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SECT. XXI.--SMELL AND TASTE,
instances to shew on what principles they are all | itself, it would be subject, at first view, to burbuilt.
lesque and ridicule; but this I imagine would principally arise from considering the bitterness and stench in company with mean and contemptible ideas, with which it must be owned they are
often united; such an union degrades the sublime Smells and Tastes have some share too in in all other instances as well as in those. But it ideas of greatness; but it is a small one, weak in is one of the tests by which the sublimity of an its nature, and confined in its operations. I shall image is to be tried, not whether it becomes mean only observe, that no smells or tastes can produce when associated with mean ideas; but whether, a grand sensation, except excessive bitters, and when united with images of an allowed grandeur, intolerable stenches. It is true, that these affections the whole composition is supported with dignity. of the smell and taste, when they are in their full Things which are terrible are always great ; but force, and lean directly upon the sensory, are simply when things possess disagreeable qualities, or such painful, and accompanied with no sort of delight; as have indeed some degree of danger, but of a but when they are moderated, as in a description danger easily overcome, they are merely odious ; or narrative, they become sources of the sublime, as toads and spiders. as genuine as any other, and
very same principle of a moderated pain.
SECT. XXII.-FEELING. “ ness;" “ to drain the bitter cup of fortune;" " the bitter apples of Sodom ;” these are all ideas OF Feeling, little more can be said than that suitable to a sublime description. Nor is this the idea of bodily pain, in all the modes and passage of Virgil without sublimity, where the degrees of labour, pain, anguish, torment, is prostench of the vapour in Albunea conspires so ductive of the sublime; and nothing else in this happily with the sacred horrour and gloominess sense can produce it.
I need not give here any of that prophetick forest :
fresh instances, as those given in the former secAt rer sollicitus monstris oracula Fauni
tions abundantly illustrate a remark that, in Fatidici genitoris adit, lucosque sub alta
reality, wants only an attention to nature, to be Consulit Albunea, nemorum quæ marima sacro
made by every body. Fonte sonat ; sævamque exhalat opaca Mephitim. Having thus run through the causes of the In the sixth book, and in a very sublime descrip- sublime with reference to all the senses, my first tion, the poisonous exhalation of Acheron is not observation (sect. 7.) will be found very nearly forrotten, nor does it at all disagree with the true; that the sublime is an idea belonging to selfother images amongst which it is introduced :
preservation; that it is therefore one of the most
affecting we have; that its strongest emotion is an Spelunca alta fuit, vastoque immanis hiatu
emotion of distress; and that no * pleasure from Scrupea, tuta lacu nigro, nemorumque tenebris ; Quam super haud ulla poterant impune volantes
a positive cause belongs to it. Numberless examTende re iter pennis : talis sese halitus atris
ples, besides those mentioned, might be brought Faucibus effundens supera ad convexa ferebat. in support of these truths, and many perhaps I have added these examples, because some friends,
drawn from them-
Singulà dum capti circumvectamur amore.
or those qualities in bodies, by which they cause SECTION 1.-OP BEAUTY.
love, or some passion similar to it. I confine this
definition to the merely sensible qualities of things, It is my design to consider beauty as distin- for the sake of preserving the utmost simplicity in Euished from the sublime; and, in the course of a subject, which must always distract us whenever "ht enquiry, to examine how far it is consistent we take in those various causes of sympathy which with it. But previous to this we must take a attach us to any persons or things from secondary soort review of the opinions already entertained considerations, and not from the direct force which - f this quality; which I think are hardly to be they have merely on being viewed. I likewise asured to any fixed principles; because men are distinguish love (by which I mean that satisfacimed to talk of beauty in a figurative manner, that tion which arises to the mind upon contemplating is to say, in a manner extremely uncertain, and any thing beautiful, of whatsoever nature it may "Geterminate. By beauty I mean that quality be) from desire or lust; which is an energy of the
• Vide Part I. sect. 6.
