The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section I. Historical Sketches.

Poetry and gardening

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In the poetical imagination, indeed, the ideal type of a modern landscape garden seems always to have been more or less shadowed forth. The Vaucluse of Petrarch, Tasso's garden of Armida, the vale of Tempe of �lian, were all exquisite conceptions of the modern style. And Milton, surrounded as he was by the splendid formalities of the gardens of his time, copied from no existing models, but feeling that EDEN must have been free and majestic in its outlines, he drew from his inner sense of the beautiful, and from nature as he saw her developed in the works of the Creator. There, the crisped brooks,� "With mazy error under pendant shades Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon Pour'd forth profuse, on hill and dale and plain, Both where the morning sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierced shade Imbrown'd the noontide bowers; thus was this place A happy rural seat of various view." But it required more than poetical types to change the long rooted fashion. The lever of satire needed to be applied, and the golden links that bind Nature and Art, more clearly revealed, before the old system could be made to waver.