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SECT. XXIV.-THE BEAUTIFUL IX FEELING.
view, on the principle upon which we like dia- | another species. Under this head I rank those monds, clear water, glass, and such like transpa- delicate and regular works of art, that imitate no rent substances. Secondly, the motion of the eye determinate object in nature, as elegant buildings, contributes to its beauty, by continually shifting and pieces of furniture. When any object parits direction ; but a slow and languid motion is takes of the above mentioned qualities, or of those more beautiful than a brisk one; the latter is of beautiful bodies, and is withal of great dimenenlivening; the former lovely. Thirdly, with re- sions, it is full as remote from the idea of mere gard to the union of the eye with the neighbour-beauty; I call it fine or specious. ing parts, it is to hold the same rule 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. The foregoing description of beauty, so far as Besides all this, the eye affects, as it is expressive it is taken in by the eye, may be greatly illustrated of some qualities of the mind, and its principal by describing the nature of objects, which produce power generally arises from this; so that what we a similar effect through the touch. This I call the have just said of the physiognomy is applicable beautiful in Feeling. It corresponds wonderfully here.
with what causes the same species of pleasure to the sight. There is a chain in all our sensations ; they are all but different sorts of feelings calcu
lated to be affected by various sorts of objects, It may perhaps appear like a sort of repetition but all to be affected after the same manner. All of what we have before said, to insist here upon bodies that are pleasant to the touch, are so by the the nature of Ugliness ; as I imagine it to be in slightness of the resistance they make. Resistance all respects the opposite to those qualities which is either to motion along the surface, or to the we have laid down for the constituents of beauty. pressure of the parts on one another: if the former But though ugliness be the opposite to beauty, it be slight, we call the body smooth; if the latter, is not the opposite to proportion and fitness. For soft. The chief pleasure we receive by feeling, is it is possible that a thing may be very ugly with in the one or the other of these qualities; and if any proportions, and with a perfect fitness to any there be a combination of both, our pleasure is uses. Ugliness I imagine likewise to be consistent greatly increased. This is so plain, that it is rather enough with an idea of the sublime. But I would more fit to illustrate other things, than to be illusby no means insinuate that ugliness of itself is a trated itself by an example. The next source of sublime idea, unless united with such qualities as pleasure in this sense, as in every other, is the conexcite a strong terrour.
tinually presenting somewhat new; and we find
that bodies which continually vary their surface, SECT. XXII. -GRACE.
are much the most pleasant or beautiful to the
feeling, as any one that pleases may experience. Gracefulness is an idea not very different from The third property in such objects is, that though beauty; it consists in much the same things. the surface continually varies its direction, it never Gracefulness is an idea belonging to posture and varies it suddenly. The application of any thing motion. In both these, to be graceful, it is re- sudden, even though the impression itself have quisite that there be no appearance of difficulty ; little or nothing of violence, is disagreeable. The there is required a small inflection of the body; quick application of a finger a little warmer or and a composure of the parts in such a manner, colder than usual, without notice, makes us start; as not to encumber each other, not to appear a slight tap on the shoulder, not expected, has the divided by sharp and sudden angles. In this same effect. Hence it is that angular bodies, bodies case, this roundness, this delicacy of attitude and that suddenly vary the direction of the outline, motion, it is that all the magick of grace consists, afford so little pleasure to the feeling. Every such and what is called its je ne sçai quoi ; as will be change is a sort of climbing or falling in miniaobvious to any observer, who considers atten- ture; so that squares, triangles, and other angular tively the Venus de Medicis, the Antinous, or any figures, are neither beautiful to the sight nor feelstatue generally allowed to be graceful in a high ing. Whoever compares his state of mind, on
feeling soft, smooth, variated, unangular bodies,
with that in which he finds himself, on the view of SECT. XXIII.- ELEGANCE AND SPECIOUSNESS.
