« PreviousContinue »
for great princes, that, for the most part, taking advice with workmen, with no less cost set their things together, and sometimes add statues, and such things, for state and magnificence, but nothing to the true pleasure of a garden.
'I for my part do not like images cut out in juniper.'
This childish taste, as Bacon rightly calls it, prevailed to a great degree long after his time. But what is now called 'Landscape-gardening* is, of all the fine arts (it may fairly be accounted one), the latest in its origin; having arisen not very early in the last century.
The earliest writer, I believe, on the subject was my uncle Thomas Whately. From his work (which went through several editions) subsequent writers have borrowed largely, and generally with little or no acknowledgment. The French poet De Lille, however, in his poem of Les Jardins, does acknowledge him as bis master.
Mr. W. was distinguished as a man of taste in more than one department. Being by many looked up to with deference in such matters, it was he that first brought into notice Thomson's Seasons, and thus laid the foundation of its great popularity. And the portion that was completed of his work on the Characters of Sltakespere (left unfinished at his death, but edited first by my lather, and afterwards by myself) is considered by competent judges to be one of the ablest critical works that ever appeared.1
1 This Work was very severely criticized in n pamphlet published a good many yean ago, by Mr. John Kemble, which is something of a curiosity in its way; on account of the vehement indignation with which he comes forward to vindicate the character of Macbeth, which had been, as he thinks, unduly disparaged. If Shakespere's Macbeth had been a real person, and had been a dear friend of Mr. Kemble's, more wrathful zeal could hardly have been manifested. And the reckless haste of the writing appears in the circumstance that he had (with the book before him) mistaken the Author's christian name, and mis-spelt his surname. It is true, it is a matter of no intrinsic importance whether he was christened Thomas or William, or whether his surname was written with seven letters, or eight. But to make two blunders in the title-page of the book one is reviewing, indicates careless impetuosity.
His treatise on Modern Gardening (as it was then called) would form the most suitable annotation on this Essay of Bacon's. But it is far too long to be inserted entire; and any extracts or abridgment would be far from doing justice either to the Author, or to the subject.
It is worth observing, that of what is now called picturesque beauty, the ancients seem to have had no perception. A modern reader does indeed find in their writings descriptions which in his mind excite ideas of that kind of beauty. But the writers themselves seem to have felt delight only in the refreshing coolness of streams and shady trees,—in the softness of a grassy couch,—and in the gay colours and odours of flowers. And as for rocky mountains and everything that we admire as sublime scenery, this they seem to have regarded merely with aversion and horror; as the generality of the uneducated do, now, and as our ancestors did, not many years ago. Cotton, for instance, the contemporary and friend of Isaac Walton, and an author of some repute in his day, speaks of his own residence on the romantic river Dove, which tourists now visit on account of its surpassing beauty, as
And most even of Mr. Whately's contemporaries seem to have regarded the Scotch Highlands as frightful.
ESSAY XLYII. OF NEGOTIATING.
IT is generally better to deal by speech than by letter, and by the mediation of a third than by a man's self. Letters are good, when a man would draw an answer by letter back again, or when it may serve for a man's justification afterwards to produce his own letter: or where it may be danger to be interrupted, or heard by pieces. To deal in person is good, when a man's face breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases, where a man's eye upon the countenance of him with whom he speaketh may give him a direction how far to go; and generally, where a man will reserve to himself liberty, either to disavow or expound. In choice of instruments, it is better to choose men of a plainer sort, that are like to do that that is committed to them, and to report back again faithfully the success, than those that are cunning1 to contrive out of other men's business somewhat to grace themselves, and will help the matter in report, for satisfaction sake. Use also such persons as affect2 the business wherein they are employed; for that quickeneth much; and such as are fit for the matter, as bold men for expostulation, fair-spoken men for persuasion, crafty men for inquiry and observation, froward and absurd3 men for business that doth not well bear out itself. Use also such as huve been lucky, and prevailed before in things wherein you have employed them; for that breeds confidence, and they will strive to maintain their prescription.
It is better to sound a person with whom one deals, afar off, than to fall upon the point at first, except you mean to surprise him by some short question. It is better dealing with, men in appetite,4 than with those that are where they would be. If a man deal with another upon conditions, the start of first performance is all; which a man cannot reasonably demand, except either the nature of the thing be such which must go before; or else a man can persuade the other party that he shall still need him in some other thing; or else that he be counted the honester man. All practice' is to discover, or to work. Men discover themselves in trust, in passion, at unawares; and of necessity, when they would have somewhat done, and cannot find an apt pretext . If you would work any man, you must either know his nature or fashions,' and so lead him; or his ends, and so persuade him; or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him; or those that have interest in him, and so govern him. In dealing with cunning persons, we must ever consider their ends to interpret their speeches; and it is good to say little to them, and that which they least look for. In all negotiations of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and reap at once, but must prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees.
1 Canning. Skilful. 'I will take away the cunning artificer.'—Isaiak iii. 3. 'I will send yon a man of mino, Cunning in music and the mathematics.'—Shakeejiere. 1 Affect. To like. See page 419.
3 Absurd. Sec Annotation on Essay XXVI.
4 Appetite. Desire.
'Dexterity so obeying appetite,
'It is generally better to deal by speech than by letter.'
It is a pity Bacon did not say more, though what he does say is very just—on the comparative reasons for discussing each matter orally, or in writing. Not that a set of rules could be devised for the employment of each, that should supersede the need of cautious observation, and sagacious reflection; for ' what art,' as he himself has observed, 'can teach the suit
1 Practice. Negotiation; skilful management. 'He ought to have that by practice, which he could not by prayer.'—Sidney. Thus, also, the verb: 'I have practised with him. And found means to let the victor know, That Syphax and Semproniua are his friends.'—Addison. 3 Fashion. Way; manner; habit.
'Pluck Oasca by the sleeve, And he will, after his own faddon, tell you What hath proceeded.'—Shakespere.
able employment of an art.?' 'Genius begins,' as some one has remarked, 'where rules end.' But well-framed rules— such as Bacon doubtless could hare given us in this matter— instead of cramping genius, enable it to act more efficiently.
One advantage which, in some cases, the speaker possesses over the writer is, that he can proceed exactly in the order which he judges to be the best; establishing each point in succession, and perhaps keeping out of sight the conclusion to which he is advancing, if it be one against which there exists a prejudice. For sometimes men will feel the force of strong arguments which they would not have listened to at all, if they had known at the outset to what they were ultimately leading. Thus the lawyer, in the fable, is drawn into giving a right decision as to the duty of the owner of an ox which had gored a neighbour's. Now, though you may proceed in the same order, in a letter or a book, you cannot—if it is all to be laid before the reader at once—prevent his looking first at the end, to see what your ultimate design is. And then you may be discomfited, just as a well-drawn-up army might be, if attacked in the rere.
Many writers of modern tales have guarded against this, and precluded their readers from forestalling the conclusion, by publishing in successive numbers. And an analogous advantage may sometimes be secured by writing two or more letters in succession, so as gradually to develop the arguments in their proper order.
In oral discussions quickness may give a man a great advantage over those who may, perhaps, surpass him in sound judgment, but who take more time to form their opinions, and to develop their reasons; and, universally, speaking has an advantage over writing, when the arguments are plausible, but flimsy. There is a story of an Athenian, who had a speech written for him in a cause he was to plead, by a professional orator, and which he was to learn by heart. At the first reading he was delighted with it; but less at the second; and at the third, it seemed to him quite worthless. He went to the composer to complain; who reminded him that the judges were only to hear it once.
And hence, as has been justly remarked, the very early practice of much public speaking, tends to cultivate, in the person