Abbildungen der Seite


beauty of the animal creation, as it did not fall things. Gracefulness is an idea belonging to so easily under the foregoing heads, though in posture and motion. In both these, to be grace fact it is reducible to the same principles. I ful, it is requisite that there be no appearance think then, that the beauty of the eye consists, of difficulty; there is required a small inflecfirst, in its clearness ; what coloured eye shall tion of the body; and a composure of the parts please most, depends a good deal on particular in such a manner, as not to incumber each fancies; but none are pleased with an eye other, not to appear divided by sharp and sudwhose water (to use that term) is dull and den angles. In this case, this roundness, this muddy.* We are pleased with the eye in this delicacy of attitude and motion, it is that all the view, on the principle upon which we like dia- magic of grace consists, and what is called its monds, clear water, glass, and such like trans- je ne sçai quoi; as will be obvious to any obparent substances. Secondly, the motion of the server, who considers attentively the Venus eye contributes to its beauty, by continually de Medicis, the Antinous, or any statue geno shifting its direction; but a slow and languid rally allowed to be graceful in a high degree. motion is more beautiful than a brisk one; the latter is enlivening; the former lovely. Thirdly, with regard to the union of the eye with the neighbouring parts, it is to hold the same rule

SECTION XXIII. that is given of other beautiful ones; it is not to make a strong deviation from the line of the neighbouring parts; nor to verge into any exact geometrical figure. Besides all this, the eye affects, as it is expressive of some qualities of

WHEN any body is composed of parts smooth the mind, and its principal power generally without shewing any ruggedness or confusion,

and polished, without pressing upon each other, arises from this ; so that what we have just said and at the same time affecting some regular of the physiognomy is applicable here.

shape, I call it elegant. It is closely allied to the beautiful, differing from it only in this regu

larity; which, however, as it makes a very SECTION XXI.

material difference in the affection produced, may very well constitute another species. Under this head I rank those delicate and

regular works of art, that imitate no determiIt may perhaps appear like a sort of repeti

nate object in nature, as elegant buildings, and tion of what we have before said, to insist here pieces of furniture. When any object parupon the nature of ugliness ; as I imagine it to those of beautiful bodies, and is withal of great

takes of the above-mentioned qualities, or of be in all respects the opposite to those qualities which we have laid down for the constie dimensions, it is full as remote from the idea

of mere beauty; I call it fine or specious. tuents of beauty. But though ugliness be the opposite to beauty, it is not the opposite to proportion and fitness. For it is possible that a thing may be very ugly with any proportions, and with a perfect fitness to any uses. Ugli

SECTION XXIV. ness I imagine likewise to be consistent enough with an idea of the sublime. But I would by no means insinuate that ugliness of itself is a sublime idea, unless united with such qualities The foregoing description of beauty, so far 48 excite a strong terrour.

as it is taken in by the eye, may be greatly illustrated by describing the nature of objects, which produce a similar effect through the

touch. This I call the beautiful in Feeling. SECTION XXII.

It corresponds wonderfully with what causes the same species of pleasure to the sight.

There is a chain in all our sensations; they GRACEFULNESS is an idea not very different are all but different sorts of feelings calculated from beauty; it consists in much the same

to be affected by various sorts of objects, but

all to be affected after the same manner. Al # Part IV. sect. 25.

bodies that are pleasant to the touch, are so





by the slightness of the resistance they make.

SECTION XXV. Resistance is either to motion along the surface, or to the pressure of the parts on one another: if the former be slight, we call the body smooth; if the latter, soft. The chief In this sense we find an equal aptitude to pleasure we receive by feeling, is in the one

be affected in a soft and delicate manner; and or the other of these qualities; and if there be how far sweet or beautiful sounds agree with a combination of both, our pleasure is greatly our descriptions of beauty in other senses, the increased. This is so plain, that it is rather experience of every one must decide. Milton more fit to illustrate other things, than to be has described this species of music in one of illustrated itself by an example. The next his juvenile poems.* I need not say that Milsource of pleasure in this sense, as in every ton was perfectly well versed in that art; and other, is the continually presenting somewhat that no man had a finer ear, with a happier new; and we find that bodies which continu- manner of expressing the affections of one ally vary their surface, are much the most plea- sense by metaphors taken from another. The sant or beautiful to the feeling, as any one that description is as follows: pleases may experience. The third property And ever against eating cares, in such objects is, that though the surface con- Lap me in soft Lydian airs; tinually varies its direction, it never varies it