a beautiful object, will perceive a very striking
analogy in the effects of both; and which may When any body is composed of parts smooth go a good way towards discovering their common and polished, without pressing upon each other, cause. Feeling and sight, in this respect, differ without shewing any ruggedness or confusion, and in but a few points. The touch takes in the pleaat the same time affecting some regular shape, I sure of softness, which is not primarily an object call it elegant. It is closely allied to the beautiful, of sight; the sight, on the other hand, comprediffering from it only in this regularity ; which, hends colour, which can hardly be made percephowever, as it makes a very material difference in tible to the touch : the touch again has the advanthe affection produced, may very well constitute tage in a new idea of pleasure resulting from a
moderate degree of warmth; but the eye triumphs | variety of such sounds as are fitted to raise them. in the infinite extent and multiplicity of its objects. It can be no prejudice to this, to clear and disBut there is such a similitude in the pleasures of tinguish some few particulars, that belong to the these senses, that I am apt to fancy, if it were same class, and are consistent with each other, possible that one might discern colour by feeling, from the immense crowd of different, and some(as it is said some blind men have done,) that the times contradictory, ideas, that rank vulgarly under same colours, and the same disposition of colour- the standard of beauty. And of these it is my ing, which are found beautiful to the sight, would intention to mark such only of the leading points be found likewise most grateful to the touch. But, as show the conformity of the sense of Hearing setting aside conjectures, let us pass to the other with all the other senses, in the article of their sense ; of Hearing.
SECT. XXV. -THE BEAUTIFUL IN SOUNDS.
SECT. XXVI.-TASTE AND SMELL.
SECT. XXVII.-THE SUBLIME AND BEAUTIFUL
In this sense we find an equal aptitude to be This general agreement of the senses is yet affected in a soft and delicate manner; and how more evident on minutely considering those of far sweet or beautiful sounds
with taste and smell. We metaphorically apply the idea descriptions of beauty in other senses, the expe- of sweetness to sights and sounds; but as the quarience of every one must decide. Milton has de- lities of bodies by which they are fitted to excite scribed this species of musick in one of his juvenile either pleasure or pain in these senses, are not so poems. I need not say that Milton was perfectly obvious as they are in the others, we shall refer an well versed in that art; and that no man had a explanation of their analogy, which is a very close finer ear, with a happier manner of expressing the one, to that part, wherein we come to consider affections of one sense by metaphors taken from the common efficient cause of beauty, as it regards another. The description is as follows:
all the senses. I do not think any thing better
fitted to establish a clear and settled idea of visual And ever against eating cares, Lap me in soft Lydian airs :
beauty, than this way of examining the similar In notes with many a winding bout
pleasures of other senses; for one part is someOf linked sweetness long drawn out;
times clear in one of the senses, that is more With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
obscure in another; and where there is a clear conThe melting voice through mazes running ; Untwisting all the chains that tie
currence of all, we may with more certainty speak The hidden soul of harmony.
of any one of them. By this means, they bear
witness to each other; nature is, as it were, scruLet us parallel this with the softness, the winding tinized ; and we report nothing of her but what we surface, the unbroken continuance, the easy gra- receive from her own information. dation of the beautiful in other things; and all the diversities of the several senses, with all their several affections, will rather help to throw lights from one another to finish one clear, consistent idea of the whole, than to obscure it by their in- On closing this general view of Beauty, it natricacy and variety.
turally occurs, that we should compare it with the To the above mentioned description I shall add Sublime; and in this comparison there appears a one or two remarks. The first is; that the remarkable contrast. For sublime objects are vast beautiful in musick will not bear that loudness and in their dimensions, beautiful ones comparatively strength of sounds, which may be used to raise small: beauty should be smooth and polished; ; other passions; nor notes which are shrill or harsh, the great, rugged and negligent; beauty should or deep; it agrees best with such as are clear, even, shun the right line, yet deviate from it insensibly; smooth, and weak. The second is; that great the great in many cases loves the right line ; and variety, and quick transitions from one measure or when it deviates, it often makes a strong deviatone to another, are contrary to the genius of the tion : beauty should not be obscure ; the great beautiful in musick. Such 7 transitions often ex- ought to be dark and gloomy; beauty should be cite mirth, or other sudden or tumultuous passions; light and delicate ; the great ought to be solid, but not that sinking, that melting, that languor, and even massive. They are indeed ideas of a very which is the characteristical effect of the beautiful different nature, one being founded on pain, the as it regards every sense. The passion excited by other on pleasure ; and however they may vary beauty is in fact nearer to a species of melan- afterwards from the direct nature of their causes, choly, than to jollity and mirth. I do not here yet these causes keep up an eternal distinction mean to confine musick to any one species of between them, a distinction never to be forgotten notes, or tones, neither is it an art in which I can by any whose business it is to affect the passions. say I have
any great skill. My sole design in this in the infinite variety of natural combinations, remark is, to settle a consistent idea of beauty. we must expect to find the qualities of things the The infinite variety of the affections of the soul most remote imaginable from each other united will suggest to a good head, and skilful ear, a in the same object. We must expect also to find * L'Allegro.
