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noises deafen the ear and drive thing; it absorbs all the juices, so reason from its seat.
to speak, of the political body, until And as if this were not enough, reason and conscience are obliterathis doctrine gives birth to a class ted and disappear. A nation under of politicians, who, incompetent to such politicians resembles the geese represent the reason of a country, of Strasburg, which are kept before strive to gain favor by feeding every a fire until their livers acquire an wish of a people or a party, without enormous size for the sake of the regard to the highest good. This, epicures of Paris. And to whose if the scene were transferred to the benefit does this turn? To that of breast of a single man, if in him the politicians. For, as they are the gratification of desire unregula. well aware, a master-calling him. ted by reason carried the day, we self a servant, perhaps—will beshould call criminal and ruinous. come necessary to men who are What is there to alter its character, guided by passion and ignorance, to when it takes place throughout a men who think that the rule and end country. The habit once begun, of government should be to have their grows fast, and is not soon laid wishes fulfilled, and not the true in. aside. Arbitrary will becomes every terests of the whole body promoted.
LANDSCAPE GARDENING AND RURAL ARCHITECTURE.*
Me. Downing has published two as a closet counselor for contrac. works of late, the titles of which tors, but to render “in some degree may be found below, both of a char. conversant with domestic architecacter novel to the reading public. ture, every one who lives in the True our professional architects had country, and in a country house." books, full of designs, from those of Quisque sui domi faber-every Inigo Jones to that of Mr. Upjohn; man his own carpenter, would seem and our head-mechanics have long to be its motto. But perhaps we been beholden to letter-press and wrong Mr. Downing in supposing printed diagrams for the perfecting that he would make his readers so of their homely elevations. The far acquainted with architectural reading world, however, save some details as to supersede the necessity few over-curious ones, seem to have of employing an architect; since regarded such works as the tools of he has politely furnished in one of the trade, with which they had little his closing pages a "general list of or nothing to do. But we have here, professional terms." volumes bound for the library or the But if not to make his readers boudoir, teaching, in quite intelligi. their own builders, why are they ble terms, of mullions, and tracery, taught of the bracketted mode' and and peaked gables, and terraces, of pilasters,—that the minaret beand fountains, &c. Not intended, longs to the Saracenic and the tureither, is this last volume before us, ret to the Tudor style? Mr. D. is
ready with an answer: “ He wishes Downing's Landscape Gardening and to inspire in the minds of his read. Rural Architecture. New York, Wiley ers and countrymen, more lively. & Putnam, 1841.
Cottage 'Residences, adapted to North perceptions of the BEAUTIFUL, in America. By A. T. Downing. New every thing that relates to their York, Wiley & Putnam, 1842.
houses and grounds." He wishes
to waken a quicker sense of the of their education. Beauty is an grace, the elegance, or the pictur- unmarketable commodity; if not esqueness of fine forms that are contraband, certainly contra bonos capable of being produced in these mores. A man can not sell his by rural architecture and landscape Lombardy poplars, his mullioned gardening—a sense that will not windows, his umbrage, with his only refine and elevate the mind, kitchen, and pantry, and garret. but pour into it new and infinite re- And how many among us build for sources of delight.' Now we ven- any other earthly purpose but to ture to say, that there are very many sell ? Did the owners of country well-moneyed and well-mannered, houses build for themselves, the case and, as the world goes, well-read would be different. Yet even then, men, who would regard this inspir. how many country livers are willing ing of a taste for the beautiful,' as to pay for beauty ? On the consheer nonsense ; and would turn trary, do they not take special pains over Mr. D.'s smiling sketches with to eradicate every vestige of it in about the same notion of their ele- their neighborhood, and is it to be gance and propriety, that a Fi-ho-ti supposed that one book, or two, or would have of the clumsy foot of a three, should carry them from ex. sturdy Dutch wench; in short treme to extreme? Such reforwould rise from Mr. D.'s last book mations come not in a flood.' with the established convictions, that We speak now of those who dethe designs were very outlandish; rive their support from the cultiva. that there was about them a great tion of the soil, and deceive ourdeal of unnecessary ornament; and selves as we will, with them lie the that the estimates were each an better features of the country, and enormity. They would meet our with them rests ultimately the deauthor's beautiful quotation—'true cision upon what shall be the chartaste is an excellent economist,' with acter of our American landscape. that matter-of-fact, tingling couplet It is not the wealthy, retired citizen of Pope's
here and there, or strown thickly “What bro'Sir Vito's ill-got wealth to waste? along some rich interval of country, Some demon whisper'd-Vito, have a taste.'