In notes with many a winding bout

Of linked sweetness long drawn out; suddenly. The application of any thing sud

With wanton heed, and giddy cunning, den, even though the impression itself have The melting voice through mazes running, little or nothing of violence, is disagreeable. Untwisting all the chains that tie The quick application of a finger a little

The hidden soul of harmony. warmer or colder than usual, without notice, Let us parallel this with the softness, the windmakes us start; a slight tap on the shoulder, ing surface, the unbroken continuance, the not expected, has the same effect. Hence it easy gradation of the beautiful in other things; is that angular bodies, bodies that suddenly and all the diversities of the several senses, vary the direction of the outline, afford so little with all their several affections, will rather help pleasure to the feeling. Every such change to throw lights from one another to finish one is a sort of climbing or falling in miniature ; so clear, consistent idea of the whole, than to that squares, triangles, and other angular figures obscure it by their intricacy and variety. are neither beautiful to the sight nor feeling. To the above-mentioned description I shall Whoever compares his state of mind, on feel add one or two remarks. The first is; that ing soft, smooth, variegated, unangular bodies, the beautiful in music will not bear that loudwith that in which he finds himself, on the ness and strength of sounds, which may be view of a beautiful object, will perceive a very used to raise other passions; nor notes which striking analogy in the effects of both; and are shrill, or harsh, or deep; it agrees best which may go a good way towards discovering with such as are clear, even, smooth, and their common causo. Feeling and sight, in weak. The second is; that great variety, and this respect, differ in but a few points. The quick transitions from one measure or tone to touch takes in the pleasure of softness, which another, are contrary to the genius of the is not primarily an object of sight; the sight, beautiful in music. Such transitionst often on the other hand, comprehends colour, which excite mirth, or other sudden and tumultuous can hardly be made perceptible to the touch: passions; but not that sinking, that melting, the touch again has the advantage in a new that languor, which is the characteristical idea of pleasure resulting from a moderate de- effect of the beautiful as it regards every sense. gree of warmth ; but the eye triumphs in the The passion excited by beauty is in fact nearer infinite extent and multiplicity of its objects. to a species of melancholy, than to jollity and But there is such a similitude in the pleasures mirth. I do not here mean to confine music to of these senses, that I am apt to fancy, if it any one species of notes, or tones, neither is it were possible that one might discern colour an art in which I can say I have any great by feeling, (as it is said some blind men have skill. My sole design in this remark is, to done,) that the same colours, and the same dis- settle a consistent idea of beauty. The infiposition of colouring, which are found beautiful nite variety of the affections of the soul will to the sight, would be found likewise most suggest to a good head, and skilful ear, a grateful to the touch. But, setting aside con

* L'allegro. jectures, let us pass to the other sense; of

f I ne'er am merry, when I hear sweet music




variety of such sounds as are fitted to raise deviates, it often makes a strong deviation them. It can be no prejudice to this, to clear beauty should not be obscure; the great ought and distinguish some few particulars, that be- to be dark and gloomy: beauty should be light long to the same class, and are consistent with and delicate; the great ought to be solid, and each other, from the immense crowd of differ- even massive. They are indeed ideas of a very ent, and sometimes contradictory ideas, that different nature, one being founded on pain, the rank vulgarly under the standard of beauty. other on pleasure ; and however they may vary And of these it is my intention to mark such afterwards from the direct nature of their only of the leading points as shew the confor- causes, yet these causes keep up an eternal mity of the sense of hearing, with all the other distinction between them, a distinction never senses in the article of their pleasures. to be forgotten by any whose business it is to

affect the passions. In the infinite variety of natural combinations, we must expect to fim,

the qualities of things the most remote imagi SECTION XXVI.

