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The perfect idea of the form and condition in which all the properties of the species are fully developed, is called the ideal of the species. The question of the nature of ideal conception of species, and of the mode in which the mind arrives at it, has been the subject of so much discussion, and source of so much embarrassment, chiefly owing to that unfortunate distinction between idealism and realism which leads most people to imagine the ideal opposed to the real, and therefore false, that Ithink it necessary to request the reader's most careful attention to the following positions. Any work of art which represents, not a material object, but the mental conception of a material object, is in the primary sense of the word ideal; that is to say, it represents an idea, and not a thing. Any work of art which represents or realizes a material object, is, in the primary sense of the term, unideal. Ideal works of art, therefore, in this first sense, represent the result of an act of imagination, and are good or bad in proportion to the healthy condition and general power of the imagination, whose acts they represent. Unideal works of art (the studious production of which is termed realism) represent actual existing things, and are good or bad in proportion to the perfection of the representation. Allentirely bad works of art may be divided into those which, professing to be imaginative, bear no stamp of imagination, and are therefore false, and those which professing to be representative of matter, miss of the representation and are therefore nugatory. ... -The idea, therefore, of the park oak is full size, united terminal curve, equal and symmetrical range of branches on each side, The ideal of the mountain oak may be anything,
twisting, and leaning, and shattered, and rock-encumbered, so only that amidst all its misfortunes, it maintain the dignity of oak; and, indeed, I look upon this kind of tree as more ideal than the other, in so far as by its efforts and struggles, more of its nature, enduring power, patience in waiting for, and ingenuity in obtaining what it wants, is brought out, and so more of the essence of oak exhibited, than under more fortunate conditions.
The ranunculus glacialis might perhaps, by cultivation, be blanched from its wan and corpse-like paleness to purer white, and won to more branched and lofty development of its ragged leaves. But the ideal of the plant is to be found only in the jast, loose stones of the moraine, alone there; wet with the cold, unkindly drip of the glacier water, and trembling as the loose and steep dust to which it clings yields ever and anon, and
shudders and crumbles away from about its root. And if it be asked how this conception afthe utmost beauty of ideal form is consistent with what we formerly argued respecting the pleasantness of the appearance of felicity in the creature, let it be observed, and for ever held, that the right and true happiness of every creature, is in this very discharge of its function,[aña in those efforts by which its strength and "inherent energy are developed: and that the repose of which we also spoke as necessary to all beauty, is, as was then stated, repose not of inanition, nor of luxury, nor of irresolution, but the repose of magnificent energy and being; in action, the calmness of trust and determination; in rest, the consciousness of duty accomplished and of victory won, and this repose and this felicity can take place as well in the midst of trial and tempest, as beside the waters of comfort; they perish only when the creature is either unfaithful to itself, or is afflicted by circumstances unnatural and malignant to its being, and for the contending with which it was neither fitted nor ordainedy v) Hence that rest which is indeed glorious is of the chamois couched breathless on his granite bed, not of the stalled ox over his fodder; and that happiness which is indeed beautiful is in the bearing of those trial tests which are appointed for the proving of every creature, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Of all creatures whose existence involves birth, progress, and dissolution, ideality is predicable all through their existence, so that they be perfect with reference to their supposed period of being. Thus there is an ideal of infancy, of youth, of old age, of death, and of decay. But when the ideal form of the species is spoken of or conceived in general terms, the form is understood to be of that period when the generic attributes are perfectly developed, and previous to the commencement of their decline. At which period all the characters of vital and typical beauty are commonly most concentrated in them, though the arrangement and proportion of these characters varies at different periods, youth having more of the vigorous beauty, and age of the reposing; youth of typical outward fairness, and age of expanded and etherealized moral expression; the babe, again, in some measure atoning in gracefulness for its want of strength, so that the balanced glory of the creature continues in solemn interchange, perhaps évén"
“Filling more and more with crystal light,
Our purity of taste is best tested by its universality. If we can only admire this thing or that, we may be sure that our cause for liking is of a finite and false nature. But if we can perceive beauty in everything of God's doing, we may argue that we have reached the true perception of its universal laws. Hence, false taste may be known by its fastidiousness, by its demands of pomp, splendor, and unusual combination; by its enjoyment only of particular styles and modes of things, and
by its pride also, for it is for ever meddling, mending, accumulating, and self exulting, its eye is always upon itself, and it tests all things around it by the way they fit it. But true taste is for ever growing, learning, reading, worshipping, lay ing its hand upon its mouth because it is astonished, casting its shoes from off its feet because it finds all ground holy, lamenting over itself, and testing itself by the way that it fits things. And it finds whereof to feed, and whereby to grow, in all things, and therefore the complaint so often made by young artists that they have not within their reach materials, or subjects enough for their fancy, is utterly groundless, and the sign only of their own blindness and inefficiency; for there is that to be seen in every street and lane of every city—that to be felt and found in every human heart and 3ountenance, that to be loved in every road-side weed and moss-grown wall, which, in the hands of faithful men, may convey emotions of