Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/62

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" The roses to the porch which they entwine." '

In Scotland was seen the reverse of the picture in which Goldsmith had painted Italy.

" In florid beauty groves and fields appear,

In Scotland man was nourished to the most stubborn strength of character, but beauty was the growth that dwindled. In the hard struggle for bare living, and in the gloom of a religion which gave strength but crushed loveliness, no man thought of adorning his home as if it had been his bride. Wordsworth compared the manses in Scotland with the parsonages, even the poor parsonages in England, and said that neither they nor their gardens and grounds had the same " attractive appearance." ; The English country-house, with its lawns, its gardens, and its groves, which acids such a singular charm to our landscape, had not its counter- part on the other side of the border. Elderly men could still recall the day when the approach to the laird's dwelling led past the stable and the cow-house, when the dunghill was heaped up close to the hall-door, and when, instead of lawns and beds of flowers, all around grew a plentiful crop of nettles, docks, and hem- locks. 1 Some improvement had been already made. A taste had happily begun for " neat houses and ornamental fields," and to the hopeful patriot there was " the pleasing prospect that Scotland might in a century or sooner compare with England, not indeed in mag- nificence of country-seats, but in sweetness and variety of concor- dant parts. " ; Even at that time it supplied England with its best gardeners, 6 and nevertheless it was a country singularly bare of gardens. " Pray, now, are you ever able to bring the sloe to per- fection?" asked Johnson of Bosvvell. 7 So far was nature from being adorned that she had been everywhere stripped naked. Woods had been cut down, not even had groups of trees been spared, no solitary oak or elm with its grateful shade stood in the middle of the field or in the hedge-row ; hedge-rows there were none. The pleasantness of the prospect had been everywhere sac- rificed to the productiveness of the field. The beautiful English

1 Wordsworth's Works, ii. 284. 5 Kames' Sketches of the History of Man, i. 274.

- The Traveller, 1. 125. s Boswell's Johnson, ii. 77. The superiority

3 Wordsworth's Works, iv. 99. of the gardeners was most likely due to the

4 Scotland and Scotchmen in the Eighteenth superiority of the education of the poorer classes. Century, ii. 99. ' lb. ii. 78.

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