To verifie this, how much might I say of Gardens and Rural Employments, preferrable to the Pomp and Grandeur of other Secular Business, and that in the Estimate of as Great Men as any Age has produc’d! And it is of such Great Souls we have it recorded; That after they had perform’d the Noblest Exploits for the Publick, they sometimes chang’d their Scepters for the Spade, and their Purple for the Gardiner’s Apron. And of these, some, My Lord, were Emperors, Kings, Consuls, Dictators, and Wise Statesmen; who amidst the most important Affairs, both in Peace and War, have quitted all their Pomp and Dignity in Exchange of this Learned Pleasure: Nor that of the most refin’d Part of Agriculture (the Philosophy of the Garden and Parterre only) but of Herbs, and wholesom Sallets, and other plain and useful Parts of Geoponicks, and Wrote Books of Tillage and Husbandry; and took the Plough-Tackle for their Banner, and their Names from the Grain and Pulse they sow’d, as the Marks and Characters of the highest Honor.
But I proceed no farther on a Topic so well known to Your Lordship: Nor urge I Examples of such Illustrious Persons laying aside their Grandeur, and even of deserting their Stations; (which would infinitely prejudice the Publick, when worthy Men are in Place, and at the Helm) But to shew how consisent the Diversions of the Garden and Villa were, with the highest and busiest Employment of the Commonwealth, and never thought a Reproch, or the least Diminution to the Gravity and Veneration due to their Persons, and the Noble Rank they held.
Will Your Lordship give me Leave to repeat what is said of the Younger Pliny, (Nephew to the Naturalist) and whom I think we may parallel with the Greatest of his time (and perhaps of any since) under the Worthiest Emperor the Roman world ever had? A Person of vast Abilities, Rich, and High in his Master’s Favour; that so Husbanded his time, as in the Midst of the weightiest Affairs, to have Answer’d, and by his _Example_, made good what I have said on this Occasion. The Ancient and best Magistrates of Rome allow’d but the Ninth Day for the City and Publick Business; the rest for the Country and the Sallet Garden: There were then fewer Causes indeed at the Bar; but never greater Justice, nor better Judges and Advocates. And ’tis hence observed, that we hardly find a Great and Wise Man among the Ancients, qui nullos habuit hortos, excepting only Pomponius Atticus; wilst his Dear Cicero professes, that he never laid out his Money more readily, than in the purchasing of Gardens, and those sweet Retirements, for which he so often left the Rostra (and Court of the Greatest and most flourishing State of the World) to visit, prune, and water them with his own Hands.