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MY SECRET GARDEN
BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
The groves of Eden, vanish’d now so long, Live in description, and look green in song: These, were my breast inspir’d with equal flame, Like them in beauty, should be like in fame. Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain, Here earth and water, seem to strive again; Not Chaos like together crush'd and bruis'd, But as the world, harmoniously confus'd: Where order in variety we see, And where, tho' all things differ, all agree. (Alexander Pope)
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For Cathy Dellinger In The Chinese Origin of a Romanticism, Arthur O. Lovejoy, the American philosopher who invented ‘the history of ideas” approach to understanding intellectual evolution, described the China Cult that became fashionable amongst literate Europeans from the late sixteenth until the late eighteenth century, and it relationship to English gardens designed with a “Sharawadgi” effect. The European mind was illuminated by exotic lights as its agents explored the globe, he explained. Jesuit missionaries and other travelers to China reported back to Europe; everything Chinese was soon in vogue. Intellectuals who examined the Jesuit journals, travelogues and classics of China were convinced that the Chinese system of government was far superior to their own: China is governed by wise philosophers; offices are open to all men of merit; not only are officials punished for misconduct, good conduct is amply rewarded; China is not interested in conquering or exploiting other nations; the object of government is public tranquility. Furthermore, the Chinese ethic is superior to that of Europe: its sole object is the perfection of moral conduct. Gottlieb Leibniz had said, during his discussion of the discovery of binary arithmetic by the primeval emperor Fu-His, "It is indeed apparent that if we Europeans were well enough informed of Chinese literature, then, with the aid of logic, critical thinking, mathematics and our manner of expressing thought—more exacting than theirs—we could uncover in the Chinese writings of the remotest antiquity many things unknown to modern Chinese and even to other commentators thought to be classical." Europeans, thought Leibniz, were superior to the Chinese in the abstract sciences, while, on the other hand, the Chinese excelled in the practical philosophy of civil life: "Be it said with almost shame—we are beaten by them... in the principles of Ethics and Politics. For it is impossible to describe how beautifully everything in the laws of the Chinese, more than in those of other peoples, is directed to the achievement of public tranquility...." The allegations of Chinese superiority in anything at all absent Jesus did not sit well with those who believed that Jesus was the one and only Way. The fact that Jesuits were traipsing around China in local robes and allowing the placement of tablets dedicated to Shang Ti (highest god) in Catholic churches did not help matters any. The Jesuits were employing their usual strategy to win over pagans. The enticed the Chinese with Western science: once the Asians were hooked on it, out came the Holy Bible; many influential Chinese Confucians became Catholics. To maintain the dignity of the converts, an argument was made that the Chinese highest god was identical with the Judeo-Christian one-god, perhaps even invented for the Chinese by the Hebrews of old. The Confucian rites were the fly in the ointment, so the Jesuits argued that the rituals were really not religious rites but were simply civil ceremonies showing due respec to the dead; the Pope begged to differ; the Emperor of China was angered and issued a decree; the Jesuits were suppressed in Europe; or so the tale goes. Violent Western disorders moved Europeans to wax enthusiastic about the Chinese political order. The public symbol of imperial Chinese order, that of square Earth in harmony with round Heaven, or squaring the circle, was certainly comforting, but not entirely so; for Europeans, notwithstanding their disorders, had their own insufferable square-thinking and archaic molds,
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hence they turned to the popular conception of the Chinese secret or private garden as an asymmetric, romantic work of art, resembling wild nature, to relieve their distress.
