Slike strani

not old enough to enjoy only the recollections of their youth, think the prevailing fashions becoming and graceful, and the fashions of twenty or twenty-five years old intolerably ugly and ridiculous. It is plain, then, that there is, in the general case, no intrinsic beauty or deformity in any of those fashions; and that the forms, and colors, and materials, that are, we may say, universally and very strongly felt to be beautiful while they are in fashion, are sure to lose all their beauty as soon as the fashion has passed away.

Hitherto we have spoken of the beauty of external objects ouly. But the whole difficulty of the theory consists in its application to them. If that be once adjusted, the beauty of immaterial objects can occasion no perplexity. Poems and other compositions in words, are beautiful in proportion as they are conversant with beautiful objects—or, as they suggest to us, in a more direct way, the moral and social emotions on which the beauty of all objects depends. Theorems and demonstrations again are beautiful, according as they excite in us emotions of adm on for the genius and intellectual power of their inventors, and images of the magnificent and beneficial ends to which such discoveries may be applied ;and mechanical contrivances are beautiful when they remind us of similar talents and ingenuity, and at the same time impress us with a more direct sense of their vast utility to mankind, and of the great additional conveniences with which life is consequently adorned. In all cases, therefore, there is the suggestion of some interesting conception or emotion associated with a present perception, in which it is apparently confounded and embodied-and this, according to the whole of the preceding deduction, is the distinguishing characteristic of Beauty.

Necessary consequences of the adoption of this Theory.

(1.) We conceive that it establishes the substantial identity of the Sublime, the Beautiful, and the Picturesque; and consequently puts an end to all controversy that is not purely verbal, as to the difference of these several qualities. Every material object that interests us, without actually burting or gratifying our bodily feelings, must do so, according to this theory, in one and the same manner,—that is, by suggesting or recalling some emotion or affection of ourselves, or some other sentient being, and presenting, to our imagination at least, some natural object of love, pity, admiration, or awe. Thongh material objects have but one means of exciting emotion, the emotions they do excite are infinite. They are mirrors that may reflect all shades and all colors; and, in point of fact, do seldom reflect the same hues twice. Notwo interesting objects, perhaps, whether known by the name of Beautiful, Sublime, or Picturesque, ever produced exactly the same emotion in the beholder; and no one object, it is most probable, ever moved any two persons to the very same conceptions.

208. Varying judgments on successive fashions of dress.-Remarks on the beauty of im. material objects.—Two consequences resulting from this theory.

(2.) Our theory seems calculated to put an end to all the perplexing questions about the Standard of Taste. If things are not beautiful in themselves, but only as they serve to suggest interesting conceptions to the mind, then every thing which does in point of fact suy. gest such a conception to any individual, is beautiful to that individual ; and it is not only quite true that there is no room for disputing about tastes, but that all tastes are equally just and correct, in so far as each individual speaks his own emotions. What a man feels distinctly to be beautiful, is beautiful to him, whatever other people may think of it. All this follows clearly from the theory now in question; but it does not follow from it that all tastes are equally good, or desirable, or that there is any difficulty in describing that which is really the best, and the most to be envied. The only use of the faculty of Taste, is to afford an innocent delight, and to assist in the cultivation of a finer morality; and that man certainly will have the most delight from this faculty, who has the most numerous and the most powerful perceptions of Beauty. But, if beauty consist in the reflection of our affections and sympathies, it is plain that he will always see the most beauty whose affections are the warmest and the most exercised--whose imagination is the most powerful, and who has most accustomed himself to attend to the objects by which he is surrounded. The best taste, therefore, must be that which belongs to the best affections, the most active fancy, and the most attentive habits of observation. It will follow pretty exactly too, that all men's perceptions of beauty will be nearly in proportion to the degree of their sensibility and social sympathies; and that those who have no affections towards sentient beings, will be as certainly insensible to beauty in external objects, as he who cannot hear the sound of his friend's voice, must be deaf to its echo.

If, however, we aspire to be creators as well as observers of Beauty, and place any part of our happiness in ministering to the gratification of others—as artists, or poets, or authors of any sort,—then a more laborious system of cultivation will be necessary. We must be cautious to employ only such objects as are the natural signs, or the inseparable concomitants of emotions of which the greater part of mankind are susceptible ; and our taste will then deserve to be called bad or false, if we intrude upon the public as beautiful, objects that are not likely to be associated in common minds with any

interesting impressions. As all men must have some peculiar associations, all men must have some peculiar notions of beauty, and, of course, to a certain extent, a taste that the public would be entitled to consider as false or vitiated.

[Notwithstanding all that is here said about the Standard of Taste, it is thought best, for the sake of those who may not adopt Lord Jeffrey's Theory, to give, in chap. xxvi., Dr. Blair's views on that subject, being far superior to what Lord Kames bad furnished.Am. Ed.]



209. NATURE hath not more remarkably distinguished us from other animals by an erect posture, than by a capacious and aspiring mind, attaching us to things great and elevated. The ocean, the sky, seize the attention, and make a deep impression; robes of state are made large and full, to draw respect: we admire an elephant for its magnitude, notwithstanding its unwieldiness.

The elevation of an object affects us no less than its magnitude : a high place is chosen for the statue of a deity or hero: a tree growing on the brink of a precipice looks charming when viewed from the plain below: a throne is erected for the chief magistrate; and a chair with a high seat for the president of a court. Among all nations, leaven is placed far above us, hell far below us.

