button to main menu  Gents Mag 1790 p.930

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Gentleman's Magazine 1790 p.930

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  Observations Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty

William Gilpin's Picturesque Beauty

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... Observations Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty ... William Gilpin ...
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What would our modern philosophers say to the following manly and true remarks on the dismal dungeons of Cockermouth castle, II. 150? "It makes one shudder to think of a human creature shut up in those chambers of horror. How dreadful would it be for the people of these more polished times to be carried back into those barbarous periods when these savage practices existed! And yet there is such a correspondence throughout the whole system of manners in each aera, that people are happier, perhaps, under the entire habits of any one age than they would be under a partial change, even though that change were for the better. If we could all bear the mixture with such savage contemporaries, they would perhaps be as much discomposed with our polished manners. Nor did they feel, as we should, a compassion for that barbarous treatment which they were ready to suffer themselves from the chance of war."
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Mr. G. considers Keswick lake as an inexhaustible fund of beauty; yet thinks it capable of improvement, by clearing the road about it, and by planting. The rules for the latter are not so easily practised. "Man cannot put a twig into the ground without formality; and if he put in a dozen together, let him put them in with what art he please, his awkward handywork will hardly ever be effaced. Nature will be ashamed to own his work, at least till it had been matured by a long course of years. The best mode of planting is to plant profusely, and thus to afford scope for the felling-axe, which is the instrument that gives the finishing touch of picturesque effect." II. 165. Mr. G. forgets that man can plant only twigs. If he could plant the oak of
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