Symmetrical Temple of Heaven
Lovejoy noticed that "A turning-point in the history of modern taste was reached when the ideals of regularity, simplicity, uniformity, and easy logical intelligibility, were first openly impugned, when the assumption that true beauty is 'geometrical' ceased to be one to which 'all consented, as to a Law of Nature.' And in England, at all events, the rejection of this assumption seems, throughout most of the eighteenth century, to have been commonly recognized as initially due to the influence and the example of Chinese art." Furthermore, in eighteenth century art, “regularity, uniformity, clearly recognizable balance and parallelism came to be regarded as capital defects in a work of art, and irregularity, asymmetry, variety, surprise, an avoidance of the simplicity and unity which render a whole design comprehensible at a glance, took rank as aesthetic virtues of a high order.” These “natural” virtues, most evident in natural landscape paintings and the “natural” style of English gardens associated with the admiration for the ornamented Chinese garden, and Chinese architecture, were applied to other art forms including literature. That is, Sinomania or the China craze strongly influenced the Romantic-Gothic trend. The key word, although it may not be of oriental origin, is Sharawadgi, meaning a Chinese form of asymmetrical art. So-called Sharawadgi is employed today in postmodern "acousmatic” music and "acoustic ecology," where the metaphorical garden is a soundscape. The soundscape may not be of a natural order, as it is, for example, in movies like Snow White and The Huntsman, where the harmonious soundtrack correlates with wild, natural scenes. The city itself, the gard, emphasizes the artificial aspect of an enclosed garden; paradises are sometimes portrayed as utopian cities if not concrete jungles; cities of god, the best places short of heaven, where the native wildness of humankind and its artifacts are not entirely restrained, where everyone can be happy and live in bliss despite occasional discordance. Composer Claude Schryer strives for the Sharawadgi
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Effect in everyday sounds, which he presents in a deliberately contrived, confounding manner. The superficial chaos, for instance, of the voice of a city, eventually resolves, by virtue of a discordant estrangement from an auditory context when heard, from a random, dynamic conjunction of mechanical and natural sounds into a sublime beauty that is no doubt beyond representation or normal sensory experience. His CD, Autour, for example, includes a composition played by six boats frozen in Montreal Harbor, two trains in motion, cathedral bells, three wind instruments, blowing wind and crickets.
Enchanted Forest Model - Snow White and The Huntsman
Alexander Pope, in a garden essay appearing in The Guardian on 29 September 1713, spoke of the natural irregularity of ancient gardens, quoting one of Marcus Valerian Martialis’ epigrams, which begins with: “Our friend Faustinus' country-seat I've seen: No myrtles, plac'd in rows, and idly green, No widow'd platane, nor clipp'd box-tree there, The useless soil unprofitably share; But simple nature's hand, with nobler grace, Diffuses artless beauties o'er the place." “There is certainly something in the amiable simplicity of unadorned nature that spreads over the mind a more noble sort of tranquility,” Pope averred, “and a loftier sensation of pleasure, than can be raised from the nicer scenes of art. This was the taste of the ancients in their gardens, as we may discover from the descriptions extant of them.” Pope criticized the modern diversion from natural garden design, running into grotesque forms that go beyond art, such as sculpting trees into figures of men, animals, and other things.
