Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/63

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landscape was gone. " The striking characteristic in the views of Scotland," said an observant traveller, " is a poverty of landscape from a want of objects, particularly of wood. Park scenery is little known. The lawn, the clump, and the winding walk are rarely found." 1 As he crossed the border he might have said with John- son : " It is only seeing a worse England. It is seeing the flower gradually fade away to the naked stalk." ; " Every part of the country," wrote Goldsmith from Edinburgh in his student days, " pre- sents the same dismal landscape. No grove nor brook lend their music to cheer the stranger, or make the inhabitants forget their poverty." 3 There was none of " the bloomy flush of life." The whole country was open, and resembled one vast common with a few scattered improvements. 1 Along the western road from Longworth to Dumfries it exhibited "a picture of dreary solitude, of smoky hovels, naked, ill-cultivated fields, lean cattle and a dejected people, without manufactures, trade or shipping."

The eastern coast, along which Johnson travelled, was singu- larly bare of trees. He had not, he said, passed five on the road fit for the carpenter. 6 The first forest trees of full growth which he saw were in the north of Aberdeenshire. 7 " This is a day of novel- ties," he said on the morrow. " I have seen old trees in Scotland, and I have heard the English clergy treated with disrespect."" Topham, while attacking his Journey to the Western Isles, yet admitted that it was only in the parks of a few noblemen that oaks were found fifty years old." Lord Jeffrey maintained so late as 1833 that within a circle of twenty miles from Watford there was more old timber than in all Scotland. 10 Burns, in his Humble Peti- tion of Bruar Water to the Duke of A thole, testifies to the want of

trees :

" Would then my noble master please

To grant my highest wishes, He'll shade my banks wi' tow'ring trees,

And bonnie spreading bushes."

There were, of course, noble trees scattered throughout the country. Gray describes " the four chestnuts of vast bulk and height in Lord

1 W. Gilpin's Observations relative to Pic- s Knox's Tour through the Highlands of Scot-

turcsqtie Reality in the year 1776, i. 117, 123, /ami, p. 5'

141. (; Piozsi Letters, i. 120. ' Works, ix. 17.

' Bosweirs_/0//., iii. 248. * Eosv/dl's JtAnson, v. 120.

3 Forster's LifeofGolJsmith, i. 433. Letters from Edinburgh, p. 230.

4 Gentleman' s Magazine, 1754, p. 119. '" Cockburn's Life of Lord Jeffrey, i. 348.

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