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instances to shew on what principles they are all itself, it would be subject, at first view, to bur



Smells and Tastes have some share too in ideas of greatness; but it is a small one, weak in its nature, and confined in its operations. I shall only observe, that no smells or tastes can produce a grand sensation, except excessive bitters, and intolerable stenches. It is true, that these affections of the smell and taste, when they are in their full force, and lean directly upon the sensory, are simply painful, and accompanied with no sort of delight; but when they are moderated, as in a description or narrative, they become sources of the sublime, as genuine as any other, and upon the very same principle of a moderated pain. "A cup of bitter"ness;" " to drain the bitter cup of fortune;" "the bitter apples of Sodom;" these are all ideas suitable to a sublime description. Nor is this passage of Virgil without sublimity, where the stench of the vapour in Albunea conspires so happily with the sacred horrour and gloominess of that prophetick forest:

At rex sollicitus monstris oracula Fauni
Fatidici genitoris adit, lucosque sub alta
Consulit Albunea, nemorum quæ maxima sacro
Fonte sonat; sævamque exhalat opaca Mephitim.

In the sixth book, and in a very sublime description, the poisonous exhalation of Acheron is not forgotten, nor does it at all disagree with the other images amongst which it is introduced :

Spelunca alta fuit, vastoque immanis hiatu Scrupea, tuta lacu nigro, nemorumque tenebris; Quam super haud ulla poterant impune volantes Tendere iter pennis: talis sese halitus atris Faucibus effundens supera ad convexa ferebat. Ilave added these examples, because some friends, for whose judgment I have great deference, were of opinion that if the sentiment stood nakedly by

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 in all other instances as well as in those. But it is one of the tests by which the sublimity of an image is to be tried, not whether it becomes mean when associated with mean ideas; but whether, when united with images of an allowed grandeur, the whole composition is supported with dignity. Things which are terrible are always great; but when things possess disagreeable qualities, or such as have indeed some degree of danger, but of a danger easily overcome, they are merely odious; as toads and spiders.


OF Feeling, little more can be said than that the idea of bodily pain, in all the modes and degrees of labour, pain, anguish, torment, is productive of the sublime; and nothing else in this sense can produce it. I need not give here any fresh instances, as those given in the former sections abundantly illustrate a remark that, in reality, wants only an attention to nature, to be made by every body.

Having thus run through the causes of the sublime with reference to all the senses, my first observation (sect. 7.) will be found very nearly true; that the sublime is an idea belonging to selfpreservation; that it is therefore one of the most affecting we have; that its strongest emotion is an emotion of distress; and that no pleasure from a positive cause belongs to it. Numberless examples, besides those mentioned, might be brought in support of these truths, and many perhaps useful consequences drawn from them

Sed fugit interea, fugit irrevocabile tempus,
Singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.



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or those qualities in bodies, by which they cause love, or some passion similar to it. I confine this definition to the merely sensible qualities of things, for the sake of preserving the utmost simplicity in a subject, which must always distract us whenever we take in those various causes of sympathy which attach us to any persons or things from secondary considerations, and not from the direct force which they have merely on being viewed. I likewise distinguish love (by which I mean that satisfaction which arises to the mind upon contemplating any thing beautiful, of whatsoever nature it may be) from desire or lust; which is an energy of the

mind, that hurries us on to the possession of certain objects, that do not affect us as they are beautiful, but by means altogether different. We shall have a strong desire for a woman of no remarkable beauty; whilst the greatest beauty in men, or in other animals, though it causes love, yet excites nothing at all of desire. Which shews that beauty, and the passion caused by beauty, which I call love, is different from desire, though desire may sometimes operate along with it; but it is to this latter that we must attribute those violent and tempestuous passions, and the consequent emotions of the body, which attend what is called love in some of its ordinary acceptations, and not to the effects of beauty merely as it is such.