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Pope refe erred to the fenced-in ga arden describ in Home Odyssey ‘The Gard of Alcin bed er’s y, den nous,’ a descrip ption deemed by Pope’s contempora Sir Will d ary, liam Temple as setting forth all the just e, e rules for the best gard den. o arden lies, “Close to the gates a spacious ga From sto orms defende and inclem skies: ed ment Four acre was the al es llotted space of ground, e Fenc'd w a green enclosure all around. with e l Tall thriv ving trees co onfess the fru uitful mould; The red'n ning apple ripens here to gold; o Here the blue fig with luscious ju o'erflow h uice ws, eper red the full pomegra f anate glows; With dee The bran here bend beneath th weighty p nch ds he pear, And verd olives flourish round the year. dant fl The balm spirit of th western g my he gale Eternal b breathes on fruits untaught to fail : f Each dro opping pear a following p supplies, pear On apple apples, fig on figs ari es gs ise; The same mild seaso gives the b e on blooms to bl low, The buds to harden, and the fruit to grow. s a ts anks appear, “If Here order'd vines in equal ra the abors ofthe y year. With all t united la Some to unload the fertile branch run, f hes Some dry the black'n y ning clusters in the sun. Others to tread the liq o quid harvest join, t The groa aning presses foam'd with floods of w s h wine. Here are the vines in early flow'r descried, r Here grap discolor'd on the sun side, pes nny And ther in autumn''s richest pur dy'd. re rple "Beds of all various herbs, foreve green, f h er eous order te erminate the scene. In beaute enteous foun ntains the wh prospect crown'd, hole "Two ple This thro ough the gard leads its streams aro den ound, Visits eac plant, and waters all t ground. ch d the While tha in pipes beneath the p at b palace flows; ;
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And thence its current on the town bestows; To various use their various streams they bring, The people one, and one supplies the king." Paradise is the ultimate garden, designed, if not by accident, by the Creator, not by man, and it is of a wilder order than civilized man would be wont to leave be as it is. Milton attempts a description in his Paradise Lost, incidentally refusing to resort to rhyming, a modern invention that he described as a barbarous jingling of ends destined to detract from the true art of epic poetry:
Paradise by Jan Bruegel
“So on he fares, and to the border comes Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, As with a rural mound, the champaign head Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild, Access denied; and overhead up grew Insuperable height of loftiest shade, Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend, Shade above shade, a woody theatre Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops The verdurous wall of Paradise up sprung; Which to our general sire gave prospect large Into his nether empire neighbouring round. And higher than that wall a circling row Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue, Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed:
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On which the sun more glad impressed his beams Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed That landskip: And of pure now purer air Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires Vernal delight and joy, able to drive All sadness but despair: Now gentle gales, Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils….” Of course gardens are cultivated for food, and the gardener, while applying his science to the reality of nature, might feel better off than the harried city dweller, especially during periods of repose. A garden laid out in neat rows may be more efficient to harvest, but repose may be found in a retreat from regular order when the mind grows weary of regularity. Indeed, the repose found in gardens was a solace to certain philosophers both ancient and modern who retired to their country estates, returning in part to nature. The number is so great we do not have sufficient space to give every one of them honorable mention. Jean Jacques Rousseau comes to the liberal mind, although, as unruly as he was, he stands accused of a totalitarian proclivity. We recall that Isis, Our Lady of Words, was also credited with inventing the magic of agriculture. Epicurus, the naturalist philosopher, is one of many prominent historical figures associated with gardens by the English, and is said to be the first to build a garden or park within the city of Athens. Epicurus was despised by Christian bigots for his naturalism. He was defamed, called an atheist, hedonist and voluptuary. Yet just persons acquainted with his works said that he espoused a simple and virtuous life, his motto being, “Virtus mihi Sola Voluptas” i.e. “Virtue is my only pleasure.” “It is true,’ wrote Monsieur de St. Evremont in ‘An Essay on Epicurus’s Morals (1712), “he is objected against by some, for placing the sovereign good of life in pleasure, which being maliciously interpreted, afforded an opportunity to his enemies to calumniate him, and out of envy and pique, suggest