that are to make and measure into Of the beautiful, the mass of pleasure lawns each roadside view. American landholders, or country. Changes too are frequent, and stern, house owners, have exceedingly and strange; the wealthy manor of to. faint conceptions ; and we fancy day, may be to-morrow divided into that it will require more than Mr. a dozen leased farms, belonging to as Downing's books, though the esti- many hungry creditors. The Amer. mates in the latter were reduced by ican farmer is the one to be reached a third, to render those conceptions by the reformer of our rural tastes, either vivid or definite. We do not and he is not a man to be swayed say this in disparagement of our by gilded cones, or ample margin, author's labors; they were needed, or posts set in mosaic ; least of all and tenfold more, could so many by nicely contrived theories, or ex. avail to make our country lovely.'t perience, on a scale altogether beBut he who would reform our do- yond his reach-gate-lodges, and mestic architecture, has to contend vases, and Chinese temples. Inwith deep-rooted prejudices in our deed in this view of the subject, we countrymen, strong as their avarice, must express a regret that Mr. D.'s and extending through every year works have been just such as they Cottage Residences, p. 2, Preface.
are; for in general, to the owner of + “To make our country loved, our
a two hundred or three hundred acre country ought to be lovely."-Burke. farm, such directions as follow are
like the mechanism of Peter Stuy. tice of them, by remarking that they vesant's watch to the patcher of are well written books, of easy and shoes.'
pleasant reading, and in a measure " These grand principles are of instructive, particularly the sections the very first importance in the suc. in the first upon trees, and the apcessful practice of this elegant art, pended dissertation upon transplant. (landscape gardening,) viz. 1. The ing; that they are well printed, and RECOGNITION OF Art, founded on the • Cottage Residences' illustrated the immutability of the true as well handsomely-the other quite excepas the beautiful. 2. The PRODUC- tionably. TION OF A WHOLE, springing from Beauty with many among us the necessity in the mind of a unity has become nearly a synonym for of sensation. 3. THE IMITATION OF worthlessness. The beauty of sound, THE BEAUTY OF EXPRESSION, deri- of sight, of taste, of smell, are toved from a refined perception of the gether condemned as the objects of sentiment of nature. 4. The Pro- effeminacy. While the German has DUCTION OF Variety, including un- his fine-toned music, the Hollander der this term intricacy and harmony, his melody of bells and organs, the founded on the ever active desire French his jet d'eau and parterre, for new objects of interest."'* the American from his birth enters
Upon the whole, we regard our into an open conflict with those offi. author's efforts of more value in di- ces of the system which supply recting attention to the subject, than such gratifications. He looks with
any special instructions which an indifference amounting to conthey afford. For aside from the tempt, upon him who courts the small landholder, there are but two pleasure of either of the senses, by classes to whom the precepts con- a more than instinctive indulgence. veyed address themselves. The That great maxim of utility has so first are they, who by commercial inwrought itself into the mind of vigilance or social connection have the nation, that they see it only in attained fortunes, which they desire its gross and palpable forms, overto lavish in a show, that they have looking those indirect methods by not the skill to design, or the taste which it might minister to the soul to appreciate. Such leave the ac- and the sense. Indeed it would complishment of the task to the pro- seem that the mass of landholders fessional artist, and of course need and commercial workers, had forno more the instructions of our au. gotten the intimacy of the mind with thor, than President Tyler needs to the body, in their life transactions ; consult the pages of the Constitution confining the accomplishment of while he has the services of its pro- that soul which is to be, to a few fessed expounders. The other class old books, and stale maxims, and consists of such as have husbanded frequently told prayers; never mindtheir resources to gratify a genuine ing that it is a thing of finer tone taste, cultivated by unwearied ob- and more lasting impressions than servation and study. Such have the even a man's revenue. There are precepts of Vitruvius and Cato, of those who look upon it as a weak. Wren and Evelyn, of Knight and ness, to yield their sterner judg. Price, at their entire command. ments up to a passing love of beau
As we shall not again refer to tiful things, whether of art or the the works before us, except by way 'glory of a sunset sky.' As if it of occasional illustration or com- were not true that the instrument of mendation, we will sum up our no- vision, so admirably adapted to the
acceptance of every material object, * Landscape Gardening, pp. 42, 43. was only in harmony with its own purposes when ministering to the towards taste-ignorance assigning innocent delights of that mind, which the beauty; just as the shipwreck controls its motions. As if there upon the coast of Bohemia enlisted was nothing in that first garden of all the sympathies of the reader, Paradise, fraught with teachings to who knew not but Bohemia lay in the whole race of man ; that there the Pacific. The people are begin. is something godlike and ever to ning to realize that some things be striven for in beauty ; and that in the structure of the Gothic ca. if man can associate with his brow's thedral, may be introduced into a sweat somewhat of that elegance Protestant church, without impairing from which he was driven out, he the efficacy of the word, or diminrestores himself, in so far, to the ishing the awe at the Divine pres. perfection of that physical condition ence. There is something in those in which he was formed to act. dimly lighted, cavernous interiors, They are few who possess not some with their clustering columns, crude notion of what elegance of stretching on as in the vista of a design is, and an inkling of that dream, strangely awe-inspiring, and skill which gives birth to beauty; yet as it seems to us, disposing the mind are the many dazzled by it, only as of a Christian fitly for the worship a babe by a gem.