+ I ne'er am merry, when I hear sweet musick.-SHAKSPEARE.
combinations of the same kind in the works of If the qualities of the sublime and beautiful are art. But when we consider the power of an object sometimes found united, does this prove that they upon our passions, we must know that when any are the same; does it prove that they are any way thing is intended to affect the mind by the force allied ; does it prove even that they are not opof some predominant property, the affection pro- posite and contradictory? Black and white may duced is like to be the more uniform and perfect, soften, may blend; but they are not therefore the if all the other properties or qualities of the object same. Nor, when they are so softened and be of the same nature, and tending to the same blended with each other, or with different colours, design as the principal.
is the power of black as black, or of white as If black and white blend, soften, and unite
white, so strong as when each stands uniform and A thousund ways, are there no black and white ? distinguished.
SUBLIME AND BEAUTIFUL.
which does not belong to us. So that when I SECTION 1.-OF THE EFFICIENT CAUSE OF THE speak of cause, and efficient cause, I only mean
certain affections of the mind, that certain
changes in the body; or certain powers and proWhen I say, I intend to enquire into the efficient perties in bodies, that work a change in the mind. cause of Sublimity and Beauty, I would not be As if I were to explain the motion of a body fallunderstood to say, that I can come to the ultimate ing to the ground, I would say it was caused by cause. I do not pretend that I shall ever be able gravity; and I would endeavour to shew after to explain, why certain affections of the body what manner this power operated, without atproduce such a distinct emotion of mind, and no tempting to shew why it operated in this manner: other; or why the body is at all affected by the or if I were to explain the effects of bodies strikmind, or the mind by the body. A little thought ing one another by the common laws of percuswill shew this to be impossible. But I conceive, sion, I should not endeavour to explain how if we can discover what affections of the mind motion itself is communicated. produce certain emotions of the body; and what distinct feelings and qualities of body shall pro
SECT. II. - ASSOCIATION. duce certain determinate passions in the mind, and no others, I fancy a great deal will be done ; It is no small bar in the way of our enquiry something not unuseful towards a distinct know- into the cause of our passions, that the occasions ledge of our passions, so far at least as we have of many of them are given, and that their governthem at present under our consideration. This is ing motions are communicated at a time when we all, I believe, we can do. If we could advance have not capacity to reflect on them; at a time a step farther, difficulties would still remain, as of which all sort of memory is worn out of our we should be still equally distant from the first minds. For besides such things as affect us
When Newton first discovered the pro- in various manners, according to their natural perty of attraction, and settled its laws, he found powers, there are associations made at that early it served very well to explain several of the most season, which we find it very hard afterwards to remarkable phænomena in nature; but yet with distinguish from natural effects. Not to mention reference to the general system of things, he could the unaccountable antipathies which we find in consider attraction but as an effect, whose cause at many persons, we all find it impossible to rethat time he did not attempt to trace. But when member when a steep became more terrible than he afterwards began to account for it by a subtle a plain; or fire or water more terrible than a elastic æther, this great man (if in so great a man
clod of earth; though all these are very probably it be not impious to discover any thing like a either conclusions from experience, or arising blemish) seemed to have quitted his usual cautious from the premonitions of others ; and some of manner of philosophizing: since, perhaps, allow them impressed, in all likelihood, pretty late. ing all that has been advanced on this subject to But as it must be allowed that many things affect be sufficiently proved, I think it leaves us with as us after a certain manner, not by any natural many difficulties as it found us. That great chain powers they have for that purpose, but by assoof causes, which linking one to another even to the ciation ; so it would be absurd, on the other hand, throne of God himself, can never be unravelled by to say that all things affect us by association any industry of ours. When we go but one step only; since some things must have been origibeyond the immediate sensible qualities of things, nally and naturally agreeable or disagreeable, we go out of our depth. All we do after is but a from which the others derive their associated faint struggle, that shews we are in an element powers; and it would be, I fancy, to little pur
SECT. III.-CAUSE OF PAIN AND FEAR.
pose to look for the cause of our passions in association, until we fail of it in the natural properties of things.
