Canto Nineteen

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“Unlike those pictures that impart,
The windows of Palladian art,
From whence no other object’s seen
But gravel-walk, or shaven green;
Plann’d by the artist on his desk;
Pictures that are not picturesqueBut I should not perform my duty
Did I relinquish all this beauty;
Nor snatch, from this expansive view,
Some pretty little scene or two.

“There are, indeed, who would insert
Those pigs, which wallow in the dirt;
And though I hold a pig is good
Upon a dish, prepar’d for food,
I do not fear to say the brute
Does not my taste in painting suit;
For I most solemnly aver,
That he from genuine taste from err,
Who flouts at grace or character;

And there’s as much in my old wig,
As can be found about a pig.
For, to say the truth, I don’t inherit
This self-same picturesquish spirit,
That looks to nought by what is rough,
And ne’er thinks nature coarse enough
Their system does my genius shock,
Who see such graces in a dock;
Whose eye the picturesque admires
In straggling brambles, and in briers;
Nay, can a real beauty see
In a decay’d and rotten tree.
I hate with them the trim of Art:
But from this rule I’ll ne’er depart;–
In grandame Nature’s vast collection,
To make a fair and fit selection,
Which, when in happy contrast join’d,
Delights th’informed, well-judging mind.”

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