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put in motion. French writers, generally speaking, are correct in this particular. The English, on the contrary are so irregular, as scarce to deserve a criticism. Actors, during the same act, not only succeed each other in the same place without connexion, but what is still less excusable, they frequently succeed each other in different places. This change of place in the same act ought never to be indulged; for, beside breaking the unity of the act, it has a disagreeable effect. After an interval, the imagination readily adapts itself to any place that is necessary, as readily as at the commencement of the play; but, during the representation, we reject change of place. From the foregoing censure must be excepted the Mourning Bride of Congreve, where regularity concurs with the beauty of sentiment and of language, to make it one of the most complete pieces England has to boast of. I must aoknowledge, however, that in point of regularity, this elegant performance is not altogether unexceptionable. In the four first acts the unities of place and time are strictly observed: but in the last act there is a capital error with respect to unity of place; for in the three first scenes of that act, the place of action is a room of state, which is changed to a prison in the fourth scene: the chain also of the actors is broken; as the persons introduced in the prison are different from those who made their appearance in the room of state. This remarkable interruption of the representation, makes in effect two acts instead of one: and therefore, if it be a rule that a play ought not to consist of more acts than five, this performance is so far defective in point of regularity. I may add, that even admitting six acts, the irregularity would not be altogether removed, without a longer pause in the representation than is allowed in the acting; for more than a momentary interruption is requisite for enabling the imagination readily to fall in with a new place, or with a wide space of time. In The Way of the World, of the same author, unity of place is preserved during every act, and a stricter unity of time during the whole play, than is necessary.
GARDENING AND ARCHITECTURE.
THE books we have upon architecture, and upon embellishing ground, abound in practical instruction, necessary for a mechanic; but in vain should we rummage them for rational principles to improve our taste. In a general system it might be thought sufficient to have unfolded the principles that govern these and other fine arts, leaving the application to the reader; but as I would neglect no opportunity of shewing the extensive influence of these princi ples, the purpose of the present chapter is to apply them to gardening and architecture; but without intending any regular plan of these favourite arts, which would be unsuitable not only to the nature of this work, but to the experience of its author.
Gardening was at first an useful art; in the garden of Alcinous} described by Homer, we find nothing done for pleasure merely. But gardening is now improved into a fine art: and when we talk of a garden without any epithet, a pleasure-garden, by way of eminence, is understood: the garden of Alcinous, in modern lan. guage, was but a kitchen-garden. Architecture has run the same course; it. continued many ages an useful art merely, without aspiring to be classed with the fine arts. Architecture, therefore, and gardening, being useful arts as well as fine arts, afford two different views. The reader, however, will not here expect rules for improving any work of art in point of utility: it being no part of my plan to treat of any useful art as such but there is a beauty in utility; and in discoursing of beauty, that of utility must not be neglected. This leads us to consider gardens and buildings in different views they may be destined for use solely, for beauty solely, or for both. Such variety of destination bestows upon these arts a great command of beauties, complex no less than various. Hence the difficulty of forming an accurate taste in gardening and architecture; and hence that difference and wavering of taste in these arts, greater than in any art that has but a single destination.
Architecture and gardening cannot otherwise entertain the mind, but by raising certain agreeable emotions or feelings; with which we must begin, as the true foundation of all the rules of criticism that govern these arts. Poetry, as to its power of raising emotions, possesses justly the first place among the fine arts; for scarce any one emotion of human nature is beyond its reach. Painting and sculpture are more circumscribed, having the command of no emotions but of what are raised by sight: they are peculiarly success. ful in expressing painful passions, which are displayed by external signs extremely legible.* Gardening, beside the emotions of beauty from regularity, order, proportion, colour, and utility, can raise emotions of grandeur, of sweetness, of gaiety, of melancholy, of wildness, and even of surprise or wonder. In architecture, the beauties of regularity, order, and proportion, are still more conspi cuous than in gardening; but as to the beauty of colour, architecture is far inferior. Grandeur can be expressed in a building, perhaps more successfully than in a garden; but as to the other emotions above-mentioned, architecture hitherto has not been brought to the perfection of expressing them distinctly. To balance that defect, architecture can display the beauty of utility in the highest perfection.
