Acetaria a discourse of sallets: Preface

THE PREFACE


The Favourable Entertainment which the Kalendar has found, encouraging the Bookſeller to adventure upon a Ninth Impreſſion, I could not refuſe his Requeſt of my Reviſing, and Giving it the beſt Improvement I was capable, to an Inexhauſtible Subject, as it regards a Part of Horticulture; and offer ſome little Aid to ſuch as love a Diverſion ſo Innocent and Laudable. There are thoſe of late, who have arrogated, and given the Glorious Title of Compleat and Accompliſh’d Gardiners, to what they have Publiſh’d; as if there were nothing wanting, nothing more remaining, or farther to be expected from the Field; and that Nature had been quite emptied of all her fertile Store: Whilſt thoſe who thus magnifie their Diſcoveries, have after all, penetrated but a very little Way into this Vaſt, Ample, and as yet, Unknown Territory; Who ſee not, that it would ſtill require the Revolution of many Ages; deep, and long Experience, for any Man to Emerge that Perfect, and Accompliſh’d Artiſt Gardiner they boaſt themſelves to be: Nor do I think, Men will ever reach the End, and far extended Limits of the Vegetable Kingdom, ſo incomprehenſible is the Variety it every Day produces, of the moſt Uſeful, and Admirable of all the Aſpectable Works of God; ſince almoſt all we ſee, and touch, and taſte, and ſmell, eat and drink, are clad with, and defended (from the Greateſt Prince to the Meaneſt Peaſant) is furniſhed from that Great and Univerſal Plantation, Epitomiz’d in our Gardens, highly worth the Contemplation of the moſt Profound Divine, and Deepeſt Philosopher.

I ſhould be aſham’d to acknowledge how little I have advanced, could I find that ever any Mortal Man from Adam, Noah, Solomon, Ariſtotle, Theophraſtus, Dioſcorides, and the reſt of Nature’s Interpreters, had ever arriv’d to the perfect Knowledge of any one Plant, or Vulgar Weed whatſoever: But this perhaps may yet poſſibly be reſerv’d for another State of Things, and a 3longer Day; that is, When Time ſhall be no more, but Knowledge ſhall be encreas’d.

We have heard of one who ſtudied and contemplated the Nature of Bees only, for Sixty Years: After which, you will not wonder, that a Perſon of my Acquaintance, ſhould have ſpent almoſt Forty, in Gathering and Amaſſing Materials for an Hortulan Deſign, to ſo enormous an Heap, as to fill ſome Thouſand Pages; and yet be comprehended within two, or three Acres of Ground; nay, within the Square of leſs than One (ſkilfully Planted and Cultivated) ſufficient to furniſh, and entertain his Time and Thoughts all his Life long, with a moſt Innocent, Agreeable, and Uſeful Employment. But you may juſtly wonder, and Condemn the Vanity of it too, with that Reproach, This Man began to build, but was not able to finiſh! This has been the Fate of that Undertaking; and I dare promiſe, will be of whoſoever imagines (without the Circumſtances of extraordinary Aſſistance, and no ordinary Expence) to purſue the Plan, erect, and finiſh the Fabrick as it ought to be.

But this is that which Abortives the Perfection of the moſt Glorious and Uſeful Undertakings; the Unſatiable Coveting to Exhauſt all that ſhould, or can be ſaid upon every Head: If ſuch a one have any thing elſe to mind, or do in the World, let me tell him, he thinks of Building too late; and rarely find we any, who care to ſuperſtruct upon the Foundation of another, and whoſe Ideas are alike. There ought therefore to be as many Hands, and Subſidiaries to ſuch a Deſign (and thoſe Matters too) as there are diſtinct Parts of the Whole (according to the ſubſequent Table) that thoſe who have the Means and Courage, may(tho’ they do not undertake the Whole) finiſh a Part at leaſt, and in time Unite their Labours into one Intire, Compleat, and Conſummate Work indeed.

Of One or Two of these, I attempted only a Specimen in my SILVA and the KALENDAR; Imperfect, I ſay, because they are both capable of Great Improvements: It is not therefore to be expected (Let me uſe the Words of an Old, and Experienced Gardiner) Cuncta me dicturum, quae vaſtitas ejus ſcientiæ contineret, ſed plurima; nam illud in unius hominis prudentiam cadere non poterit, neque eſt ulla Diſciplina aut Ars, quæ ſingulari conſummata ſit ingenio.

May it then ſuffice aliquam partem tradidiſſe, and that I have done my Endeavour.

… Jurtilis olim

Ne Videar vixiſſe.

Much more might I add upon this Charming, and Fruitful Subject (I mean, concerning Gardening:) But this is not a Place to Expatiate, deterr’d, as I have long ſince been, from ſo bold an Enterprize, as the Fabrick I mentioned. I content my ſelf then with an Humble Cottage, and a Simple Potagere, Appendant to the Calendar; which, Treating only (and that briefly) of the Culture of Moderate Gardens; Nothing ſeems to me, ſhou’d be more Welcome and Agreeable, than whilſt the Product of them is come into more Requeſt and Uſe amongſt us, than heretofore (beſide what we call, and diſtinguiſh by the Name of Fruit)I did annex ſome particular Directions concerning S A L L E T S.

 

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