Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

events greater and more heroical : because true history propoundeth the successes and issues of actions not so agreeable to the merits of virtue and vice, therefore poesy feigns them more just in retribution, and more according to revealed providence: because true history representeth actions and events more ordinary and less interchanged, therefore poesy endueth them with more rareness, and more unexpected variation, so as it appeareth, that poesy serveth and conferrethr to magnanimity, morality, and delectation a."

Having, then, in the preceding pages, hinted at a few omissions in our Alma Mater, let us acknowledge her superiorities. In what is greatest she is generally understood to be great. The Marquis de Condamini, treating of Academies, (A. 1755,) objects, “ that though there were several academies b at Rome for poetry, eloquence, sculpture, and painting, for designing and modelling, there was none, even there, for physic and mathematics, and that throughout all Italy, there was only one for antiquities; and one for the sciences.” The academy at Naples was not established till after 1755.

a The PROFICIENCE and Advancement of LEARNING.

b There are, however, besides, several universities in Italy. The author is speaking only of its academies.

PUE

PART III.

PUBLIC WALKS, AND PUBLIC BUILD

INGS OF THE UNIVERSITY.

CHAP, I.

PUBLIC WALKS.

OUR public walks and public buildings are usually made the subject merely of description : it is intended with description to intermix, on the present occasion, a little of literary remark: true, indeed, it is, that the routine of our walks, and gardens, and public edifices, constitutes no part of our Cambridge literature; but what relates to them is concerned both with science and art: and a few literary remarks, in treating of them, may seem not out of order in a UNIVERSITY History.

On contemplating a spot of ground, before it is laid out, we should inquire what it can be made from its natural qualities and capabilities ; what it might be made under the direction of a man of genius and taste;

and what it ought to be made, in reference to its future designation and inhabitants. Who expects to find the bold

points, and striking contrasts, of mountain-scenery, the
roaring cascade, or thundering cataract, on a plain? Who
raises plantations of oaks in a corn field? or, who, in a
park, looks for light espaliers, and parterres of flowers?

But learn to rein
Thy skill within the limits she allows;
Great Nature scorns controul ; she will not bear
One beauty foreign to the spot or soil.

Mason's English Garden,
Let us distinguish, too, between gardens and public
walks ; between a nobleman's pleasure ground, and a spot
to be adapted to the health and exercise of students, to
academic retreats, which invite to meditation.

A D'Ermenonville', or our own Mason, had they been
called, at first, to create beauties on this spot, might cer-
tainly have formed some charms, which it now wants :
and could they have commanded the Cam, might have
done a great deal. I am reminded, too, that Mr. Brown,
so much admired for his skill in landscape gardening ,
could do wonders on a plain surface, by help of draining

* R. L. Gerardin, Viscounte D'Ermenonville, author of an admirable
Essay on LANDSCAPE.

Author of as admirable a poem, called the English Garden.
• Mr. Brown's plan may be seen at the entrance of the University
library. He was the particular friend of Mr. Mason, and lies buried in
Fenstanton church, a few miles from Cambridge. On his monument is
the following inscription, written by Mason.

Lancelot Brown, Esq. died February 6, 1753, aged 67 years.
Ye sons of elegance, who truly taste

The simple charms that genuine art supplies,
Come from the sylvan scenes his genius grac'd,

And offer here your tributary sighs.
But know, that more than genius slumbers here; -

Virtues were his which Art's best powers transcend :
Come, ye superior train! who these revere,

And weep the Christian, Husband, Father, Friend.

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

marshes, of artificial waters, and vallies, and by removing ground; by serpentine walks, and plantations of trees; he wished to display his taste on these grounds, and Mr. Ashby has hinted that the expense would have been scarce worth mentioning; a noble young Duke, then residing in one of the colleges, having proposed to set it on foot, by a subscription of 10001. This subject, at the time, engaged much attention, but the plan was never realized. Whether for pleasure, or for profit, the improvements would have been worth this moderate expense, whether the projector would have received the thanks of the town, or the gratitude of posterity, or to what extent Mr. Brown's specific plan was capable of being realized, are questions foreign to our narration.

To the public grounds of an university, what seems congenial, are walks agreeably, but not abruptly winding, lofty trees,

O’er arching groves,
That contemplation loves.

Gray.

seats, or alcoves, not rustic, nor yet fantastical; not placed at random, nor yet formally obtrusive; with edifices adapted to the scenery and place. But, who, in such places would look for tonsile trees, jets d'eaux, and zigzag walks ; Chinese temples, or Diogenes's tubs ? Not that Mr. Brown's improvements were in this little style: his plan shall presently speak for itself. The eye would certainly have been pleased with walks more winding, with a greater variety of trees, with something more of a winter garden of ever-greens, and of light underwood near the banks of the river, and that without affecting to bring the Wye, or Usk, to these baunts, or obstructing the naviga

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »