��prospects and views, and laying out ground and taste in garden ing x : ' That was the best garden (he said) which produced most roots and fruits ; and that water was most to be prized which contained most fish.' He used to laugh at Shenstone most unmercifully for not caring whether there was any thing good to eat in the streams he was so fond of, * as if (says Johnson) one could fill one's belly with hearing soft murmurs, or looking at rough cascades 2 ! '
He loved the sight of fine forest trees however, and detested Brighthelmstone Downs, 'because it was a country so truly desolate (he said), that if one had a mind to hang one's self for desperation at being obliged to live there, it would be difficult to find a tree on which to fasten the rope.' Walking in a wood when it rained, was, I think, the only rural image he pleased his fancy with 3 ; 'for (says he) after one has gathered the apples in an orchard, one wishes them well baked, and removed to a London eating-house for enjoyment.'
With such notions, who can wonder he passed his time uncom fortably enough with us, whom he often complained of for living so much in the country ; ' feeding the chickens (as he said I did) till I starved my own understanding. Get however (said he) a book about gardening, and study it hard, since you will pass your life with birds and flowers, and learn to raise the largest
pany." ' European Magazine, xv. ' a layer-out of land ' Johnson con-
loo. tinues : ' Perhaps a surly and a sul-
If there is any truth in this story len speculator may think such per-
it is wrong in its particulars, for at formances rather the sport than the
this time Boswell and Hannah More business of human reason.' Works,
did not know Johnson. viii. 409. ' Nothing raised Shen-
1 * I have a notion,' writes Bos- stone's indignation more than to ask well, ' that he at no time has had if there were any fishes in his water.' much taste for rural beauties. I have Ib. p. 410.
myself very little.' Ltfe,\. 112. See 3 When he was kept in town by
ante, p. 215. his Lives of the Poets he wrote to
2 ' We talked of Shenstone. Dr. Mr. Thrale : ' I hope to see stand- Johnson said he was a good layer- ing corn in some part of the earth out of land, but would not allow him this summer, but I shall hardly smell to approach excellence as a poet.' hay or suck clover-flowers.' Letters, Life, v. 267. After describing him as ii. 163.
Y 2, turnips,