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his resources, whether of garden, or villa, or memory, or ingenuity, so an to carry a reputation for ability that he never has deserved. His money, and the distinction of his father, gave him an association with cultivated people, — artists, politicians, poets,—which the metal of his own mind would never have found by reason of its own gravitating power. He courted notoriety in a way that would have made him, if a poorer man, the toadying Boswell of some other Johnson giant, and, if very poor, the welcome buffoon of some gossiping journal, who would never weary of contortions, and who would brutify himself at the death, to kindle an admiring smile.
He writes pleasantly about painters, and condescendingly of gardeners and gardening. Of the special beauties of Strawberry Hill he is himself historiographer; elaborate copper plates, elegant paper, and a particularity that is ludicrous, set forth the charms of a villa which never supplied a single incentive to correct taste, or a single scene that has the embalmment of genius. He tells us grandly how this room was hung with crimson, and that other with gold; how "the tearoom was adorned with green paper and prints, .... on the hearth, a large green vase of German ware, with a spread eagle, and lizards for handles,"—which vase (if the observation be not counted disloyal by sensitive gentlemen) must have been a very absurd bit of pottery. "On a shelf and brackets are two potpourris of Hankin china; two pierced blue and white basons of old Delft; and two sceaus [sic] of coloured Seve; a blue and white vase and cover; and two old Fayenee bottles."
When a man writes about his own furniture in this style for large type and quarto, we pity him more than if he had kept to such fantastic nightmares as the "Castle of Otranto." The Earl of Orford speaks in high terms of the literary abilities of the Earl of Bath: have any of my readers ever chanced to see any literary work of the Earl of Bath? If not, I will supply the omission, in the shape of
a ballad, "to the tune of a former song by George Bubb Doddington." It is entitled, "Strawberry Hill."
"Some cry up Gunnersbury,
For Sion some declare;
Mo villa can compare.
Who know the country well,
Don't bear away the bell?
"Since Denham sung of Cooper's,
There 's scarce a hill around
Is turned to fairy ground.
I wish them wondrous well;
Must bear away the bell."
It is no way surprising that a noble poet capable of writing such a ballad should have admired the villa of Horace Walpole: it is no way surprising that a proprietor capable of admiring such a ballad should have printed his own glorification of Strawberry Hill.
I am not insensible to the easy grace and the piquancy of his letters; no man could ever pour more delightful twaddle into the ear of a great friend; no man could more delight in doing it, if only the friend were really great. I am aware that ho was highly cultivated, — that he had observed widely at home and abroad, — that he was a welcome guest in distinguished circles; but he never made or had a real friend; and the news of the old man's death made no severer shock than if one of his Fayence pipkins had broken.
But what most irks me is the absurd dilettanteism and presumption of the man. He writes a tale as if he were giving dignity to romance; he applauds an artist as Dives might have thrown crumbs to Lazarus; vain to the last degree of all that he wrote or said, he was yet too fine a gentleman to be called author; if there had been a way of printing books, without recoui-se to the vulgar media of type and paper, — a way of which titled gentlemen could command the monopoly,—
I think he would have written more. As I turn over the velvety pages of his works, and look at his catalogues, his ban-mats, his drawings, his affectations of magnificence, I seem to see the fastidious old man shuffling with gouty step up and down, from drawing-room to library, —stopping here and there to admire some newly arrived bit of pottery, — pulling out his golden snuff-box, and whisking a delicate pinch into his old nostrils,—then dusting his affluent shirt-frill with the tips of his dainty fingers, with an air of gratitude to Providence for having created so fine a gentleman as Horace Walpole, and of gratitude to Horace Walpole for having created so fine a place as Strawberry 'Hill.