to the world that he patronized voluptuousness, and all kinds of excess. But he vindicates himself sufficiently from that imputation and scandal, by interpreting what he means by pleasure, and gives us plainly to understand that by the word pleasure, that he means nothing else than the satisfaction that arises from a peaceable and quiet conscience, that has no remorse nor uneasiness from ill actions; to which happy state, if health of body was joined, he thought nothing was wanting to a consummate felicity and to convince the world of the excellence of his notions, he reduced them into practice, and lived after so exemplary a manner, that there was not the least room left to censure him on that score; some of his worst enemies, having thought it necessary for their own honor’s sake, to do him justice in their writings.” As naturalism became popular in England, tolerant Christians praised Epicurus’ moral virtues, excusing his religious shortcomings as pagan ignorance. After all, only people ignorant of the true faith would not know that God is not a syllogism, but is rather a mystery allowing us to have blind faith in absurdities. Only an ignorant person would doubt that marvelous nature is divinely designed; or believe that the soul is mortal, that that it is dissoluble because matter and space are
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the sole principles; or that the world was created from nothing; and other profound articles of the one and only true religion. Epicurus would not be disturbed by the calumnious bigotry, if he were true to his maxim that, “The wise man may be injured sometimes through hatred, envy, or contempt, without disturbing the calm and tranquility of his mind, because in those trials he is supported by the strength of reason.” Furthermore, he was not a man of faith but of science, and to that profession he remained true: “The wise man profanes the excellence of his profession when he abandons truth, and entertains anything that borders upon the fable; for as philosophy is nothing else than a due enquiry after truth, fiction proves an obstacle to the success we ought to be blest with from the knowledge of it.” He did believe in the existence of immortal gods, but not as worshiped by the crowd; the epicurean gods were unconcerned with the human crowd. As for voluptuous pleasure, Epicurus’ philosophy renounces the pursuit of pleasure in things and is rather Stoical, something tolerant Christians and especially monks may appreciate while tending to their gardens, providing they are not mendicants; for the wise man “shall not beg for a livelihood, but if necessitous, he may teach philosophy, to subsist by it.” Philosophy or the love of wisdom tends to equanimity, to serenity of mind: “The wise man takes care to prefer the inexplicable blessing of an undisturbed and quite mind, even amidst the groans and complaints that excess of pain extorts from him.” Furthermore, “The wise man alone is qualified for a perfect friendship; for the presence of his friends does not augment it, and their absence does not in the least impair it; he knows how to preserve it, even after their death.” Like the Stoic, the Epicurean would not have his fortune told, because his conduct does not depend on its accidents, although he is prudent: “He shall be prepared against all the attacks of fortune.” He certainly would not live like a dog under a porch, fornicating in public, in the manner of a cynic. Yes, like every good priest, he might have a drink or two, but never in excess: “The wise man ought never to drink to excess; neither must he spend the nights in reveling and feasting.” And he may marry although marriage is not recommended: “The wise man shall not marry nor trouble himself with the thoughts of receiving, as it were a fresh being, in his children; not that there are accidents in life, that may oblige him in this engagement, and make him wish for posterity.”May the gods help him, if only they cared, if he falls in love: “The wise man must never yield to the charms of love; it never came from heaven, its pleasures have nothing valuable in them, and if one is unfortunate enough to be overcome by it, he ought to count it a happiness, if he comes off without mischief.” Again, he must be prudent in respect to his family: “The wise man may have due care of his family, and foresee what may happen, without avarice, or too eager a pursuit of riches.” Above all, he must stay away from beans, which politicians used vote their wills, for a wise man “shall not take upon himself the administration of the commonwealth.” Wherefore the Epicurean would do well to withdraw to his garden, where he can eat well and philosophize to his heart’s content, caring not for the turmoil of the maddening crowd. That is, he would live the simple and serene life of an Epicurean god, in some untroubled corner of the universe. Sir William Temple considered what the nature of man is, and, being true to that nature himself, he disagreed with the scheme of “natural philosophy” contrived by philosophers since ancient times:
