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with here is poor Mr. Shapely's Enemy, I desire there. No. 475. fore you will give me your Advice, for I know you are Thursday, a wise Man, and if you advise me well
, I am resolved Sept. 4, to follow it. I heartily wish you could see him dance,
Friday, September 5.
Publick, there are some which are written with Regularity and Method, and others that run out into the Wildness of those Compositions which go by the Name of Essays. As for the first, I have the whole Scheme of the Discourse in my Mind before I set Pen to Paper. In the other Kind of Writing, it is sufficient that I have several Thoughts on a Subject, without troubling my self to range them in such Order, that they may seem to grow out of one another, and be disposed under the proper Heads. Seneca and Montaigne are Patterns for Writing in this last Kind, as Tully and Aristotle excel in the other. When I read an Author of Genius who writes without Method, I fancy my self in a Wood that abounds with a great many noble Objects, rising among one another in the greatest Confusion and Disorder. When I read a methodical discourse, I am in a regular Plantation, and can place my self in its several Centers, so as to take
View of all the Lines and Walks that are struck from them. You may ramble in the one a whole Day together, and every Moment discover something or other that is new to you; but when you have done you will have but a confused imperfect Notion of the Place : In the other, your Eye commands the whole Prospect, and gives you
No. 476. such an Idea of it as is not easily worn out of the
Irregularity and Want of Method are only supportable in Men of great Learning or Genius, who are often too full to be exact, and therefore chuse to throw down their Pearls in Heaps before the Reader, rather than be at the Pains of stringing them.
Method is of Advantage to a Work, both in respect to the Writer and the Reader. In regard to the first, it is a great Help to his Invention. When a Man has plann'd his Discourse, he finds a great many Thoughts rising out of every Head, that do not offer themselves upon the general Survey of a Subject. His Thoughts are at the same Time more intelligible, and better discover their Drift and Meaning, when they are placed in their proper Lights, and follow one another in a regular Series, than when they are thrown together without Order and Connexion. There is always an Obscurity in Confusion, and the same Sentence that wou'd have enlightened the Reader in one Part of a Discourse, perplexes him in another. For the same Reason likewise every Thought in a methodical Discourse shews it self in its greatest Beauty, as the several Figures in a piece of Painting receive new Grace from their Disposition in the Picture. The Advantages of a Reader from a methodical Discourse, are correspondent with those of the Writer. He com prehends every Thing easily, takes it in with Pleasure, and retains it long,
Method is not less requisite in ordinary Conversation than in Writing, provided a Man would talk to make himself understood. I, who hear a thousand Coffee house Debates every Day, am very sensible of this Want of Method in the Thoughts of my honest Countrymen. There is not one Dispute in ten which is managed in those Schools of Politicks, where, after the three first Sentences, the Question is not entirely lost. Our Dis. putants put me in Mind of the Cuttle Fish, that when he is unable to extricate himself, blackens all the Water about him till he becomes invisible. The Man who does not know how to methodize his Thoughts, has always, to borrow a Phrase from the Dispensary, a barren Super
fluity of Words; the Fruit is lost amidst the Exuberance No. 476. of Leaves.
Friday, Tom Puzzle is one of the most eminent immethodical Sept. 5, Disputants of any that has fallen under my Observation . Tom has read enough to make him very impertinent; his Knowledge is sufficient to raise Doubts, but not to clear them. It is Pity that he has so much Learning, or that he has not a great Deal more. With these Qualifica tions Tom sets up for a Free-thinker, finds a great many Things to blame in the Constitution of his Country, and gives shrewd Intimations that he does not believe another World. In short, Puzzle is an Atheist as much as his Parts will give him Leave. He has got about half a Dozen commonplace Topicks, into which he never fails to turn the Con versation, whatever was the Occasion of it. Tho' the Matter in Debate be about Doway or Denain, it is ten to one but half his Discourse runs upon the Unreasonable ness of Bigottry and Priesteraft. This makes Mr. Puzzle the Admiration of all those who have less Sense than himself, and the Contempt of all those who have more. There is none in Town whom Tom dreads so much as my Friend Will Dry. Will, who is acquainted with Tom's Logick, when he finds him running off the Question, cuts him short with a What then? We allow all this to be true, but what is it to our present Purpose ? I have known Tom eloquent Half an Hour together, and triumphing as he thought, in the Superiority of
the Argument, when he has been nonplus'd on a sudden by Mr. Dry's desiring him to tell the Company what it was that he endeavoured to prove. In short, Dry is a Man of a ciear methodical Head but few Words, and gains the same Advantage over Puzzle, that a small Body of regular Troops would gain over a numberless undisci plined Militia
No. 477. No. 477.