nable from each other united in the same object. We must expect also to find combinations of the same kind in the works of art. But when

we consider the power of an object upon our This general agreement of the senses is passions, we must know that when any thing yet more evident on minutely considering those is intended to affect the mind by the force of of taste and smell. We metaphorically apply some predominant property, the affection prothe idea of sweetness to sights and sounds; but duced is like to be the more uniform and per as the qualities of bodies by which they are fect, if all the other properties or qualities of fitted to excite either pleasure or pain in these the object be of the same nature, and tending senses, are not so obvious as they are in the to the same design as the principal. others, we shall refer an explanation of their If black and white blend, soften, and unite analogy, which is a very close one, to that A thousand ways, are there no black and white part, wherein we come to consider the common If the qualities of the sublime and beautiful are efficient cause of beauty, as it regards all the sometimes found united, does this prove that senses. I do not think any thing better fitted they are the same ; does it prove

that they are to establish a clear and settled idea of visual any way allied ; does it prove even that they beauty, than this way of examining the similar are not opposite and contradictory? Black and pleasures of other senses; for one part is some- white may soften, may blend; but they are not times clear in one of the senses, that is more therefore the same. Nor, when they are so obscure in another; and where there is a clear softened and blended with each other, or with concurrence of all, we may with more cer- different colours, is the power of black as black, tainty speak of any one of them. By this or of white as white, so strong as when each means, they bear witness to each other; stands uniform and distinguished. nature is, as it were, scrutinized; and we report nothing of her but what we receive from her own information.







On closing this general view of beauty, it When I say, I intend to enquire into the naturally occurs, that we should compare it with efficient cause of sublimity and beauty, I would the sublime; and in this comparison there ap- not be understood to say, that I can come to pears a remarkable contrast. For sublime the ultimate cause. I do not pretend that I objects are vast in their dimensions, beautiful shall ever be able to explain, why certain affecones comparatively small: beauty should be tions of the body produce such a distinct emon smooth and polished; the great, rugged and tion of mind, and no other; or why the body is negligent ; beauty should shun the right ine, at all affected by the mind, or the mind by the yet deviate from it insensibly; the great in body. A little thought will show this to be immany cases loves the right line ; and when it possible. But I conceive, if we can discover what affections of the mind produce certain govering motions are communicated at a timo emotions of the body; and what distinct feel when we have not capacity to reflect on them ings and qualities of body shall produce certain at a time of which all sort of memory is worn determinate passions in the mind, and no out of our minds. For besides such things as others, I fancy a great deal will be done; affect us in various manners, according to their something not unuseful towards a distinct know natural powers, there are associations made at ledge of our passions, so far at least as we have that early season, which we find it very hard them at present under our consideration. This afterwards to distinguish from natural effects. is all, I believe, we can do. If we could ad- Not to mention the unaccountable antipathies vance a step farther, difficulties would still which we find in many persons, we all find it remain, as we should be still equally distant impossible to remember when a steep became from the first cause. When Newton first discou more terrible than a plain ; or fire or water vered the property of attraction, and settled its more terrible than a clod of earth; though all aws, he found it served very well to explain these are very probably either conclusions from everal of the most remarkable phænomena in experience, or arising from the premonitions nature; but yet with reference to the general of others; and some of them impressed, in all system of things, he could consider attraction likelihood, pretty late. But as it must be but as an effect; whose cause at that time he allowed that many things affect us after a cerdid not attempt to trace. But when he after- tain manner, not by any natural powers they wards began to account for it by a subtile elas- have for that purpose, but by association ; so it tic æther, this great man (if so great a man would be absurd, on the other hand, to say that it be not impious to discover any thing like a all things affect us by association only; since blemish) seemed to have quitted his usual cau- some things must have been originally and natious manner of philosophising; since, perhaps, turally agreeable or disagreeable, from which allowing all that has been advanced on this the others derive their associated powers; and subject to be sufficiently proved, I think it it would be, I fancy, to little purpose to look leaves us with as many difficulties as it found for the cause of our passions in association, us. That great chain of causes, which links until we fail of it in the natural properties of one to another, even to the throne of God him- things. self, can never be unravelled by any industry of ours. When we go but one step beyond the immediate sensible qualities of things, we go

SECTION III. out of our depth. All we do after is but a faint struggle, that shews we are in an element which does not belong to us. So that when I speak of cause, and efficient cause, I only mean I have before observed," that whatever is certain affections of the mind, that cause cer- qualified to cause terrour, is a foundation capable tain changes in the body; or certain powers of the sublime ; to which I add, that not only and properties in bodies, that work a change these, but many things from which we cannot in the mind. As if I were to explain the mo- probably apprehend any danger, have a similar tion of a body falling to the ground, I would say effect, because they operate in a similar manit was caused by gravity; and I would endeavour ner. I observed too, that whatever produces to shew after what manner this power operated, pleasure, positive and original pleasure, is fit without attempting to shew why it operated in to have beauty engrafted on it. Therefore, to this manner: or if I were to explain the effects clear up the nature of these qualities, it may be of bodies striking one another by the common necessary to explain the nature of pain and laws of percussion, I should not endeavour to pleasure on which they depend. A man who erplain how motion itself is communicated. suffers under violent bodily pain, (I suppose the

most violent, because the effect may be the more obvious ;) I say a man in great pain has

his teeth set, his eye-brows are violently conSECTION II.