to mensuration; nor has it any thing to do with calculation and geometry. If it had, we might then point out some certain measures which we could demonstrate to be beautiful, either as simply considered, or as related to others; and we could call in those natural objects, for whose beauty we have no voucher but the sense, to this happy standard, and confirm the voice of our passions by the determination of our reason. But since we have not this help, let us see whether proportion can in any sense be considered as the cause of beauty, as hath been so generally, and by some so confidently, affirmed. If proportion be one of the constituents of beauty, it must derive that power either from some natural properties inherent in certain 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 us 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; or 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 pro-perties 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. 4. 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 different the whole. These relations give an origin to the or opposite measures and relations; or if these 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 chiefly followed, whilst I examined quantity be a fourth, or a fifth, or a sixth, or a into the power of proportion considered as a namoiety 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 rebecause there is nothing to interest the imagina-sults from them. We shall consider this pleasing tion; because the judgment sits free and unbiassed to examine the point. All proportions, every arrangement of quantity, is alike to the understanding, because the same truths result to it from all; from greater, from lesser, from equality and inequality. But surely beauty is no idea belonging

power, as it appears in vegetables, in the inferiour animals, and in man. Turning our eyes to the vegetable creation, we find nothing there so beautiful as flowers; but flowers are almost of every sort of shape, and of every sort of disposition: they are turned and fashioned into an infinite

variety of forms; and from these forms botanists have given them their names, which are almost as various. What proportion do we discover between the stalks and the leaves of flowers, or between the leaves and the pistils? How does the slender stalk of the rose agree with the bulky head under which it bends? but the rose is a beautiful flower; and can we undertake to say that it does not owe a great deal of its beauty even to that disproportion; the rose is a large flower, yet it grows upon a small shrub; the flower of the apple is very small, and grows upon a large tree; yet the rose and the apple blossom are both beautiful, and the plants that bear them are most engagingly attired, notwithstanding this disproportion. What by general consent is allowed to be a more beautiful object than an orange-tree, flourishing at once with its leaves, its blossoms, and its fruit? but it is in vain that we search here for any proportion between the height, the breadth, or any thing else concerning the dimensions of the whole, or concerning the relation of the particular parts to each other. I grant that we may observe, in many flowers, something of a regular figure, and of a 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 rose is even more beautiful before it is full blown ; in the bud; before this exact figure is formed; and this is not the only instance wherein method and exactness, the soul of proportion, are found rather prejudicial than serviceable to the cause of beauty.


THAT proportion has but a small share in the formation of beauty, is full as evident among animals. Here the greatest variety of shapes and dispositions of parts are well fitted to excite this idea. The swan, confessedly a beautiful bird, has a neck longer than the rest of his body, and but a very short tail: is this a beautiful proportion? We must allow that it is. But then what shall we say to the peacock, who has comparatively but a short neck, with a tail longer than the neck and the rest of the body taken together? How many birds are there that vary infinitely from each of these standards, and from every other which you can fix; with proportions different, and often directly opposite to each other! and yet many of these birds are extremely beautiful; when upon considering them we find nothing in any one part that might determine us, a priori, to say what the others ought to be, nor indeed to guess any thing about them, but what experience might shew to be full of disappointment and mistake. And with regard to the colours either of birds or flowers, for there is something similar in the colouring of both, whether they are considered in their extension or gradation, there is nothing of proportion to be



observed. Some are of but one single colour; others have all the colours of the rainbow; some are of the primary colours, others are of the mixt; in short, an attentive observer may soon conclude, that there is as little of proportion in the colouring as in the shapes of these objects. Turn next to beasts; examine the head of a beautiful horse ; find what proportion that bears to his body, and to his limbs, and what relation these have to each other; and when you have settled these proportions as a standard of beauty, then take a dog or cat, or any other animal, and examine how far the same proportions between their heads and their necks, between those and the body, and so on, are found to hold; I think we may safely say, that they differ in every species, yet that there are individuals, found in a great many species so differing, that have a very striking beauty. Now, if it be allowed that very different and even contrary forms and dispositions are consistent with beauty, it amounts I believe to a concession, that no certain measures, operating from a natural principle, are necessary to produce it; at least so far as the brute species is concerned.


