The first book of his English Garden made its appearance in 1772; the three subsequent parts came out in 1777, 1779. and 1782. The first book contains a few lines beautifully descriptive of woodland scenery.
Many a glade is found,
The haunt of wood-gods only: where, if Art
E'er dared to tread, 'twas with unsandall'd foot,
Printless, as if the place were holy ground.
Mason's private character is said to have been distinguished by the most fervid affection for his friends, and by the most universal philanthropy, though there was something in his manners which appeared more than the mere dignity of conscious talent. Warton, whose character was marked by an unaffected simplicity and easy carelessness, used to say, "Mason is not in my way, he is a buckram man;" and this has been repeated by those who were not partial to him for political or other reasons. He had the misfortune to survive most of his early friends, and he does not appear to have been desirous of forming new connexions; this did not proceed from misanthropic cynicism, but from natural reserve; yet it caused the superficial observer to deem him proud and unscocial. That he possessed the Christian virtues in an eminent degree, and fulfilled the duties of his sacred character in an exemplary manner cannot be doubted, and it appears to be no fiction that he
Sought from the dross of earth the soul to raise,
And sunk the poet's in the Christian's praise.