SECT. II.-PROPORTION NOT THE CAUSE OF
BEAUTY IN VEGETABLES.
mind, that hurries us on to the possession of cer- to mensuration; nor has it any thing to do with tain objects, that do not affect us as they are calculation and geometry. If it had, we might beautiful, but by means altogether different. We then point out some certain measures which we shall have a strong desire for a woman of no re- could demonstrate to be beautiful, either as simply markable beauty; whilst the greatest beauty in considered, or as related to others; and we could men, or in other animals, though it causes love, call in those natural objects, for whose beauty yet excites nothing at all of desire. Which shews we have no voucher but the sense, to this happy that beauty, and the passion caused by beauty, standard, and confirm the voice of our passions by which I call love, is different from desire, though the determination of our reason. But since we have desire may sometimes operate along with it; but not this help, let us see whether proportion can in it is to this latter that we must attribute those any sense be considered as the cause of beauty, as violent and tempestuous passions, and the conse- hath been so generally, and by some so confiquent emotions of the body, which attend what is dently, affirmed. If proportion be one of the consticalled love in some of its ordinary acceptations, tuents of beauty, it must derive that power either and not to the effects of beauty merely as it is from some natural properties inherent in certain such.
measures, which operate mechanically; from the operation of custom; or from the fitness which some measures have to answer some particular ends of conveniency. Our business therefore is to enquire, whether the parts of those objects
, Beauty hath usually been said to consist in which are found beautiful in the vegetable or anicertain proportions of parts. On considering the mal kingdoms, are constantly so formed according matter, I have great reason to doubt, whether to such certain measures, as may serve to satisfy uz beauty be at all an idea belonging to proportion that their beauty results from those measures, on Proportion relates almost wholly to convenience, the principle of a natural mechanical cause ; Qr as every idea of order seems to do; and it must from custom ; or, in fine, from their fitness for any therefore be considered as a creature of the under- determinate purposes. I intend to examine this standing, rather than a primary cause acting on point under each of these heads in their order. the senses and imagination. It is not by the force But before I proceed further, I hope it will not of long attention and enquiry that we find any be thought amiss, if I lay down the rules which object to be beautiful; beauty demands no assist governed me in this enquiry, and which have misled ance from our reasoning; even the will is uncon- me in it, if I have gone astray. 1. If two bodies cerned; the appearance of beauty as effectually produce the same or a similar effect on the mind, causes some degree of love in us, as the application and on examination they are found to agree in of ice or fire produces the ideas of heat or cold. some of their properties, and to differ in others; To gain something like a satisfactory conclusion the common effect is to be attributed to the proin this point, it were well to examine, what properties in which they agree, and not to those in portion is; since several who make use of that which they differ. 2. Not to account for the word do not always seem to understand very effect of a natural object from the effect of an arclearly the force of the term, nor to have very dis- tificial object. 3. Not to account for the effect of tinct ideas concerning the thing itself. Propor- any natural object from a conclusion of our reason tion is the measure of relative quantity. Since concerning its uses, if a natural cause may be asall quantity is divisible, it is evident that every signed. 7. Not to admit any determinate quandistinct part, into which any quantity is divided, tity, or any relation of quantity, as the cause of a must bear some relation to the other parts, or to certain effect, if the effect is produced by differen: the whole. These relations give an origin to the or opposite measures and relations; or if there idea of proportion. They are discovered by men- measures and relations may exist, and yet the suration, and they are the objects of mathematical effect may not be produced. These are the rules enquiry. But whether any part of any determinate which I have chiefy followed, whilst I examined quantity be a fourth, or a fifth, or a sixth, or a into the power of proportion considered as a nainoiety of the whole; or whether it be of equal tural cause; and these, if he thinks them just, ! length with any other part, or double its length, request the reader to carry with him throughout or but one half
, is a matter merely indifferent to the following discussion ; whilst we enquire in the the mind; it stands neuter in the question ; and it first place, in what things we find this quality of is from this absolute indifference and tranquillity beauty; next, to see whether in these we can find of the mind, that mathematical speculations de- any assignable proportions, in such a manner as rive some of their most considerable advantages ; ought to convince us that our idea of beauty Tebecause there is nothing to interest the imagina- sults from them. We shall consider this pleasing tion ; because the judgment sits free and unbiassed power, as it appears in vegetables, in the inferiour to examine the point. All proportions, every animals, and in man. Turning our eyes to the arrangement of quantity, is alike to the under- vegetable creation, we find nothing there so beaustanding, because the same truths result to it from tiful as flowers; but flowers are almost of every all; from greater, from lesser, from equality and sort of shape, and of every sort of disposition : inequality. But surely beauty is no idea belonging they are turned and fashioned into an infinite
SECT. IV.-PROPORTION NOT THE CAUSE OF
BEAUTY IN THE HUMAN SPECIES.
