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Nor will I praise a cloud however bright,
Disparaging Man's gifts and proper food -
Grove, isle, with every shape of sky-built dome,
Though clad in colors beautiful and pure,

Find in the heart of man no natural home. The Wordsworth who speaks here is scarcely the Wordsworth of Tintern Abbey or the Wordsworth whose "daily teachers had been woods and rills." He reminds us rather of Socrates who gave as his reason for going so rarely into the country, delightful as he found it when once there, that he did not learn from woods and rills but from the "men in the cities.” This sense of the separate ness of the human and the natural realm may be carried much further — to a point where an ascetic distrust of nature begins to appear. Something of this ascetic distrust is seen for example in the following lines from Cardinal Newman:

There strayed awhile amid the woods of Dart
One who could love them, but who durst not love;
A vow had bound him ne'er to give his heart

To streamlet bright or soft secluded grove." The origins of this latter attitude towards nature are to be sought in mediæval Christianity rather than in classical antiquity. No man who knows the facts would assert for & moment that the man of the Middle Ages was incapable of looking on nature with other feelings than those of ascetic distrust. It is none the less true that the man of the Middle Ages often saw in nature not merely something alien but a positive temptation and peril of the spirit. In his attitude towards nature as in other respects Petrarch is usually accounted the first modern. He did what no man of the mediæval period is supposed to have done before him, or indeed what scarcely any man of classical antiquity did: he ascended a mountain out of sheer curiosity and simply to enjoy the prospect. But those who tell of his ascent of Mt. Ventoux sometimes forget to add that the passage of Saint Augustine i that occurred to him at the top reflects the distrust of the more austere Christian towards the whole natural order. Petrarch is at once more ascetic and more romantic in his attitude towards nature than the Greek or Roman.

1 Wordsworth: Miscellaneous Sonnets, XII.

* In much the same spirit the Japanese hermit, Kamo Chômei (thirteenth century), expresses the fear that he may forget Buddha because of his fondness for the mountains and the moon. – See article on nature in Japan by M. Revon in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.

Traces of Petrarch's taste for solitary and even for wild nature are to be found throughout the Renaissance and the seventeenth century. But the recoil from supernaturalism that took place at this time led rather, as I have remarked, to a revival of the Græco-Roman humanism with something more of artifice and convention, and to an even more marked preference of the town to the country. An age that aims first of all at urbanity must necessarily be more urban than rural in its predilections. It was a sort of condescension for the neo-classical humanist to turn from the central model he was imitating to mere unadorned nature, and even then he felt that he must be careful not to condescend too far. Even when writing pastorals he was warned by Scaliger to avoid details that are too redolent of the real country; he should indulge at most in an “urbane rusticity.” Wild nature the neo-classicist finds simply repellent. Mountains he looks upon as "earth's dishonor and encumbering load.” The Alps were regarded as the place where Nature swept up the rubbish of the earth to clear the plains of Lombardy. “At last,” says a German traveller of the seventeenth century, “we left the horrible and wearisome mountains and the beautiful flat landscape was joyfully welcomed.” The taste for mountain scenery is associated no doubt to some extent, as has been suggested, with the increasing ease and comfort of travel that has come with the progress of the utilitarian movement. It is scarcely necessary to point the contrast between the Switzerland of which Evelyn tells in his diary 1 and the Switzerland in which one may go by funicular to the top of the Jungfrau.

1 Confessions, Bk. x, ch. IX.

: Cf. Cicero: “Urbem, urbem, mi Rufe, cole et in ista luce vive.” (Ad Fam., 11, 22.)

Those who in the eighteenth century began to feel the need of less trimness in both nature and human nature were not it is true entirely without neo-classic predecessors. They turned at times to painting

as the very word picturesque testifies — for the encouragement they failed to find in literature. A landscape was picturesque when it seemed like a picture 2 and it might be not merely irregular but savage if it were to seem like some of the pictures of Salvator Rosa. This association of even wild

1 March 23, 1646.

? It was especially easy for the poets to go for their landscapes to the painters because according to the current theory poetry was itself a form of painting (ut pictura poesis). Thus Thomson writes in The Castle of Indolence :

Sometimes the pencil, in cool airy halls,
Bade the gay bloom of vernal landskips rise,
Or autumn's varied shades embrown the walls:
Now the black tempest strikes the astonish'd eyes;
Now down the steep the flashing torrent flies;
The trembling sun now plays o'er ocean blue,
And now rude mountains frown amid the skies;

Whate'er Lorrain light touch'd with softening hue,
Or savage Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew.

(C. I, st. 38.)

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ness with art is very characteristic of eighteenth-century sentimentalism. It is a particular case of that curious blending in this period of the old principle of the imitation of models with the new principle of spontaneity. There was a moment when a man needed to show a certain taste for wildness if he was to be conventionally correct. “The fops,” says Taine, describing Rousseau's influence on the drawing-rooms, “dreamt between two madrigals of the happiness of sleeping naked in the virgin forest.” The prince in Goethe's “Triumph of Sensibility” has carried with him on his travels canvas screens so painted that when placed in position they give him the illusion of being in the midst of a wild landscape. This taste for artificial wildness can however best be studied in connection with the increasing vogue in the eighteenth century of the English garden as compared either with the Italian garden or the French garden in the style of Le Nôtre. As a relief from the neo-classical symmetry, nature was broken up, often at great expense, into irregular and unexpected aspects. Some of the English gardens in France and Germany were imitated directly from Rousseau's famous description of this method of dealing with the landscape in the “Nouvelle Héloïse.” 2 Artificial ruins were often placed in the English garden as a further aid to those who wished to wander imaginatively from the beaten path,

Disparaissez, monuments du génie,
Parcs, jardins immortels, que Le Nôtre a plantés;
De vos dehors pompeux l'exacte symmétrie,
Etonne vainement mes regards attristés.

J'aime bien mieux ce désordre bizarre,
Et la variété de ces riches tableaux
Que disperse l'Anglais d'une main moins avare.

Bertin, 19e Elégie of Les Amours. · Pt. iv, Lettre XI.


and also as a provocative of the melancholy that was already held to be distinguished. Towards the end of the century this cult of ruins was widespread. The veritable obsession with ruins that one finds in Chateaubriand is not unrelated to this sentimental fashion, though it arises even more perhaps from the real ruins that had been so plentifully supplied by the Revolution.

Rousseau himself, it should hardly be necessary to say, stands for far more than an artificial wildness. Instead of imposing decorum on nature like the neo-classicist, he preached constantly the elimination of decorum from man. Man should flee from that "false taste for grandeur which is not made for him” and which "poisons his pleasures,

"i to nature. Now “it is on the summits of mountains, in the depths of forests, on deserted islands that nature reveals her most potent charms." ? The man of feeling finds the savage and deserted nook filled with beauties that seem horrible to the mere worldling.' Rousseau indeed did not crave the ultimate degree of wildness even in the Alps. He did not get beyond what one may term the middle zone of Alpine scenery — scenery that may be found around the shores of Lake Leman. He was inclined to find the most appropriate setting for the earthly paradise in the neighborhood of Vevey. Moreover, others about the same time and more or less independently of his influence were opposing an even more primitive nature to the artificialities of civilization. The mountains of “Ossian" are, as has been said, mere blurs, yet the new delight in mountains is due in no small measure throughout Europe to the Ossianic influence.

? Ibid.

1 Nouvelle Héloïse, Pt. iv, Lettre XI. Ibid., Pt. iv, Lettre XVII.

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