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MARGARET AND MARGOT

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PROLOGUE

I
SHOULD not perhaps venture now for the first time to set

adrift upon the flowing tide of garden Literature, old and new, a volume such as this; but when the first edition of "The Praise of Gardens' made its appearance fourteen years ago, it might almost have claimed to be a pioneer in the revival of old garden books. Imperfect as it was in execution, it sought to bring together a series of prose passages giving an historical survey of their delightful subject; to show lovers of gardens and literature alike that the title of the volume was meant in the good old wideembracing sense of Elizabethan days, when to praise a subject was also to appraise and appreciate it. If that aim more nearly hits the mark in the present edition, by means of the many passages omitted and added, which fourteen years' further familiarity with the sources have suggested, the collection may better deserve the eulogy, “a scholarly little book,' passed upon its infancy in all too indulgent and encouraging conversation by my friend and master, Walter Pater. At least I trust that the unity of its subject, garden-art or design, will in some degree fuse and harmonise the variety of voices joining in the choir of praise.

It is vain to expect that everyone will be satisfied with the choice, and that all will find their favourite authors quoted or their favourite gardens mentioned. Many will wonder why poetry is so poorly represented, one reason perhaps being that poetry is richer in flowers than in gardens, and it is with gardens as a whole, rather than their contents, that this book is busy. Besides, in a garden everyone is his or her own poet. Moreover, are

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