variety of forms; and from these forms botanists observed. Some are of but one single colour; have given them their names, which are almost as others have all the colours of the rainbow; some various. What proportion do we discover between are of the primary colours, others are of the mixt; the stalks and the leaves of flowers, or between the in short, an attentive observer may soon conclude, leaves and the pistils ? How does the slender that there is as little of proportion in the colourstalk of the rose agree with the bulky head under ing as in the shapes of these objects. Turn next which it bends? but the rose is a beautiful flower ; to beasts; examine the head of a beautiful horse; and can we undertake to say that it does not owe find what proportion that bears to his body, and a great deal of its beauty even to that dispropor- to his limbs, and what relation these have to each tion; the rose is a large flower, yet it grows upon other; and when you have settled these propora small shrub; the flower of the apple is very tions as a standard of beauty, then take a dog or small
, and grows upon a large tree; yet the rose cat, or any other animal, and examine how far the and the apple blossom are both beautiful, and the same proportions between their heads and their plants that bear them are most engagingly at- necks, between those and the body, and so on, are tired, notwithstanding this disproportion. What found to hold; I think we may safely say, that by general consent is allowed to be a more beau- they differ in every species, yet that there are tiful object than an orange-tree, flourishing at once individuals, found in a great many species so with its leaves, its blossoms, and its fruit? but it differing, that have a very striking beauty. Now, is in vain that we search here for any proportion if it be allowed that very different and even conbetween the height, the breadth, or any thing else trary forms and dispositions are consistent with concerning the dimensions of the whole, or con- beauty, it amounts I believe to a concession, that cerning the relation of the particular parts to each no certain measures, operating from a natural other. I grant that we may observe, in many principle, are necessary to produce it; at least so flowers, something of a regular figure, and of a far as the brute species is concerned. methodical disposition of the leaves. The rose has such a figure and such a disposition of its petals; but in an oblique view, when this figure is in a good measure lost, and the order of the leaves confounded, it yet retains its beauty ; the There are some parts of the human body that rose is even more beautiful before it is full blown; are observed to hold certain proportions to each in the bud; before this exact figure is formed; other; but before it can be proved that the efand this is not the only instance wherein method ficient cause of beauty lies in these, it must be and exactness, the soul of proportion, are found shewn, that wherever these are found exact, the Father prejudicial than serviceable to the cause of person to whom they belong is beautiful : I mean
in the effect produced on the view, either of any
member distinctly considered, or of the whole body SECT. III.-PROPORTION NOT TIIE CAL'SE OF
together. It must be likewise shewn, that these BEAUTY IN ANIMALS.
parts stand in such a relation to each other, that
the comparison between them may be easily made, Tuat proportion has but a small share in the and that the affection of the mind may naturally formation of beauty, is full as evident among ani- result from it. For my part, I have at several times mals. Here the greatest variety of shapes and very carefully examined many of those proportions, dispositions of parts are well fitted to excite this and found them hold very nearly, or altogether idea. The swan, confessedly a beautiful bird, has alike in many subjects, which were not only very a neck longer than the rest of his body, and but a different from one another, but where one has been very short tail : is this a beautiful proportion? We very beautiful, and the other very remote from nust allow that it is. But then what shall we say beauty. With regard to the parts which are found to the peacock, who has comparatively but a short so proportioned, they are often so remote from Deck, with a tail longer than the neck and the rest each other, in situation, nature, and office, that of the body taken together? How many birds are I cannot see how they admit of any comparison, there that vary infinitely from each of these stand- nor consequently how any effect owing to proporards, and from every other which you can fix; tion can result from them. The neck, say they, with proportions different, and often directly op- in beautiful bodies, should measure with the calf pusite to each other! and yet many of these birds of the leg; it should likewise be twice the circumare extremely beautiful; when upon considering ference of the wrist. And an infinity of observathem we find nothing in any one part that might tions of this kind are to be found in the writings determine us, a priori, to say what the others and conversations of many. But what relation has sught to be, nor indeed to guess any thing about the calf of the leg to the neck; or either of these thera, but what experience might shew to be full parts to the wrist ? These proportions are cerof disappointment and mistake. And with regard tainly to be found in handsome bodies. They are ?o the colours either of birds or flowers, for there as certainly in ugly ones; as any who will take the is something similar in the colouring of both, pains to try may find. Nay, I do not know but they whether they are considered in their extension or may be least perfect in some of the most beautiful. gradation, there is nothing of proportion to be You may assign any proportions you please to every
