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the whole tribe of sylvan deities. and their stories are so well expressed, that the whole seems a collection of all the most beautiful fables of the antient poets translated into colours. The remaining spaces of the roof, ten feet on each side of the cieling, are of the clearest glass, to let in the sky and clouds from above. The buildings point full east and west, so that I enjoy the sun while he is above the horizon. His rays are improved through the glass; and I receive through it what is desirable in a winter sky, without the coarse allay of the season, which is a kind of sifting or straining the weather. My greens and flowers are as sensible as I am of this benefit: they flourish and look cheerful as in the spring, while their fellow-creatures abroad are starved to death. I must add, that a moderate expense of fire, over and above the contribution I receive from the sun, serves to keep this large room in a due temperature; it being sheltered from the cold winds by a hill on the north, and a wood on the east.
The shell, you see, is both agreeable and convenient; and now you shall judge whether I have laid out the floor to advantage. There goes through the whole length of it a spacious walk of the finest gravel, made to bind and unite so firmly that it seems one continued stone; with this advantage, that it is easier to the foot, and better for walking, than if it were what it seems to be. At each end of the walk, on the one and on the other side of it, lies a square plot of grass of the finest turf and brightest verdure. What ground remains on both sides, between these little smooth fields of green, is paved with large quarries of white marble; where the blue veins trace out such a variety of irregular windings, through the clear surface, that
these bright plains seem full of rivulets and streaming meanders. This to my eye, that delights in simplic ty, is inexpressibly more beautiful than the chequered floors which are so generally admired by others. Upon the right and upon the left, along the gravel walk, I have ranged interchangeably the bay, the myrtle, the orange, and the lemon-trees, intermixed with painted hollies, silver firs, and pyramids of yew; all so disposed, that every tree receives an additional beauty from its situation, besides the harmony that rises from the disposition of the whole: no shade cuts too strongJy, or breaks in harshly upon the other; but the eye is cheered with a mild rather than gorgeous diversity of
The borders of the four grass plots are garnished with pots of flowers: those delicacies of nature recreate two senses at once, and leave such delightful and genthe impressions upon the brain, that I cannot help thinking them of equal force with the softest airs of music, toward the smoothing of our tempers. In the centre of every plot is a statue. The figures I have made choice of are a Venus, an Adonis, a Diana, and an Apollo; such excellent copies, as to raise the same delight as we should draw from the sight of the antient originals.
The north wall would have been but a tiresome waste to the eye, if I had not diversified it with the most lively ornaments, suitable to the place. To this intent I have been at the expense to lead over arches, from a neighbouring hill, a plentiful store of springwater, which a beautiful Naiad, placed as high as is possible in the centre of the wall, pours out from an urn. This, by a fall of above twenty feet, makes a most delightful cascade into a bason that opens wide
within the marble floor on that side. At a reasonable distance, on either hand of the cascade, the wall is hollowed into two spreading scollops, each of which receives a couch of green velvet, and forms at the same time a canopy over them. Next to them come two large aviaries, which are likewise let into the stone. These are succeeded by two grottos, set off with all the pleasing rudeness of shells, and moss, and cragged stones, imitating, in miniature, rocks and precipices, the most dreadful and gigantic works of nature. After the grottos, you have two niches; the one inhabited by Ceres, with her sickle and sheaf of wheat; and the other by Pomona, who, with a countenance full of good cheer, pours a bounteous autumn of fruits out of her horn. Last of all come two colonies of bees, whose stations lying east and west, the one is saluted by the rising, the other by the setting sun. These, all of them being placed at proportioned intervals, furnish out the whole length of the wall; and the spaces that lie between are painted in fresco by the same hand that has enriched my cieling.
Now, sir, you see my whole contrivance to elude the rigour of the year, to bring a northern climate nearer the sun, and to exempt myself from the common fate of my countrymen. I must detain you a little longer to tell you that I never enter this delicious retirement but my spirits are revived, and a sweet complacency diffuses itself over my whole mind. And how can it be otherwise, with a conscience void of offence, where the music of falling waters, the symphony of birds, the gentle humming of becs, the breath of flowers, the fine imagery of painting and sculpture, in a word, the beauties and the charms of nature and of art, court all my faculties, refresh the fibres of the
This paper I design for the particular benefit of those worthy citizens who live more in a coffee-house than in their shops, and whose thoughts are so taken up with the affairs of the allies, that they forget their customers *.
CRITIQUE OF A SONG.
I YESTERDAY came hither about two hours before the company generally make their appearance, with a design to read over all the newspapers; but upon my sitting down, I was accosted by Ned Softly, who saw me from a corner in the other end of the room, where I found he had been writing something. Mr. Bickerstaff, says he, I observe by a late paper of yours, that you and I are just of a humour; for you must know, of all impertinencies, there is nothing which I so much hate as news. I never read a Gazette in my life; and never trouble my head about our armies, whether they win or lose, or in what part of the world they lie encamped. Without giving me time to reply, he drew a paper of verses out of his pocket, telling me that he had something which would entertain me more agreeably; and that he would desire my judgment upon every line, for that we had time enough before us until the company came in.
Ned Softly is a very pretty poet, and a great admirer of easy lines. Waller is his favourite: and as that admirable writer has the best and worst verses of any
The character of the Upholsterer, in the farce of that name, by Mr. Murphy, was suggested by this Paper.
among our great English poets, Ned Softly has got all the bad ones without book; which he repeats upon occasion, to show his reading, and garnish his conversation. Ned is indeed a true English reader, incapable of relishing the great and masterly strokes of this art; but wonderfully pleased with the little gothic ornaments of epigrammatical conceits, turns, points, and quibbles; which are so frequent in the most admired of our English poets, and practised by those who want genius and strength to represent, after the manner of the antients, simplicity in its natural beauty and perfection.
Finding myself unavoidably engaged in such a conversation, I was resolved to turn my pain into a pleasure, and to divert myself as well as I could with so very odd a fellow. You must understand, says Ned, that the sonnet I am going to read to you was written upon a lady who showed me some verses of her own making, and is, perhaps, the best poet of our age. But you shall hear it. Upon which he began to read as follows:
To Mira, on her incomparable Poems.
When dress'd in laurel wreaths you shine,
And tune your soft melodious notes,
You seem a sister of the Nine,
Or Phoebus' self in petticoats.
I fancy, when your song you sing,
(Your song you sing with so much art,) Your pen was pluck'd from Cupid's wing; For, ah! it wounds me like his dart.