this art to men of estates as a pleasing amusement, but as it is a kind of virtuous employment, and may therefore be inculcated by moral motives; particularly from the love which we ought to have for our country, and the regard which we ought to bear to our posterity. As for the first, I need only mention what is frequently observed by others, that the increase of forest-trees does by no means bear a proportion to the destruction of them, infomuch that in a few ages the nation may be at a loss to supply itself with timber fufficient for the fleets of England. I know when a man talks of posterity in matters of this nature, he is looked upon with an eye of ridicule by the cunning and selfisha part of mankind. Most people are of the humour of an old fellow of a College, who, when he was preffed by the fociety to come into something that might redound to the good of their successors, grew very peevish : We are always doing, says he, fomething for posterity, but I would fain fee posterity do something for us.

But I think men are inexcuseable, who fail in a duty of this nature, since it is so easily discharged. When a man considers that the putting a few twigs into the ground is doing good to one who will make his appearance in the world about fifty years hence, or that he is perhaps making one of his own descendents easy or rich, by so inconfiderable an expence; if he finds himself averfe to it, he muft conclude that he has a poor and base heart, void of all generous principles and love to mankind.

There is one con Gderation, which may very much enforce what I have here. faid. Many honeft minds that are naturally disposed to do good in the world, Vol. VIII. + L

and

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

and become beneficial to mankind, complain within themselves that they have not talents for it. This, therefore, is a good office which is suited to the meanest capacities, and which may be performed by multitudes, who have not abilities sufficient to deferve well of their country, and to recommend themselves to their posterity by any other method. It is the phrafe of a friend of mine, when any useful country. neighbour dies, that you may trace him : which I look, upon as a good funeral oration at the death of an honeft husbandman, who hath left the impressions of his industry behind him, in the place where he has lived.

Upon the foregoing considerations I can scarce forbear representing the subject of this paper as a kind, of moral virtue: which, as I have already shewn, recommends itself likewise by the pleasure that attends it. It must be confessed, that this is none of those turbulent pleasures which is apt to gratify a man in the heats of youth; but if it be not so tumultuous, it is more lasting. Nothing can be more delightful than to entertain ourselves with prospects of our own making, and to walk under those shades which our own industry has raised. Amusements of this nature compose the mind, and lay at rest all those pallions which are uneasy to the foul of man, besides that they naturally engender good thoughts, and dispose us to laudable contemplations. Many of the old philosophers passed away the greatest parts of their lives among their gardens. Epicurus himself could not think sensual pleasure attainable in any o. ther scene. Every reader who is acquainted with Homer, Virgil, and Horace, the greatest geniuses of all antiquity, knows very well with how much rapture they have spoken on this subject; and that Vira gil in particular has written a whole book on the art of planting.

This art seems to have been more especially adapted to the nature of man in his primæval state, when

he

he had life enough to see his productions flourish in their utmost beauty, and gradually decay with him. One who lived before the flood might have seen a wood of the tallest oaks in the acorn.

But I only mention this particular, in order to introduce, in my next paper, a history which I found among the accounts of China, and which may be looked upon as an antediluvian novel.

No. 584.

MONDAY, AUGUST 23.

Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori,
Hic nemus, hic toto tecum confumerer xvi.

Virg. Ecl. x. ver.

42. Come see what pleasures in our plains abound; The woods, the fountains, and the flow'ry ground : Here I could live, and love, and die with only you.

DRY DEN.

[ocr errors]

I TILPA was one of the 150 daughters of Zilpah, of the

race of Cohu, by whom some of the learned think is meant Cain. She was exceedingly beautiful, and when she was but a girl of threescore and ten years of age, received the addresses of feveral who made love to her. Among these were two brothers, Harpath and Shalum. Harpath, being the firft-born, was master of that fruitful region which lies at the foot of mount Tirzah, in the southern parts of China. Shalum wbich is to say the planter, in the Chinese language) pofleffed all the neighbouring hills, and that great range of mountains which goes under the name of Tirzah. Harpath was of a haughty contemptuous spirit; Shaluin was of a geutle disposition, beloved boila by God and man.

« PreviousContinue »