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“As to that part of philosophy which is called natural, I know no end it can have, but that of either busying a man's brains to no purpose, or satisfying the vanity so natural to most men of distinguishing themselves, by some way or other, from those that seem their equals in birth and the common advantages of it; and whether this distinction be made by wealth or power, or appearance of knowledge, which gains esteem and applause in the world, is all a case. More than this I know no advantage mankind has gained by the progress of natural philosophy, during so many ages it has had vogue in the world, excepting always, and very justly, what we owe to the mathematics, which is in a manner all that seems valuable among the civilized nations, more than those we call barbarous, whether they are so or no, or more so than ourselves.” Despite the differences over which they quibbled, intellectuals seemed to agree that happiness was the greatest good for mankind short of god; some religious held that happiness is identical to God. The $64,000 question among thinkers of all stripes was in what happiness consisted. “The contention grew warmest between the Stoics and the Epicureans; the other sects, in this point, siding in a manner with one or the other of these in their conceptions or expressions. The Stoics would have it to consist in virtue, and the Epicureans in pleasure; yet the most reasonable of the Stoics made the pleasure of virtue to be the greatest happiness, and the best of the Epicureans made the greatest pleasure to consist in virtue; and the difference between these two seems not easily discovered. All agreed, the greatest temper, if not the total subduing of passion, and exercise of reason, to be the state of the greatest felicity; to live without desires or fears, or those perturbations of mind and thought which passions raise; to place true riches in wanting little, rather than in possessing much; and true pleasure in temperance, rather than in satisfying the senses; to live with indifference to the common enjoyments and accidents of life, and with constancy upon the greatest blows of fate or of chance; not to disturb our minds with sad reflections upon what is past, nor with anxious cares or raving hopes about what is to come; neither to disquiet life with the fears of death, nor death with the desires of life; but in both, and in all things else, to follow nature,-seem to be the precepts most agreed among them.” As we can see from our quotations of Epicurus, Sir William Temple was most impressed by the natural philosopher who lived somewhat contrary to humankind’s natural development into “civilized” man: “But above all, they esteemed public business the most contrary of all others to that tranquility of mind which they esteemed and taught to be the only true felicity of man. For this reason Epicurus passed his life wholly in his garden: there he studied, there he exercised, there he taught his philosophy; and, indeed, no other sort of abode seems to contribute so much to both the tranquility of mind and indolence of body, which he made his chief ends. The sweetness of air, the pleasantness of smell, the verdure of plants, the cleanness and lightness of food, the exercises of working or walking; but above all, the exemption from cares and solicitude, seem equally to favor and improve both contemplation and health, the enjoyment of sense and imagination, and thereby the quiet and ease both of the body and mind.”
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William Temple’s Farnham House “Moor Park”
It was Sir William Temple’s ‘Upon the Gardens of Epicurus; or Of Gardening in the Year 1685’ that popularized the term ‘sharawadgi’ in England. He himself preferred the regular order, believing it best for England: “What I have said of the best form of gardens is meant only of such as are in some sort regular; for there may be other forms wholly irregular, that may, for ought I know, have more beauty than any of the other; but they must owe it to some extraordinary dispositions of nature in the seat, or some great race of fancy or judgment in the contrivance, which may produce many disagreeing parts into some figure, which shall yet upon the whole, be very agreeable. Something of this I have seen in some places, but heard more of it from others, who have lived much amongst the Chinese; a people, whose way of thinking seems to lie wide of ours in Europe, as their country does. Among us, the beauty of building and planting is placed chiefly in some certain proportions, symmetries, or uniformities; our walks and our trees ranged so as to answer one another, and at great distances. The Chinese scorn this way of planting, and say a boy that can tell a hundred, may plant walks of trees in straight lines, and over against one another, and to what length and extent he pleases. But their greatest reach of imagination is employed in contriving figures, where the beauty shall be great, and strike the eye, but without any order or disposition of parts, that shall be commonly or easily observed. And though we may have hardly any notion of this sort of beauty, yet they have a particular word to express it; and when they find it hit