‘So extremely short-sighted’
Johnson was so extremely short-sighted, that he had no conception of rural beauties; and, therefore, it is not to be wondered, that he should prefer the conversation of the metropolis to the silent groves and views of Greenwich; which, however delightful, he could not see. In his Tour through the Highlands of Scotland, he has somewhere observed that one mountain was like another, so utterly unconscious was he of the wonderful variety of sublime and beautiful scenes those mountains exhibited. The writer of this remark was once present when the case of a gentleman was mentioned, who, having with great taste and skill formed the lawns and plantations about his house into most beautiful landscapes, to complete one part of the scenery, was obliged to apply for leave to a neighbour with whom he was not upon cordial terms; when Johnson made the following remark, which at once shows what ideas he had of landscape improvement, and how happily he applied the most common incidents to moral instruction. ‘See how inordinate desires enslave man! No desire can be more innocent than to have a pretty garden, yet, indulged to excess, it has made this poor man submit to beg a favour of his enemy.’ …
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