To this purpose Mr. Spon, in his Récherches d'Antiquité, gives us a curious story of the cele
brated physiognomist Campanella. This man, it I have before observed,* that whatever is seems, had not only made very accurate observaqualified to cause terrour is a foundation capable tions on human faces, but was very expert in of the sublime; to which I add, that not only mimicking such as were any way remarkable. these, but many things from which we cannot When he had a mind to penetrate into the inclinaprobably apprehend any danger, have a similar tions of those he had to deal with, he composed his effect, because they operate in a similar manner. face, his gesture, and his whole body, as nearly as I observed too,t that whatever produces pleasure, he could into the exact similitude of the person he positive and original pleasure, is fit to have beauty intended to examine; and then carefully observed engrafted on it. Therefore, to clear up the what turn of mind he seemed to acquire by this nature of these qualities, it may be necessary to change. So that, says my author, he was able to explain the nature of pain and pleasure on which enter into the dispositions and thoughts of people they depend. A man who suffers under violent as effectually as if he had been changed into the bodily pain, (I suppose the most violent, because very men. I have often observed, that on mithe effect may be the more obvious,) I say a man micking the looks and gestures of angry, or placid, in great pain has his teeth set, his eye-brows are or frighted, or daring men, I have involuntarily violently contracted, his forehead is wrinkled, his found my mind turned to that passion, whose eyes are dragged inwards, and rolled with great appearance I endeavoured to imitate; nay, I am vehemence, his hair stands on end, the voice is convinced it is hard to avoid it, though one strove forced out in short shrieks and groans, and the to separate the passion from its correspondent whole fabrick totters. Fear, or terrour, which is gestures. Our minds and bodies are so closely and an apprehension of pain or death, exhibits exactly intimately connected, that one is incapable of pain the same effects, approaching in violence to those or pleasure without the other. Campanella, of just mentioned, in proportion to the nearness of whom we have been speaking, could so abstract the cause, and the weakness of the subject. This is his attention from any sufferings of his body, that not only so in the human species; but I have more he was able to endure the rack itself without much than once observed in dogs, under an apprehen- pain; and in lesser pains every body must have sion of punishment, that they have writhed their observed, that, when we can employ our attention bodies, and yelped, and howled, as if they had on any thing else, the pain has been for a time actually felt the blows. From hence I conclude, suspended : on the other hand, if by any means that pain and fear act upon the same parts of the body is indisposed to perform such gestures, or the body, and in the same manner, though some- to be stimulated into such emotions as any passion what differing in degree; that pain and fear consist usually produces in it, that passion itself never can in an unnatural tension of the nerves; that this is arise, though its cause should be never so strongly sometimes accompanied with an unnatural strength, in action; though it should be merely mental, which sometimes suddenly changes into an extra- and immediately affecting none of the senses. As ordinary weakness; that these effects often come an opiate, or spirituous liquors, shall suspend the on alternately, and are sometimes mixed with each operation of grief, or fear, or anger, in spite of other. This is the nature of all convulsive agita- all our efforts to the contrary; and this by inducing tions, especially in weaker subjects, which are the in the body a disposition contrary to that which most liable to the severest impressions of pain and it receives from these passions. fear. The only difference between pain and terrour is, that things which cause pain operate on SECT. V.-HOW THE SUBLIME IS PRODUCED. the mind by the intervention of the body; whereas things that cause terrour generally affect the Having considered terrour as producing an bodily organs by the operation of the mind unnatural tension and certain violent emotions of suggesting the danger; but not agreeing, either the nerves; it easily follows, from what we have primarily, or secondarily, in producing a tension, just said, and whatever is fitted to produce such a contraction, or violent emotion of the nerves, i tension must be productive of a passion similar to they agree likewise in every thing else. For it terrour,ş and consequently must be a source of the appears very clearly to me, from this, as well as sublime, though it should have no idea of danger from
many other examples, that when the body is connected with it. So that little remains towards disposed, by any means whatsoever, to such emo- shewing the cause of the sublime, but to shew that tions as it would acquire by the means of a certain the instances we have given of it in the second passion; it will of itself excite something very like part relate to such things, as are fitted by nature that passion in the mind.
to produce this sort of tension, either by the • Part I. sect. 8.
Either will serve my purpose : for by tension, I + Part I. sect. 10.
mean no more than the violent pulling of the fibres, which com1 I do not here enter into the question debated among physi. pose any muscle or membrane, in whatever way this is done. ologists, whether pain be the effect of a contraction, or a tension § Part II. sect. 2.
of the nerves.