their eye at first sight, they say the Sharawadgi is fine or admirable, or any such express of esteem. And whosoever observes the work upon the best Indian gowns, or painting on their best screens or porcelains, will find their beauty is all of this kind, that is, without order. But I should hardly advise any of these attempts in figures of gardens among us; they are adventures of too hard achievement for any common hands; and though there may be more honor if they success well, yet there is more dishonor if they fail, and ‘tis twenty to one they will, whereas in regular features, ‘tis hard to make any great and remarkable faults.” Sir William Temple called his home ‘Moor Park,’ residing there under the family motto, “God has given us these opportunities for tranquility,” and fashioned gardens for himself at Farnham. He named his home in remembrance of a Moor Park, in Hertfordshire: “The perfectest figure of a garden I ever saw, either at home or abroad, was that of Moor Park in Hertfordshire, when I knew it about thirty years ago. It was made by the Countess of Bedford, esteemed among the greatest wits of her time, and celebrated by Doctor Donne….” He describes the features of the
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garden, apparently regularly proportioned, and effuses, “This was Moor Park, when I was acquainted with it, and the sweetest place, I think, that I have seen in my life, either before or since, at home or abroad….” We must not deprive the reader of Temple’s full description, noting beforehand that it has a “little wilderness” in it—notice the serpentine stream in the plan for the park, an unusually wild feature for a park at that time in England:
The Original Plan for Moor Park at Hertfordshire
“It lies on the side of a hill (upon which the house stands) but not very steep. The length of the house, where the best rooms and of most use or pleasure are, lies upon the breadth of the garden; the great parlor opens into the middle of a terrace gravel-walk that lies even with it, and which may be, as I remember, about three hundred paces long, and broad in proportion; the border set with standard laurels, and at large distances, which have the beauty of orange-trees, out of flower and fruit; from this walk are three descents by many stone steps, in the middle and at each end, into a very large parterre. This is divided into quarters by gravel-walks, and adorned with two fountains and eight statues in the several quarters; at the end of the terrace-walk are two summerhouses, and the sides of the parterre are ranged with two large cloisters, open to the garden, upon arches of stone, and ending with two other summer-houses even with the cloisters, which are paved with stone, and designed for walks of shade, there being none other in the whole parterre. Over these two cloisters are two terraces covered with lead, and fenced with balusters, and the passage into these airy walks is out of the two summerhouses, at the end of the first terrace-walk. The cloister facing the south is covered with vines, and would have been proper for an orangehouse, and the other for myrtles, or other more common greens, and had, I doubt not, been cast for that purpose, if this piece of gardening had been then in as much vogue as it is now. “From the middle of the parterre is a descent by many steps flying on each side of a grotto that
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lies between them (covered with lead, and flat) into the lower garden, which is all fruit trees, ranged about the several quarters of a wilderness which is very shady; the walks here are all green, the grotto embellished with figures of shell-rock-work, fountains, and waterworks. If the hill had not ended with the lower garden, and the walls were not bounded by a common way that goes through the park, they might have added a third quarter of all greens; but this want is supplied by a garden on the other side of the house, which is all of that sort, very wild, shady, and adorned with rough rockwork and fountains.” Thinkers who expounded most eloquently on the Chinese Garden had never seen a Chinese garden in China; they were speculating on second-hand reports. Sir William Chambers, for one, had actually visited China in his youth; however, he admitted that his controversial aesthetic principles were based on a fictitious or ideal Chinese Garden. His descriptions are definitely Gothic: sublime combinations of the natural and supernatural in large-scale parks replete with ruins evoking feelings of horror, terror, and melancholy. The Gothic Chinese gardener is a painter and poet who does not imitate nature, for its limited materials and disposition are relatively boring, but s/he assists nature by making certain artistic variations that de-emphasize some features and emphasize or exaggerate others. Therefore Chambers contradicted the popular notion of nature as "wild", and presented the artist as a creator in his own right. Man, then, is the wild one juxtaposed to physical nature; his wildness is contrived. Thus the artist returns, like Rousseau, to an ideal, lost Nature, to an illusion of his own making, where he retreats