We have some- of Him who is a spirit. Milton times thought there was something speaks of in the peculiarity of our political
“Storied windows richly dight, condition indisposing to a correct Casting a dim, religious light." taste in reference to the elegant And in the lines which follow, obarts. The shaven heads marked it in our fathers, when Cromwell wore
serve how keenly alive was the mind his buff surtout in place of regal
of that great man to the enchanting garb. And there are many now-a
beauty of good music-often an ex.
ile from our churches, days, to whom beauty of art in all its forms, seems tainted with the mi. “There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full voiced quire below, asma of kingly courts, and lordly
In service high, and anthems clear, bishoprics, and princely dukedoms. As may with sweetness, thro' mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies, An elegant church is an object of
And bring all heaven before mine eyes."** fearful suspicion, for the Popes built St. Peter's; the adornment of Beauty is no foe to reverence-much a city, for Nero rebuilt Rome; less is sublimity. The religion of painting, for tyrants have been its Christ is none the more honored, patrons ; images, for Louis the De. and none the more likely to prosper, bonnair sanctioned their use. Yet for being forced into an unnatural
more ready than these alliance with deformity. The Ark same iconoclasts to admire that of Israel would have borne in equal beauty which reveals itself in a security the covenant of God, had “sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs, it been a ruder casket; yet the anand harping symphonies.”
gel of the Most High scrupled not Perhaps we do not give full credit to rest in guardianship upon its goldto the changes in reference to works en cherubs. of design, that are making their way Our public buildings for civil pursilently in the land ; certain it is, poses are perhaps assimilating more that with regard to public architec- the richness of the European. A ture, more especially church archi- distinct style of architecture is look. tecture, a great change has trans. ed upon as a somewhat worthier obpired. And though the pointed ject than a conglomerate of every window is set in a chapel of Grecian outline, yet is such a blunder a step
* Il Penseroso.
species. Observers are actually be. of a master. We rejoice to see coming acquainted with the massive that economy is finding its interests entablature of the Doric, and a fillet identical with a finished appearance; of palm leaves can not longer be for youth will instinctively pay rebound round the Corinthian shaft, gard to whatever has put on a garb nor the acanthus leaf be plaited up- of beauty; and the neatly painted on the Egyptian column, with im. desk and porch will escape the unpunity. This is well. It is well for seemly cuts and bruises, which were the individual enjoyment of taste ; so much in vogue in our boyish days. it is well for the architect, that he And with the Grecian front of the may possess, as he ought to do, the modern school-room, and the illus. enlightened approbation of the pub- trated pages of the modern school. lic; it is well for the edifices, that book, simple and unnoticed matters they may be cherished with the more though they may have been, we date care, and regarded with feelings of a new era in the education of Amer. a higher pride; and well 100 for the ican children. Such things, in our people, that they may have studies view, will do more to make our land
the country of the cottage and the We have a remark or two to make vine, than the fullest or most inge. in this connection, upon the school. nious elucidation of the principles room, and, by way of episode, upon of rural arts, as taught by Price and the school-book,-being, as they are, Gilpin. the first objects which are presented But not to lose sight of our subto the youthful mind, and such as in ject, nothing will so encourage and the majority of instances utterly con- give permanence to a love for found every natural sentiment (if beauty once awakened, as the arts such there is) of beauty. The build- treated of in Mr. Downing's books. ing is, in nine cases out of ten, an Belles-lettres, painting, statuary, muamorphous mass of lumber and plas. sic, are totally out of the question, ter, where the boy is taught the ru- for refining the tastes of the multidiments of his tongue, from some tude; and the reasons for this are elementary book which—whether too obvious to mention. But there orthodox or heterodox in its ety- are home associations connected with mology, is yet, with its dim blurred the adornment of country landscape printing, and uncouth binding, and and of country houses, which make thrice-worn cuts, an embodiment of it matter of interest to every one ugliness; these mold his fancies, and possessed of any tolerable appreciaelegance is for visionary boys to tion of the beautiful. Nothing opdream of. It is surprising that so erates more strongly, as we have al. little regard is paid at an age so ready intimated, against the prac. young, to the awakening of a love tice of rural embellishments, than for beauty, disposing as it does to or- the restless inquietude of our land. der, and harmony, and regularity. holding population; and nothing And it is the more surprising, that would so surely subdue this inquiethe means of correct guidance are tude, as the successful practice of So obvious and accessible. The these same adornments. Again, the room itself, by its neatness of ar- peculiar facilities afforded by the face rangement, and elegance of design, of our country, will amply sustain might impress an idea of order and an interest on this subject, once iho. fitness upon the growing mind, that roughly awakened. The rich alluwould never leave it and the child vial depositions along our larger unconsciously learn a richer lesson streams, offering the finest soil in from the inanimate objects around the world for the pursuits of agriit, than from the labored admonitions culture and arboriculture,—the full