THERE are some parts of the human body that are observed to hold certain proportions to each other; but before it can be proved that the efficient cause of beauty lies in these, it must be shewn, that wherever these are found exact, the 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 together. It must be likewise shewn, that these stand in such a relation to each other, that parts the comparison between them may be easily made, and that the affection of the mind may naturally result from it. For my part, I have at several times very carefully examined many of those proportions, and found them hold very nearly, or altogether alike in many subjects, which were not only very different from one another, but where one has been very beautiful, and the other very remote from beauty. With regard to the parts which are found so proportioned, they are often so remote from each other, in situation, nature, and office, that I cannot see how they admit of any comparison, nor consequently how any effect owing to proportion can result from them. The neck, say they, in beautiful bodies, should measure with the calf of the leg; it should likewise be twice the circumference of the wrist. And an infinity of observations of this kind are to be found in the writings and conversations of many. But what relation has the calf of the leg to the neck; or either of these parts to the wrist? These proportions are certainly to be found in handsome bodies. They are as certainly in ugly ones; as any who will take the pains to try may find. Nay, I do not know but they may be least perfect in some of the most beautiful. You may assign any proportions you please to every

part of the human body; and I undertake that a painter shall religiously observe them all, and notwithstanding produce, if he pleases, a very ugly figure. The same painter shall considerably deviate from these proportions, and produce a very beautiful one. And indeed it may be observed in the master-pieces of the ancient and modern statuary, that several of them differ very widely from the proportions of others, in parts very conspicuous and of great consideration; and that they differ no less from the proportions we find in living men, of forms extremely striking and agreeable. And after all, how are the partisans of proportional beauty agreed amongst themselves about the proportions of the human body? Some hold it to be seven heads; some make it eight; whilst others extend it even to ten; a vast difference in such a small number of divisions! Others take other methods of estimating the proportions, and all with equal success. But are these proportions exactly the same in all handsome men? or are they at all the proportions found in beautiful women? Nobody will say that they are; yet both sexes are undoubtedly capable of beauty, and the female of the greatest; which advantage I believe will hardly be attributed to the superiour exactness of proportion in the fair sex. Let us rest a moment on this point; and consider how much difference there is between the measures that prevail in many similar parts of the body, in the two sexes of this single species only. If you assign any determinate proportions to the limbs of a man, and if you limit human beauty to these proportions, when you find a woman who differs in the make and measures of almost every part, you must conclude her not to be beautiful, in spite of the suggestions of your imagination; or, in obedience to your imagination, you must renounce your rules; you must lay by the scale and compass, and look out for some other cause of beauty. For if beauty be attached to certain measures which operate from a principle in nature, why should similar parts with different measures of proportion be found to have beauty, and this too in the very same species? But to open our view a little, it is worth observing, that almost all animals have parts of very much the same nature, and destined nearly to the same purposes; a head, neck, body, feet, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth; yet Providence, to provide in the best manner for their several wants, and to display the riches of his wisdom and goodness in his creation, has worked out of these few and similar organs and members, a diversity hardly short of infinite in their disposition, measures, and relation. But, as we have before observed, amidst this infinite diversity, one particular is common to many species: several of the individuals which compose them are capable of affecting us with a sense of loveliness; and whilst they agree in producing this effect, they differ extremely in the relative measures of those parts which have produced it. These considerations were sufficient to induce me to reject the notion any particular proportions that operated by na