Gardening indeed possesses one advantage, never to be equalled in the other art: in various scenes, it can raise successively all the different emotions above-mentioned. But to produce that delicious effect, the garden must be extensive, so as to admit a slow succes-sion; for a small garden, comprehended at one view, ought to be confined to one expression :† it may be gay, it may be sweet, it may be gloomy: but an attempt to mix these would create a jumble
* See chap. 15.
+ See chap. 8.
of emotions not a little unpleasant.* For the same reason, a building, even the most magnificent, is necessarily confined to one expression.
Architecture, considered as a fine art, instead of being a rival to gardening in its progress, seems not far advanced beyond its infant state. To bring it to maturity, two things mainly are wanted. First, a greater variety of parts and ornaments than at present it seems provided with. Gardening here has greatly the advantage: it is provided with plenty of materials for raising scenes without end, affecting the spectator with variety of emotions. In architec. ture, on the contrary, materials are so scanty, that artists hitherto have not been successful in raising any emotions but of beauty and grandeur: with respect to the former, there are indeed plenty of means, regularity, order, symmetry, simplicity, utility; and with respect to the latter, the addition of size is sufficient. But though it is evident that every building ought to have a certain character or expression suited to its destination, yet this refinement has scarce been attempted by any artist. A death's head and bones employed in monumental buildings, will indeed produce an emo. tion of gloom and melancholy; but such ornaments, if these can be termed so, ought to be rejected, because they are in themselves disagreeable. The other thing wanted to bring the art to perfec. tion, is, to ascertain the precise impression made by every single part and ornament, cupolas, spires, columns, carvings, statues, vases, &c. for in vain will an artist attempt rules for employing these, either singly or in combination, until the different emotions they produce be distinctly explained. Gardening, in that particular also, hath the advantage: the several emotions raised by trees, rivers, cascades, plains, eminences, and its other materials, are understood; and each emotion can be described with some degree of precision, which is attempted occasionally in the foregoing parts of this work.
In gardening as well as in architecture, simplicity ought to be a ruling principle. Profuse ornament hath no better effect than to confound the eye, and to prevent the object from making an im pression as one entire whole. An artist destitute of genius for capital beauties is naturally prompted to supply the defect by erowding his plan with slight embellishments: hence in a garden, triumphal arches, Chinese houses, temples, obelisks, cascades, fountains, without end; and in a building, pillars, vases, statues, and a profusion of carved work. Thus, some women, defective in taste, are apt to overcharge every part of their dress with ornament. Superfluity of decoration hath another bad effect; it gives the ob ject a diminutive look: an island in a wide-extended lake makes it appear larger; but an artificial lake, which is always little, appears still less by making an island on it.†
"The citizen, who in his villa has but an acre for a garden, must have it diversified with every object that is suited to an extensive garden. There must be wood, streams, lawns, statues, and temples to every goddess as well as to Cloacina." + See appendix to part 5. chap. 2.
in forming plans for embellishing a field, an artist without taste employs straight lines, circles, squares; because these look best upon paper. He perceives not, that to humour and adorn nature is the perfection of his art; and that nature, neglecting regularity, distributes her objects in great variety with a bold hand. A large field laid out with strict regularity, is stiff and artificial.* Nature indeed, in organized bodies comprehended under one view, studies regularity, which, for the same reason, ought to be studied in architecture: but in large objects, which cannot otherwise be surveyed but in parts and by succession, regularity and uniformity would be useless properties, because they cannot be discovered by the eye.† Nature, therefore, in her large works, neglects these properties; and, in copying nature, the artist ought to neglect them.