from the discontents of civilization but is not killed and eaten by a wild animal. Lovejoy relates that le Pere Benoist observed Chinese gardens first hand, and wrote about it in one of his Lettres edifiantes (1767): ‘“The Chinese, in the ornamentation of their gardens, employ art to perfect nature so successfully that an artist is deserving of praise only if his art is not apparent and in proportion as he has the better imitated nature. Here there are not, as in Europe, alleys drawn out till they are lost to sight, or terraces disclosing an infinity of distant objects which by their multitude prevent the imagination from fixing upon any one in particular. In the gardens of China the eye is not fatigued; views are almost always confined with a space proportioned to its reach. You behold a whole of which the beauty strikes and enchants; and a few hundred paces farther on new objects present themselves to you and cause in you new admiration.” The gardens are traversed by numerous canals winding amongst artificial mountains, sometimes falling in cascades, sometimes spreading out into the valleys in lakes. The irregular banks fo the canals and lakes are provided with parapets, but, contrary to the European custom in such cases, the parapets are formed of seemingly natural rocks…. Amongst the rocks are introduced caves which “seem natural and are overgrown with trees and shrubbery.”’ But what was a Chinese garden retreat like in ancient times? To define it would be to trample it, for it was a secret garden, a private domain, a sort of mystery wherein divinity was enjoyed and the sexes enjoined. No doubt it resembled nature including human nature. The secret garden is a marriage of the rational and the irrational. Regular nature has it irregularities which can be uncertainly predicted with theories of probability, at least where big numbers are concerned. Normally we do not "obey the law of averages", notwithstanding the fool who jumped off the
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Brooklyn Bridge on New Year's Eve because the law of averages was one shy of the thirty-nine jumpers per annum over the last twenty years. There is a degree of freedom within every order, including human order, which takes its cues from the rest of nature. Indeed, when we speak of “wild” nature, we should remember that man, who is derived from Ma, is the wildest factor therein. The large-scale public projects of the imperial regime in China inclined to regularity, symmetry, predictability. But its gardens and palaces did not lack variety, thanks to curious visitors from the countryside. Recall here the influence of the wizards and Taoists, who had their origins in the forests and wilds, on the "superstitious" emperors. Once at court, the wise men may have become squares and taken up geometry in order to succeed; but fear not for freedom, for the Tao cannot be contained. Suffice it to say that the individual who was sick and tired of feudal and imperial society still had his retreat into his Secret Garden, a virtual Utopia, "another Heaven and Earth within a small pot." His fool's garden was itself a poem and painting. And within this garden we find vegetation, paintings and poetry throughout; we may find a poem about a lotus flower in mud, a metaphor for the virtuous gardener in dirty society. Enough said, for justice is to each his own. The Son of Heaven would have only one Heaven on Earth, but earthlings want their own heavens, their fair share of universal utopia at the very least. The Chinese are only human. We all have much to learn from one another, and from the Dragon in Heaven. But the Occident should not get too carried away by the Orient, so we conclude with Sir William Temple’s conclusion on gardening, which he offered after he rendered a great deal of practical advice: “The best fruit that is bought has no more of the master’s care, than how to raise the greatest gains; his business is to have as much fruit as he can on a few trees; whereas the way to have it excellent, is to have but little on many trees. So for all things out of garden, either of salads or fruits, a poor man will eat better, that has one of his own, than a rich man that has none. And this is all I think of, necessary and useful to be known upon the subject.” -T-
Sources: Anthology of Chinese Literature, Ed. Cyril Birch, New York: Grove, 1965 Epicurus’s Morals, Transl. John Digsby, to which is added ‘An Essay on Epicurus’s Morals’ by Monsieur St. Evremont, transl. by Mr. Johnson, London: Sam Briscoe, 1712 The Garden, As Considered in Literature by Certain Polite Writers, New York: Putnam & Sons, 1890
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Ching, Julia, and Oxtoby, Willard, Moral Enlightenment - Leibniz and Wolff on China, Institut Monumenta Serica XXVI, Sankt Augustin, Steyler Verlag, Nettetal, 1992 Lovejoy, Arthur O, ‘The Chinese Origin of a Romanticism’, Essays in the History Of Ideas, New York: George Braziller, 1955 Milton, John, Paradise Lost, Aberdeen: John Boyle, 1784 Temple, Sir William, ‘Upon the Gardens of Epicurus; or Of Gardening in the Year 1685’
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