Mirror of Literature,  9 (1827), 415–17.

Rural Pleasures



Extract, Miscellaneous, Drollery

Publications extracted:

New Monthly Magazine


Agriculture, Commerce, Experiment, Horticulture, Pollution, Natural History, Nomenclature, Taxonomy, Botany, Sex, Race, Lecturing, Matter Theory, Exploration

    The narrator disputes the supposed pleasures of country living, and is scathing about 'Gentleman-farming' as being either sordid if practiced for gain, or a waste of the land if not. 'The notion of gentlemen's agriculture being beneficial to the community in the way of experiment, is altogether a sham plea. The real farmer, who lives by his labour, alone makes useful experiments, because he alone undertakes them at a heavy personal risk'. The narrator is less scathing of gardening, but observes that 'the florist may have [...] a hundred times more pleasure in London, than can be obtained in the country' since the plants of 'every clime are there laid at his feet, collected within the small space of a nursery ground'. (416) Observes that, since it is more difficult to grow plants in the 'smoke of London', the associated excitement is greater. As 'generally pursued', natural history is 'a most pompous inanity; a substitution of sounds of ideas, of nomenclature for knowledge'. 'With the exception of a very few men of real science, almost uniformly inhabiting great cities, your observers of the loves of the cockchafers, the Paul Prys into the mysteries of the cryptogameic hymen, are for the most part the heaviest mortals that breathe'. Observes of the parochialism of country gentlemen that a stranger in their company 'is as completely thrown out of all conversation or understanding, as a New Zealander at a lecture on the atomic theory'. (417)

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