part of the human body; and I undertake that a ture to produce a pleasing effect; but those who painter shall religiously observe them all, and not will agree with me with regard to a particular prowithstanding produce, if he pleases, a very ugly portion, are strongly prepossessed in favour of one figure. The same painter shall considerably deviate more indefinite. They imagine, that although from these proportions, and produce a very beau- beauty in general is annexed to no certain
And indeed it may be observed in the measures common to the several kinds of pleasing master-pieces of the ancient and modern statuary, plants and animals; yet that there is a certain that several of them differ very widely from the proportion in each species absolutely essential to proportions of others, in parts very conspicuous the beauty of that particular kind.' If we conand of great consideration ; and that they differ sider the animal world in general, we find beauty no less from the proportions we find in living men, confined to no common measures; but as some of forms extremely striking and agreeable. And peculiar measure and relation of parts is what disafter all, how are the partisans of proportional tinguishes each peculiar class of animals, it must beauty agreed amongst themselves about the pro- of necessity be, that the beautiful in each kind portions of the human body ? Some hold it to be will be found in the measures and proportions of seven heads ; some make it eight; whilst others that kind; for otherwise it would deviate from its extend it even to ten; a vast difference in such a proper species, and become in some sort monsmall number of divisions ! Others take other strous : however, no species is so strictly confined methods of estimating the proportions, and all with to any certain proportions, that there is not a conequal success. But are these proportions exactly siderable variation amongst the individuals ; and the same in all handsome men? or are they at all as it has been shewn of the human, so it may be the proportions found in beautiful women? Nobody shewn of the brute kinds, that beauty is found inwill say that they are ; yet both sexes are un- differently in all the proportions which each kind doubtedly capable of beauty, and the female of the can admit, without quitting its common form ; greatest; which advantage I believe will hardly be and it is this idea of a common form that makes attributed to the superiour exactness of proportion the proportion of parts at all regarded, and not in the fair sex. Let us rest a moment on this the operation of any natural cause : indeed a little point; and consider how much difference there is consideration will make it appear, that it is nul between the measures that prevail in many similar measure but manner that creates all the beauty parts of the body, in the two sexes of this single which belongs to shape. What lights do we borspecies only. If you assign any determinate pro- row from these boasted proportions, when we portions to the limbs of a man, and if you limit study ornamental design ? It seems amazing to human beauty to these proportions, when you find me, that artists, if they were as well convinced as a woman who differs in the make and measures they pretend to be, that proportion is a principal of almost every part, you must conclude her not cause of beauty, have not by them at all times to be beautiful, in spite of the suggestions of your accurate measurements of all sorts of beautiful imagination ; or, in obedience to your imagina- animals to help them to proper proportions, whea tion, you must renounce your rules; you must they would contrive any thing elegant; especially lay by the scale and compass, and look out for as they frequently assert that it is from an obsersome other cause of beauty. For if beauty be vation of the beautiful in nature they direct their attached to certain measures which operate from a practice. I know that it has been said long since, principle in nature, why should similar parts with and echoed backward and forward from one different measures of proportion be found to have writer to another a thousand times, that the probeauty, and this too in the very same species ? portions of building have been taken from those But to open our view a little, it is worth observ- of the human body. To make this forced anaing, that almost all animals have parts of very logy complete, they represent a man with his arms much the same nature, and destined nearly to the raised and extended at full length, and then same purposes; a head, neck, body, feet, eyes, describe a sort of square, as it is formed by passing ears, nose, and mouth; yet Providence, to pro- lines along the extremities of this strange figure. vide in the best manner for their several wants, But it appears very clearly to me, that the human and to display the riches of his wisdom and good- figure never supplied the architect with any of his ness in his creation, has worked out of these few ideas. For in the first place, men are very rareis and similar organs and members, a diversity seen in this strained posture; it is not natural to hardly short of infinite in their disposition, mea- them; neither is it at all becoming. Secondls, sures, and relation. But, as we have before ob- the view of the human figure so disposed, does served, amidst this infinite diversity, one particular not naturally suggest the idea of a square, but is common to many species : several of the indi- rather of a cross; as that large space between the viduals which compose them are capable of af- arms and the ground must be filled with somefecting us with a sense of loveliness; and whilst thing before it can make any body think of they agree in producing this effect, they differ square. Thirdly, several buildings are by na extremely in the relative measures of those parts means of the form of that particular square, whic which have produced it. These considerations are notwithstanding planned by the best architects, were sufficient to induce me to reject the notion and produce an effect altogether as good, anıt of any particular proportions that operated by na- perhaps a better. And certainly nothing could
V.-- PROPORTION FURTHER CONSIDERED.