tracted, his forehead is wrinkled, his eyes are dragged inwards, and rolled with great vehemence, his hair stands an end, the voice is

forced out in short shrieks and groans, and the It is no small bar in the way of our inquiry whole fabric tatters. Fear or terrour, which into the cause of our passions, that the occasion of many of them are given, and that their * Part I. sect. 8. Part I. sect. 10



is an apprehension of pain or death, exhibits deal with, he composed his face, his gestore, exactly the same effects, approaching in vion and his whole body, as nearly as he could into lence to those just mentioned, in proportion to the exact similitude of the person he intended the nearness of the cause, and the weakness of to examine ; and then carefully observed what the subject. This is not only so in the human turn of mind he seemed to acquire by this species: but I have more than once observed change. So that, says my author, he was able in dogs, under an apprehension of punishment, to enter into the dispositions and thoughts of that they have writhed their bodies, and yelped, people as effectually as if he had been changed and howled, as if they had actually felt the into the very men. I have often observed, that blows. From hence I conclude, that pain and on mimicking the looks and gestures of angry, fear act upon the same parts of the body, and or placid, or frighted, or daring men, I have in the same manner, though somewhat differing involuntarily found my mind turned to that in degree: that pain and fear consist in an passion, whose appearance I endeavoured to unnatural tension of the nerves; that this is imitate; nay, I am convinced it is hard to sometimes accompanied with an unnatural avoid it, though one strove to separate the passtrength, which sometimes suddeniy changes sion from its correspondent gestures. Our minds into an extraordinary weakness; that these and bodies are so closely and intimately coneffects often come on alternately, and are some- nected, that one is incapable of pain or pleasure times mixed with each other. This is the without the other. Campanella, of whom we nature of all convulsive agitations, especially have been speaking, could so abstract his attenin weaker subjects, which are the most liable tion from any sufferings of his body, that he to the severest impressions of pain and fear. was able to endure the rack itself without much The only difference between pain and terrour pain; and in lesser pains every body must have is, that things which cause pain operate on the observed, that when we can employ our attenmind, by the intervention of the body; whereas tion on any thing else, the pain has been for a things that cause terrour, generally affect the time suspended: on the other hand, if by any bodily organs by the operation of the mind sug. means the body is indisposed to perform such gesting the danger ; but both agreeing, either gestures, or to be stimulated into such emoprimarily, or secondarily, in producing a ten- tions as any passion usually produces in it, sion, contraction, or violent emotion of the that passion itself never can arise, though its nerves,* they agree likewise in every thing cause should be never so strongly in action; else. For it appears very clearly to me, from though it should be merely mental, and immethis, as well as from many other examples, that diately affecting none of the senses. As an when the body is disposed, by any means what- opiate, or spirituous liquors, shall suspend the soever, to such emotions as it would acquire operation of grief, or fear, or anger, in spite of by the means of a certain passion; it will of all our efforts to the contrary; and this by itself excite something very like that passion in inducing in the body a disposition contrary to the mind.

that which it receives from these passions



HOW THE SUBLIME IS PRODUCED. To this purpose Mr. Spon, in his Récherches d' Antiquité, gives us a curious story of Having considered terrour as producing an the celebrated physiognomist Campanella. This unnatural tension and certain violent emotions man, it scems, had not only made very accu

of the nerves; it easily follows from what we rate observations on human faces, but was very

have just said, that whatever is fitted to proexpert in mimicking such as were any way duce such a tension, must be productive of a remarkable. When he had a mind to pene- passion similar to terrour,* and consequently trate into the inclinations of those he had to

must be a source of the sublime, though it * I do not here enter into the question de. should have no idea of danger connected with bated among physiologists, whether pain be it. So that little reinains towards shewing the the effect of a contraction, or a tension of the cause of the sublime, but to shew that the nerves. Either will serve my purpose;, for instances we have given of it in the second by tension, I mean no more than a violent part relate to such things, as are fitted by nature pulling of the fibres, which compose any muscle or membrane, in whatever way this is done.

Part II. sect. 2.

« ZurückWeiter »