Having thus far carried on a comparison between gardening and architecture, rules peculiar to each come next in order, beginning with gardening. The simplest plan of a garden is that of a spot embellished with a number of natural objects, trees, walks, polished parterres, flowers, streams, &c. One more complex comprehends statues and buildings, that nature and art may be mutually ornámental. A third, approaching nearer perfection, is of objects assembled together, in order to produce not only an emotion of beauty, but also some other particular emotion, grandeur, for example, gaiety, or any other above-mentioned. The completest plan of a garden is an improvement upon the third; requiring the several parts to be so arranged as to inspire all the different emotions that can be raised by gardening. In this plan the arrangement is an important circumstance; for it has been shewn, that some emotions figure best in conjunction, and that others ought always to appear in succession, and never in conjunction. It is mentioned above, that when the most opposite emotions, such as gloominess and gaiety, stillness and activity, follow each other in succession, the pleasure, on the whole, will be the greatest; but. that such emotions ought not to be united, because they produce an unpleasant mixture. For this reason a ruin, affording a sort of melancholy pleasure, ought not to be seen from a flower-parterre which is gay and cheerful. But to pass from an exhilarating ob. ject to a ruin has a fine effect; for each of the emotions is the more sensibly felt by being contrasted with the other. Similar emotions, on the other hand, such as gaiety and sweetness, stillness and gloominess, motion and grandeur, ought to be raised together; for their effects upon the mind are greatly heightened by their conjunction.
Kent's method of embellishing a field is admirable; which is, to
* In France and Italy, a garden is disposed like the human body, alleys, like legs and arms, answering each other; the great walk in the middle representing the trunk of the body. Thus an artist void of taste carries self along into every operation.
A square field appears not such to the eye when viewed from any part of it and the centre is the only place where a circular field preserves in appearance its regular figure.
+ Chap. 8.
Chap. 2. part 4.
See the place immediately above cited.
replenish it with beautiful objects, natural and artificial, disposed as they ought to be upon a canvass in painting. It requires, indeed, more genius to paint in the gardening way: in forming a landscape upon a canvass, no more is required but to adjust the figures to each other an artist who would form a garden in Kent's manner has an additional task, which is, to adjust his figures to the several varieties of the field.
A single garden must be distinguished from a plurality; and yet it is not obvious in what the unity of a garden consists. We have indeed some notion of unity in a garden surrounding a palace, with views from each window, and walks leading to every corner; but there may be a garden without a house; in which case, it is the unity of design that makes it one garden; as where a spot of ground is so artfully dressed as to make the several portions appear to be parts of one whole. The gardens of Versailles, properly expressed in the plural number, being no fewer than sixteen, are indeed all of them connected with the palace, but have scarce any mutual connexion; they appear not like parts of one whole, but rather like small gardens in contiguity. A greater distance between these gardens would produce a better effect; their junction breeds confusion of ideas, and, upon the whole, gives less pleasure than would be felt in a slower succession.
Regularity is required in that part of a garden which is adjacent to the dwelling-house; because an immediate accessory ought to partake the regularity of the principal object ;* but in proportion to the distance from the house considered as the centre, regularity ought less and less to be studied; for in an extensive plan it hath a fine effect to lead the mind insensibly from a regularity to a bold variety. Such arrangement tends to make an impression of grandeur; and grandeur ought to be studied as much as possible, even in a more confined plan, by avoiding a multiplicity of small parts.† A small garden, on the other hand, which admits not grandeur, ought to be strictly regular.
Milton, describing the garden of Eden, prefers justly grandeur before regularity:
Flowers worthy of paradise, which not nice art
The influence of this connexion, surpassing all bounds, is still visible in many gardens formed of horizontal plains forced with great labour and expense, perpendicular faces of earth, supported by massy stone-walls, terrace walks in stages one above another, regular ponds and canals without the least motion, and the whole surrounded, like a prison, with high walls excluding every external object. At first view it may puzzle one to account for a taste so opposite to nature in every particular. But nothing happens without a cause. Perfect regularity and uniformity are required in a house; and this idea is extended to its accessory the garden, especially if it be a small spot incapable of grandeur or of much variety: the house is regular, so must the garden be; the floors of the house are horizontal, and the garden must have the same position; in the house we are protected from every intruding eye, so must we be in the garden. This, it must be confessed, is carrying the notion of resemblance very far: but where reason and taste are laid asleep, nothing is more common than to carry resemblance beyond proper bounds. ↑ See chap. 4.