be more unaccountably whimsical, than for an architect to model his performance by the human figure, since no two things can have less resemblance or analogy, than a man,
and a house If I am not mistaken, a great deal of the preor temple: do we need to observe, that their pur- judice in favour of proportion has arisen, not so poses are entirely different? What I am apt to much from the observation of any certain measures suspect.is this : that these analogies were devised | found in beautiful bodies, as from a wrong idea to give a credit to the works of art, by shewing a of the relation which deformity bears to beauty, conformity between them and the noblest works to which it has been considered as the opposite; in nature; not that the latter served at all to on this principle it was concluded, that where the supply hints for the perfection of the former. And causes of deformity were removed, beauty must I am the more fully convinced, that the patrons naturally and necessarily be introduced. This of proportion have transferred their artificial ideas I believe is a mistake. For deformity is opposed to nature, and not borrowed from thence the not to beauty, but to the complete common form. proportions they use in works of art; because in If one of the legs of a man be found shorter any discussion of this subject they always quit as than the other, the man is deformed; because soon as possible the open field of natural beauties, there is something wanting to complete the whole the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and fortify idea we form of a man; and this has the same themselves within the artificial lines and angles of effect in natural faults, as maiming and mutilaarchitecture. For there is in mankind an unfor- tion produce from accidents. So if the back be tunate propensity to make themselves, their views, humped, the man is deformed; because his back and their works, the measure of excellence in has an unusual figure, and what carries with it every thing whatsoever. Therefore having ob- the idea of some disease or misfortune ; so if a served that their dwellings were most commodious man's neck be considerably longer or shorter than and firm when they were thrown into regular usual, we say he is deformed in that part, because figures, with parts answerable to each other; they men are not commonly made in that manner. But transferred these ideas to their gardens ; they surely every hour's experience may convince us, turned their trees into pillars, pyramids, and that a man may have his legs of an equal length, ubelisks; they formed their hedges into so many and resembling each other in all respects, and his zreen walls, and fashioned their walks into squares, neck of a just size, and his back quite straight, withtriangles, and other mathematical figures, with out having at the same time the least perceivable exactness and symmetry; and they thought, if beauty. Indeed beauty is so far from belonging they were not imitating, they were at least im- to the idea of custom, that in reality what affects proving nature, and teaching her to know her us in that manner is extremely rare and uncombusiness. But nature has at last escaped from their mon. The beautiful strikes us as much by its discipline and their fetters; and our gardens, if novelty as the deformed itself. It is thus in those nothing else, declare we begin to feel that mathe- species of animals with which we are acquainted ; matical ideas are not the true measures of beauty. and if one of a new species were represented, we And surely they are full as little so in the animal should by no means wait until custom had settled as the vegetable world. For is it not extraordi- an idea of proportion, before we decided concernnary, that in these fine descriptive pieces, these ing its beauty or ugliness : which shews that the innumerable odes and elegies which are in the general idea of beauty can be no more owing to trouths of all the world, and many of which have customary than to natural proportion. Deformity been the entertainment of ages, that in these pieces arises from the want of the common proportions; which describe love with such a passionate energy, but the necessary result of their existence in any and represent its object in such an infinite variety object is not beauty. If we suppose proportion of lights, not one word is said of proportion, if it in natural things to be relative to custom and use, be, what some insist it is, the principal component the nature of use and custom will shew, that of beauty; whilst, at the same time, several other beauty, which is a positive and powerful quality, qualities are very frequently and warmly men- cannot result from it. We are so wonderfully tioned? But if proportion has not this power, it formed, that, whilst we are creatures vehemently may appear odd how men came originally to be desirous of novelty, we are as strongly attached to 30 prepossessed in its favour. It arose, I imagine, habit and custom. But it is the nature of things from the fondness I have just mentioned, which which hold us by custom, to affect us very little men bear so remarkably to their own works and whilst we are in possession of them, but strongly notions; it arose from false reasonings on the when they are absent. I remember to have freeffects of the customary figure of animals; it arose quented a certain place every day for a long time from the Platonick theory of fitness and aptitude. together; and I may truly say, that so far from For which reason, in the next section, I shall con- finding pleasure in it, I was affected with a sort of sider the effects of custom in the figure of animals; weariness and disgust; I came, I went, I returned, and afterwards the idea of fitness : since if propor- without pleasure; yet if by any means I passed tion does not operate by a natural power attend by the usual time of my going thither, I was reing some measures, it must be either by custom, markably uneasy, and was not quiet till I had got of the idea of utility; there is no other way. into my old track. They who use snuff, take it