The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xx. Concerning Contrasts.

Clouds, sunshine and rain in gardens

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The last contrast I shall mention, is that of cloud and sunshine. There is, perhaps, nothing more reviving and delightful, than the sudden effect of a summer's shower, after a long continuance of dry weather: then all nature seems revived: the ground and the plants send forth new and grateful odours; Here Nature's contrasts art attempts in vain; Who can describe the joy that follows pain? Or paint th' effect of sunshine after rain? The flowers, the birds, the insects, all join to express their pleasure; and even the gold fish in a globe, by their frolic motion, shew that they partake in the general joy; splashing the water, and sometimes leaping out of it, to meet the welcome drops. An assemblage of contrasts, under such circumstances, I vainly fancied I could fix by my pencil's art [fig. 203]; but a single drop convinced me how feeble is art in her imitation of nature. "Si la Nature est grande dans les grands choses, Elle est tres grande dans les petites." ROUSSEAU. [See page 397.] Every spray was bespangled by drops, hanging like diamonds, and each changing to all the colours of the rainbow, from whence they appeared to have newly fallen, to cheer the eye, delight the heart, and lift the mind to the contemplation of that source of light and joy from whence alone such beauties and such wonders can proceed.