I turn from this ancient specimen of titled elegance to a consideration of Mr. Burke, with much the same relief with which I would go out from a perfumed drawing - room into the breezy air of a June morning. Lord Kames has told us that Mr. Burke preferred oxen to horsos for field-labor; and we have Burke's letters to his bailiff, showing a nice attention to the economics of farming, and a complete mastery ot its working details. But more than anywhere else does his agricultural sagacity declare itself in his "Thoughts and Details on Scarcity." *
Will the reader pardon me the transcript of a passage or two? "It is a perilous thing to try experiments on the farmer.. The farmer's capital (except in a few persons, and in a very few places) is far more feeble than is commonly imagined. The trade is a very poor trade; it is subject to great risks and losses. The capital, such as it is, is turned but once in the year; in some branches it requires three years before the money is paid ; I believe never less than three in the turnip and
grass-land course It is very rare
that the most prosperous farmer, counting the value of his quick and dead stock, the interest of the money he turns, together with his own wages as a bailiff or overseer, ever does make twelve or fifteen per centum by the year on his capital. * Presented to William Pitt, 1795.
In most parts of England which have fallen within my observation, I have rarely known a farmer who to his own trade has not added some other employment or traffic, that, after a course of the most unremitting parsimony and labor, and persevering in his business for a long course of years, died worth more than paid his debts, leaving his posterity to continue in nearly the same equal conflict between industry and want in which the last predecessor, and a long line of predecessors before him, lived and died."
In confirmation of this last statement, I may mention that Samuel Ireland, writing in 1792, (" Picturesque Views on the Kiver Thames,") speaks of a farmer named Wapshote, near Chertsey, whose ancestors had resided on the place ever since the time of Alfred the Great; and amid all the chances and changes of centuries, not one of the descendants had either bettered or marred his fortunes. The truthfulness of the story is confirmed in a number of the "Monthly Review" for the same year.
Mr. Burke commends the excellent and most useful works of his "friend Arthur Young," (of whom I shall have somewhat to say another time,) but regrets that he should intimate the largeness of a far-, mer's profits. He discusses the drill-culture, (for wheat,) which, he says, is well, provided "the soil is not excessively heavy, or encumbered with large, loose stones, and provided the most vigilant superintendence, the most prompt activity, which has no such day as to-morrow in its calendar," combine to speed the plough; in this case I admit," he says, "its superiority over the old and general methods." And again he says,—"It requires ten times more of labor, of vigilance, of attention, of skill, and, let me add, of good fortune also, to carry on the business of a farmer with success, than what belongs to any other trade."
May not "A Farmer" take a little pride in such testimony as this?
• At that day, horse-hoeing, at regular intervals, was understood to form part of what was counted drill-culture.
One of his biographers tells us, that, in ]>>, later years, the neighbors saw him on one occasion, at his home of Beaconsfield, leaning upon the shoulder of a favorite old horse, (which had the privilege of the lawn,) and sobbing. Whereupon the gossiping villagers reported the great man crazed. Ay, crazed, — broken by the memory of his only and lost son Richard, with whom this aged saddle-horse had been a special favorite,—crazed, no doubt, at thought of the strong young hand whose touch the old beast waited for iu vain,—crazed and broken,—an oak, ruined and blasted by storms. The great mind in this man was married to a great heart. It is almost with a feeling of awe that I enter upon my wet-day studies the name of Oliver Goldsmith: I love so much his tender story of the good Vicar; I love so much his poems. The world is accustomed to regard that little novel, which Dr. Johnson bargained away for sixty guineas, as a rural tale: it is so quiet; it is so simple; its atmosphere is altogether so redolent of the country. And yet all, save some few critical readers, will be surprised to learn that there is not a picture of natural scenery in tho book of any length; and wherever an allusion of the kind appears, it does not bear the impress of a mind familiar with the country, and practically at home there. The Doctor used to go out upon the Edgeware road, — not for his love of trees, but to escape noise and duns. Yet we overlook literalness, charmed as we are by the development of his characters and by the sweet burden of his story. The statement may seem extraordinary, but I could transcribe every rural, out-ofdoor scene in the "Vicar of Wakefield" upon a single half- page of foolscap. Of the first home of the Vicar we have only this account: — " We had an elegant house, situated in a fine country and a good neighborhood." Of his second home there is this more full description :—" Our little habitation was situated at the foot of a sloping hill, sheltered with a beautiful underwood behind, and a prattling river before: on one side a meadow, on
the other a green. My farm consisted of about twenty acres of excellent land, having given a hundred pounds for my predecessor's good-will. Nothing could exceed the neatness of my little inelosures: the elms and hedge-rows appearing with inexpressible beauty. My house consisted of but one story, and was covered with thatch, which-gave it an air of great snugness." It is quite certain that an author familiar with the country, and with a memory stocked with a multitude of kindred scenes, would have given a more determinate outline to this picture. But whether he would have given to his definite outline the fascination that belongs to the vagueness of Goldsmith, is wholly another question.
