The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xxxvi. Harestreet. Of Quantity And Appropriation.

Repton's delight in landscapes and gardens

Previous - Next

The most valuable lesson now left me to communicate is this: I am convinced that the delight I have always taken in landscapes and gardens, without any reference to their quantity or appropriation, or without caring whether they were forests or rosaries, or whether they were palaces, villas, or cottages, while I had leave to admire their beauties, and even to direct their improvement, has been the chief source of that large portion of happiness which I have enjoyed through life, and of that resignation to inevitable evils, with which I now look forward to the end of my pains and labours. While I was actually writing this last page of my work, I received a letter from one of the ablest statesmen now left to the country, in which are these words:- "The best comment upon what has been the leading pursuit and employment of your life, is to be found in the relief and solace which, at this time, you derive from it. 'Quid pure tranquillet?' [What can bestow pure tranquillity?] has long been a philosophical question; religion answers it. But I have always thought that the sort of taste which you have eminently contributed to form and diffuse, has a peculiar tendency to soothe, refine, and improve the mind; and, consequently, to promote most essentially the true and rational enjoyment of life." Feeling the full force of this just remark from one of the most pious and benevolent of men, I will finish with the remark of one, who possessed more wit than real worth, who, after enumerating various experiments to obtain happiness, concludes with these words, "Allons mes amis, il faut cultiver nos jardins." [Come along, my friends, and let us cultivate our gardens.] [The usual versions of the quotation from Voltaire's Candide are 'il faut cultiver notre jardin' and 'il faut cultiver son jardin'. TT]