Saturday, September 6. Sept 6, 1712.
Ao me ludit amabilis
Quos & aquae subeunt & aurae,-Hor.
AVING lately read your Essay on the Pleasures of
upon some of our English Gardens, that I cannot forbear troubling you with a Letter upon that Subject. I am one, you must know, who am looked upon as an Humorist in Gardening I have several Acres about my House, which I call my Garden, and which a skillful Gardener would not know what to call. It is a Confusion of Kitchin and Parterre, Orchard and Flower Garden, which lie so mixt and interwoven with one another, that if a Foreigner who had seen nothing of our Country should be conveyed into my Garden at his first landing, he would look upon it as a natural Wilderness, and one of the un cultivated Parts of our Country. My Flowers grow up in several Parts of the Garden in the greatest Luxuriancy and Profusion. I am so far from being fond of any particular one, by reason of its Rarity, that if I meet with any one in a Field which pleases me, I give it a Place in my Garden. By this Means, when a Stranger walks with me, he is surprized to see several large Spots of Ground covered with ten thousand different Colours, and has often singled out Flowers that he might have met with under a common Hedge, in a Field, or in a Meadow, as some of the greatest Beauties of the Place. The only Method I observe in this particular, is to range in the same Quarter the Products of the same Season, that they may make their Appearance together, and compose a Picture of the greatest Variety. There is the same Irregularity in my Plantations, which run into as great a Wildness as their Natures will permit
. I take in none that do not naturally rejoyce in the Soil, and am pleased when I am walking in a Labyrinth of my own raising, not to know whether the next Tree I shall meet with is an Apple or an Oak, an Elm or a Pear-tree. My Kitchin has likewise its particular Quarters assigned it; for besides the wholsome No. 477. Luxury which that Place abounds with, I have always Saturday, thought a Kitchin-garden a more pleasant Sight than the Sept. 6,
1712. finest Orangerie, or artificial Green-house. I love to see every Thing in its Perfection, and am more pleased to survey my Rows of Colworts and Cabbages, with a thousand nameless Pot-herbs, springing up in their full Fragrancy and Verdure, than to see the tender Plants of Foreign Countries kept alive by artificial Heats, or wither ing in an Air and Soil that are not adapted to them. I must not omit, that there is a Fountain rising in the upper Part of my Garden, which forms a little wandring Rill, and administers to the Pleasure as well as the Plenty of the Place. I have so conducted it, that it visits most of my Plantations, and have taken particular Care to let it run in the same Manner as it would do in an open Field, so that it generally passes through Banks of Violets and Primroses, Plats of Willow, or other Plants, that seem to be of its own producing. There is another Circumstance in which I am very particular, or, as my Neighbours call me, very whimsical: As my Garden invites into it all the Birds of the Country, by offering them the Conveniency of Springs and Shades, Solitude and Shelter, I do not suffer any one to destroy their Nests in the Spring, or drive them from their usual Haunts in Fruit-time. I value my Garden more for being full of Blackbirds than Cherries, and very frankly give them Fruit for their Songs, By this Means I have always the Musick of the Season in its perfection, and am highly delighted to see the Jay or the Thrush hopping about my Walks, and shooting before my Eye across the several little Glades and Alleys that I pass through I think there are as many kinds of Gardening as of Poetry: Your Makers of Parterres and Flower Gardens, are Épigrammatists and Sonneteers in this Art, Contrivers of Bowers and Grottos, Treillages and Cascades, are Romance Writers. Wise and London are our heroick Poets; and if, as a Critick, I may single out any Passage of their Works to commend, 'I shall take Notice of that part in the upper Garden at Kensington, which was at first nothing but a Gravel Pit. It must have been a fine Genius for Gardening, that could have