Again, in the sixth chapter, Mr. Burchell is called upon to assist the Vicar and his family in "saving an after-growth of hay." "Our labors," he says, "went on lightly; we turned the swath to the wind." It is plain that Goldsmith never saved much hay; turning a swath to the wind may be a good way of making it, but it is a slow way of gathering it. In the eighth chapter of this charming story, the Doctor says, — " Our family dined in the field, and we sat, or rather reclined, round a temperate repast, our cloth spread upon the hay. . To heighten our satisfaction, the blackbirds answered each other from opposite hedges, the familiar redbreast came and pecked the crumbs from our hands, and every sound seemed but the echo of tranquillity." This is very fascinating; but it is the veriest romanticism of country-life. Such sensible girls as Olivia and Sophia would, I am quite sure, never have spread the dinner-cloth upon hay, which would most surely have set all the gravy affow, if the platters had not been fairly overturned ; and as for the redbreasts, (with that rollicking boy Moses iu my mind,) I think they must have been terribly tame birds.
But this is only a farmer's criticism,—a Crispin feeling the bunions on some Phid ian statue. And do I think the less of Goldsmith, because he wantoned with the literalism of the country, and laid on his
prismatic colors of romance where only with its garden-song, — not the caged white light lay? Not one whit. It on- birds of Killingworth, singing up and ly shows how Genius may discard utter down the village-street, — not the heathfaithfulness to detail, if only its song is er-bells out of which the springy step of charged with a general simplicity and Jean Ingelow crushes perfume, — shall truthfulness that till our ears and our make me forget the old, sweet, even flow hearts. of the "Deserted Village."
As for Goldsmith's verse, who does not Down with it, my boy, from the third love it? It is wicked to consume the shelf! G-o-l-d-s-m-i-t-h — a worker in pages of a magazine with extracts from gold — is on the back, a poem that is our daily food, else I would And I sit reading it to myself, as a fog string them all down this column and the comes weltering in from the sea, covernext, and every one should have a breezy ing all the landscape, save some halfreminder of the country in it. Not all the dozen of the city - spires, which peer arts of all the modernists,—not "Maud," above the drift-like beacons.
THE REAPER'S DREAM.
The road was lone; the grass was dank
With night-dews on the briery bank
Whereon a weary reaper sank.
His garb was old,—his visage tanned;
The rusty sickle in his hand
Could find no work in all the land.
He saw the evening's chilly star
Above his native vale afar;
A moment on the horizon's bar
It hung, — then sank as with a sigh:
And there the crescent moon went by,
An empty sickle down the sky.
To soothe his pain, Sleep's tender palm
She touched his eyes: no longer sealed,
They were not brawny men who bowed
Like little lightnings in their hold,
Oh, bid the morning-stars combine
Behind them lay the gleaming rows,
Doubling the splendor of the plain,
The snowy yoke that drew the load
On gleaming hoofs of silver trode,
And music was its only goad:
To no command of word or beck
It moved, and felt no other check
Than one white arm laid on the neck, —
The neck whose light was overwound
The field was cleared. Home went the bands,
The vision brightening more and more,