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ture to produce a pleasing effect; but those who will agree with me with regard to a particular proportion, are strongly prepossessed in favour of one more indefinite. They imagine, that although beauty in general is annexed to no certain measures common to the several kinds of pleasing plants and animals; yet that there is a certain proportion in each species absolutely essential to the beauty of that particular kind. If we consider the animal world in general, we find beauty confined to no common measures; but as some peculiar measure and relation of parts is what distinguishes each peculiar class of animals, it must of necessity be, that the beautiful in each kind will be found in the measures and proportions of that kind; for otherwise it would deviate from its proper species, and become in some sort monstrous: however, no species is so strictly confined to any certain proportions, that there is not a considerable variation amongst the individuals; and as it has been shewn of the human, so it may be shewn of the brute kinds, that beauty is found indifferently in all the proportions which each kind can admit, without quitting its common form; and it is this idea of a common form that makes the proportion of parts at all regarded, and not the operation of any natural cause: indeed a little consideration will make it appear, that it is not measure but manner that creates all the beauty which belongs to shape. What lights do we borrow from these boasted proportions, when we study ornamental design? It seems amazing to me, that artists, if they were as well convinced as they pretend to be, that proportion is a principal cause of beauty, have not by them at all times accurate measurements of all sorts of beautiful animals to help them to proper proportions, when they would contrive any thing elegant; especially as they frequently assert that it is from an observation of the beautiful in nature they direct their practice. I know that it has been said long since, and echoed backward and forward from one writer to another a thousand times, that the proportions of building have been taken from those of the human body. To make this forced analogy complete, they represent a man with his arms raised and extended at full length, and then describe a sort of square, as it is formed by passing lines along the extremities of this strange figure. But it appears very clearly to me, that the human figure never supplied the architect with any of his ideas. For in the first place, men are very rarely seen in this strained posture; it is not natural to them; neither is it at all becoming. Secondly, the view of the human figure so disposed, does not naturally suggest the idea of a square, but rather of a cross; as that large space between the arms and the ground must be filled with something before it can make any body think of a square. Thirdly, several buildings are by no means of the form of that particular square, which are notwithstanding planned by the best architects. and produce an effect altogether as good, ani perhaps a better. And certainly nothing could



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, obelisks; they formed their hedges into so many and resembling each other in all respects, and his green 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 surely they are full as little so in the animal as the vegetable world. For is it not extraordinary, that in these fine descriptive pieces, these innumerable odes and elegies which are in the mouths of all the world, and many of which have been the entertainment of ages, that in these pieces which describe love with such a passionate energy, and represent its object in such an infinite variety of lights, not one word is said of proportion, if it be, what some insist it is, the principal component of beauty; whilst, at the same time, several other qualities are very frequently and warmly mentioned? But if proportion has not this power, it may appear odd how men came originally to be 80 prepossessed in its favour. It arose, I imagine, from the fondness I have just mentioned, which men bear so remarkably to their own works and notions; it arose from false reasonings on the effects of the customary figure of animals; it arose from the Platonick theory of fitness and aptitude. For which reason, in the next section, I shall consider the effects of custom in the figure of animals; and afterwards the idea of fitness: since if proportion does not operate by a natural power attend-by ing some measures, it must be either by custom, or the idea of utility; there is no other way.

and if one of a new species were represented, we
should by no means wait until custom had settled
an idea of proportion, before we decided concern-
ing its beauty or ugliness: which shews that the
general idea of beauty can be no more owing to
customary than to natural proportion. Deformity
arises from the want of the common proportions;
but the necessary result of their existence in any
object is not beauty. If we suppose proportion
in natural things to be relative to custom and use,
the nature of use and custom will shew, that
beauty, which is a positive and powerful quality,
cannot result from it. We are so wonderfully
formed, that, whilst we are creatures vehemently
desirous of novelty, we are as strongly attached to
habit and custom. But it is the nature of things
which hold us by custom, to affect us very little
whilst we are in possession of them, but strongly
when they are absent. I remember to have fre-
quented a certain place every day for a long time
together; and I may truly say, that so far from
finding pleasure in it, I was affected with a sort of
weariness and disgust; I came, I went, I returned,
without pleasure; yet if by any means I passed
the usual time of my going thither, I was re-
markably uneasy, and was not quiet till I had got
into my
old track. They who use snuff, take it

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