SECT. VII.-EXERCISE NECESSARY FOR THE FINER
SECT. VI.-HOW PAIN CAN
BE A CAUSE OF DE
primary operation of the mind or the body. With parts we have mentioned; to have them in proregard to such things as affect by the associated per order, they must be shaken and worked to a idea of danger, there can be no doubt but that proper degree. they produce terrour, and act by some modification of that passion; and that terrour, when sufficiently violent, raises the emotions of the body just mentioned, can as little be doubted. But if the sublime is built on terrour, or some passion like As common labour, which is a mode of pain, it, which has pain for its object, it is previously is the exercise of the grosser, a mode of terrour is proper to inquire how any species of delight can the exercise of the finer parts of the system; and be derived from a cause so apparently contrary to if a certain mode of pain be of such a nature as to it. I say delight, because, as I have often re
the eye or the ear, as they are the most marked, it is very evidently different in its cause, delicate organs, the affection approaches more and in its own nature, from actual and positive nearly to that which has
mental cause. In all pleasure.
these cases, if the pain and terrour are so modified as not to be actually noxious; if the pain is not carried to violence, and the terrour is not conversant about the present destruction of the person,
as these emotions clear the parts, whether fine or PROVIDENCE has so ordered it, that a state of gross, of a dangerous and troublesome incumrest and inaction, however it may flatter our in-brance, they are capable of producing delight; dolence, should be productive of many inconve- not pleasure, but a sort of delightful horrour, a niences; that it should generate such disorders, sort of tranquillity tinged with terrour; which, as as may force us to have recourse to some labour, it belongs to self-preservation, is one of the strongas a thing absolutely requisite to make us pass est of all the passions. Its object is the sublime.* our lives with tolerable satisfaction ; for the na- Its highest degree I call astonishment; the subture of rest is to suffer all the parts of our bodies ordinate degrees are awe, reverence, and respect, to fall into a relaxation, that not only disables the which, by the very etymology of the words, shew members from performing their functions, but from what source they are derived, and how they takes away the vigorous tone of fibre which is re- stand distinguished from positive pleasure. quisite for carrying on the natural and necessary secretions. At the same time, that in this languid sect. viii.-WHY THINGS NOT DANGEROUS PROinactive state, the nerves are more liable to the most horrid convulsions, than when they are sufficiently braced and strengthened. Melancholy, + A MODE of terrour or pain is always the cause dejection, despair, and often self-murder, is the of the sublime. For terrour, or associated danger, consequence of the gloomy view we take of the foregoing explication is, I believe, sufficient. things in this relaxed state of body. The best It will require something more trouble to shew, remedy for all these evils is exercise or labour; that such examples as I have given of the sublime and labour is a surmounting of difficulties, an ex- in the second part are capable of producing a ertion of the contracting power of the muscles; mode of pain, and of being thus allied to terrour, and as such resembles pain, which consists in ten- and to be accounted for on the same principles. sion or contraction, in every thing but degree. And first of such objects as are great in their diLabour is not only requisite to preserve the coarser mensions. I speak of visual objects. organs in a state fit for their functions; but it is equally necessary to these finer and more delicate organs, on which, and by which, the imagination and perhaps the other mental powers act. Since it is probable, that not only the inferiour parts of Vision is performed by having a picture, formthe soul, as the passions are called, but the un- ed by the rays of light which are reflected from derstanding itself, makes use of some fine corporeal the object, painted in one piece, instantaneously, instruments in its operation ; though what they on the retina, or last nervous part of the eye. Or, are, and where they are, may be somewhat hard according to others, there is but one point of any to settle: but that it does make use of such, ap- object painted on the eye in such a manner as to pears from hence ; that a long exercise of the be perceived at once; but by moving the eye, we mental powers induces a remarkable lassitude of gather up, with great celerity, the several parts of the whole body; and on the other hand, that the object, so as to form one uniform piece. If great bodily labour, or pain, weakens and some- the former opinion be allowed, it will be considerlimes actually destroys the mental faculties. Now, ed, I that though all the light reflected from a as a due exercise is essential to the coarse muscu- large body should strike the eye in one instant ; lar parts of the constitution, and that without this yet we must suppose that the body itself is formed rousing they would become languid and diseased, of a vast number of distinct points, every one of the very same rule holds with regard to those finer which, or the ray from every one, makes an im• Part II. sect. 2
DUCE A PASSION LIKE TERROUR.
SECT. IX.-WHY VISUAL OBJECTS OF GREAT DI
MENSIONS ARE SUBLIME.
1 Part I. sect. 7. Part II. sect. 2.
Part II. sect. 7.