Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Spacious aviaries of foreign birds were here collected, and basins ornamented with fountains supplied water for the plants, which was raised to its height by means of pneumatic pumps'. After having served to embellish the garden on the terrace, the water flowed into reservoirs to be used in case of fire.

THE HORTUS AND VIRIDARIUM. A Garden, in its primitive sense, once constituted the whole domain of a citizen. The ancient kings of Rome, according to history, even took pleasure in cultivating their gardens themselves; but in the time of the Emperors the term Hortus implied a large extent of ground; and the gardens, after the great access of riches to the city, especially in the reign of Augustus, no longer consisted of enclosures ornamented only with a few useful trees and producing merely vegetables for the kitchen. The more opulent Roman citizens then required pleasure-grounds rivalling the celebrated gardens of the Hesperides, of Alcinous, or of Adonis;

1 Vitruvius, lib. x. cap. 12; and Pliny, Nat. Hist. lib. vii.

cap. 37.

Which one day bloom'd, and fruitful were the next. At the garden gates were always placed statues of the tutelar deities,-a sure means, according to popular belief, of preserving the pleasuregrounds from depredation. The gates opened upon a parterre, the walks of which were bordered with box and picea, a species of yew": further on were lawns of verdant turf bounded by hedges of evergreens, clipped with all the ingenuity of the Topiarii, into forms of animals, and sometimes into letters which displayed the gardener's name, or that of the owner of

Pliny's Natural History, lib. xix. cap. 4. 2 Pliny's Natural History, lib. xvi. cap. 10. Marcus Terentius Varro, the friend of Cicero, wrote a treatise De Re Rustica, of which Virgil is known to have made use in his Georgics. It contains not only a notice of the state of agriculture, but describes the method of laying-out gardens, and providing luxuries for the table. A translation of this work was published by the Rev. T. Owen, of Queen's College, Oxford, in 1800. 8vo.

the grounds'. Here was a large basin to receive certain streams, which being brought from the hills by a serpentine channel meandered through the green turf. Every kind of flower was planted round the borders of this basin, but more especially those flowers and shrubs were cultivated of which wreaths and chaplets were composed, agreeably to ancient practice.

Greece, in four games thy martial youth were train’d;
For Heroes two, and two for Gods ordain'd:
Jove bade the olive round his victor wave;
Phoebus to his, an apple garland gave;
The pine Palæmon; nor with less renown
Archemorus conferr'd the parsley crown3.

1 See Pliny's description of his Villa Tusculana, supposed to have been on the banks of the Tiber, according to a map of Tuscany by Ortelius of Antwerp; but time has destroyed all remains. The letter to Apollinaris is extremely minute in detail of the beauties of this estate : lib. v. epist. 6. This fashion of forming various figures in hedges was once prevalent in England ; and the motto of the Garter and other devices cut in box were once to be seen in the gardens of New College, Oxford.

2 Pliny's Natural History, lib. xxi. cap. 1. 3 Addison's translation of Ausonius, in Dialog on Medals,

Grass plots enamelled with violets shed around their fragrance, and a variety of plants, including the rose and the lily, were arranged in beds enclosed by narrow walks, by means of which they were approached and watered when necessary. Beyond the basin of water was a pavilion called “The Delight',” which was approached by an avenue of trees cut very short so as not entirely to conceal the view of the pleasure-ground.

A most important part of a Roman garden when laid out on a grand scale was the Hippodrome, or Deambulatory,—a covered road surrounded by plane-trees, bound with creeping ivy and wild vines ranging from branch to branch, which clinging to their trunks con

p. 130. Horace prefers the parsley, which always preserves its verdure, to the short-lived lily :

Let fading lilies and the rose
Their beauty and their smell disclose :
Let long-lived parsley grace the feast,
And gently cool the heated guest.

Lib. i. Ode 36. Creech's Translation. | See Pliny's Letters, lib. i. epist. 17.

nected the trees together in the same manner that garlands were formed, or wreaths of laurel disposed for a festival. Juvenal, alluding to the splendid Hippodrome of Domitian, exclaims,

In vain the long and stately colonnade Tires his sleek mules within its ample shade'. Pignorius, an antiquary of Padua, discovered the following inscription, which informed the deambulator when he had walked a mile in the garden:

IN . HOC . POMARIO. GESTATIONIS.

PER . CIRCVITVM . ITVM :
ET , REDITVM . QVINQVIENS . EFFICIT.

PASSVS. MILLE. That part of the garden devoted to exercise was also called Gestatio, and Ambulatio'. Another

2

1 Badham's Translation.

• The Anglo-Saxon mila, our English mile, is derived from mille passus, the thousand Roman paces; and there is little doubt that they are one and the same measure.

3 The Romans were fond of exercise as conducive to health, and had at their country seats a covered place in which they could either ride on horseback or be carried in

« FöregåendeFortsätt »