In some objects, greatness and elevation concur to make a complicated impression: the Alps and the Peake of Teneriffe are proper examples; with the following difference, that in the former greatness seems to prevail, elevation in the latter.

210. The emotions raised by great and by elevated objects are clearly distinguishable, not only in internal feeling, but even in their external expressions. A great object makes the spectator endeavor to enlarge his bulk; which is remarkable in plain people who give way to nature without reserve; in describing a great object, they naturally expand themselves by drawing in air with all their force. An elevated object produces a different expression; it makes the spectator stretch upward and stand a-tiptoe.

Great and elevated objects considered with relation to the emotions produced by them, are termed grand and sublime. Grandeur and sublimity have a double signification; they commonly signify the quality or circumstance in objects by which the emotions of grandeur and sublimity are produced; sometimes the emotions themselves.

[The sentiment of the Beautiful, and the sentiment of the Sublime are thus distinguished by Cousin :

“When we have before our eyes an object whose forms are perfectly determined, and the whole easy to embrace, -a beautiful flower, a beautiful statue, an antique temple of moderate size, each of our faculties attaches itself to this object, and rests upon it with unalloyed satisfaction. Our senses easily perceive its details : our reason seizes the happy harmony of all its parts. Should this object

209. How nature has distinguished us from other animals. --The mind affected by the elevation as well as by the magnitude of an object.

disappear, we can distinctly represent it to ourselves, so precise and fixed are its forms. The soul in this contemplation feels again a sweet and tranquil joy, a sort of efflorescence.

Let us consider, on the other hand, an object with vague and indefinite forms, which may nevertheless be very beautiful : the impression which we experience is without doubt a pleasure still, but it is a pleasure of a different order. This object does not call forth all our powers like the first. Reason conceives it, but the senses do not perceive the whole of it, and imagination does not distinctly represent it to itself

. The senses and the imagination try in vain to attain its last limits : our faculties are enlarged, are inflated, thus to speak, in order to embrace it, but it escapes and surpasses them. The pleasure that we feel comes from the very magnitude of the object; but at the same time, this magnitude produces in us I know not what melancholy sentiment, because it is disproportionate to us. At the sight of the starry heavens, of the vast sea, of gigantic mountains, admiration is mingled with sadness. These objects, in reality fiuite, like the world itself, seem to us infinite, in our want of power to comprehend their immensity, and, resembling what is truly without bounds, they awaken in us the idea of the infinite, that idea which at once elevates and confounds our intelligence.”— Lect. vi.]

211. In handling the present subject, it is necessary that the impression made on the mind by the magnitude of an object, abstracting from its other qualities, should be ascertained. And because abstraction is a mental operation of some difficulty, the safest method for judging is, to choose a plain object that is neither beautiful por deformed, if such a one can be found. The plainest that occurs is a huge mass of rubbish, the ruins, perhaps, of some extensive building, or a large heap of stones, such as are collected together for keeping in meniory a battle, or other remarkable event. Such an object, which in miniature would be perfectly indifferent, makes an impression by its magnitude, and appears agreeable. And supposing it so large as to fill the eye, and to prevent the attention from wandering upon other objects, the impression it makes will be so much the deeper.

212. But, though a plain object of that kind be agreeable, it is not termed grand; it is not entitled to that character unless, together with its size, it be possessed of other qualities that contribute to beauty, such as regularity, proportion, order, or color; and according to the number of such qualities combined with magnitude, it is more or less grand. Thus, St. Peter's church at Rome, the great Pyramid of Egypt, the Alps towering above the clouds, a great

2111. Einutions raised by cre:t and by elevated oljects distinguishable.---Double signifi. cation of standeur and sublinity.-llow the beautiful and the sublime are distinguished 211. Impressions made on the mind by the magnilude of an object simply. IllustraLions; those of the plainest sort.

by Cousin.

arm of the sea, and, above all, a clear and serene sky, are grand, because, besides their size, they are beautiful in an eminent degree. On the other hand, an overgrown whiale, having a disagreeable appearance, is not grand. A large building, agreeable by its regularity and proportion, is grand, and yet a much larger building destitute of regularity, has not the least tincture of grandeur. A single regiment in battle array, makes a grand appearance; which the surrounding crowd does not, though perhaps ten for one in number. And a regiment where the men are all in one livery, and the horses of one color, makes a grander appearance, and consequently strikes more terror than where there is confusion of colors and of dress. Thus greatness or magnitude is the circumstance that distinguishes grandeur from beauty : agreeableness is the genus of which beauty and grandeur are species.

213. The emotion of grandeur, duly examined, will be found an additional proof of the foregoing doctrine. That this emotion is pleasant in a high degree, requires no other evidence but once to have seen a grand object; and if an emotion of grandeur be pleasant, its cause or object, as observed above, must infallibly be agreeable in proportion.

The qualities of grandeur and beauty are not more distinct tban the emotions are which these qualities produce in a spectator.* It is observed in the chapter immediately foregoing, that all the various emotions of beauty have one common character, that of sweetness and gayety. The emotion of grandeur has a different character : a large object that is agreeable, occupies the whole attention, and swells the heart into a vivid emotion, which though extr ely pleasant, is rather serious than gay. And this affords a good reason for distinguishing in language these different emotions. The emotions raised by color, by regularity, by proportion, and by order,

* [Definition of terms.-Great simply designates extent; Grand includes likewise the idea of excellence and superiority. A great undertaking characterizes only the extent of the undertaking; a grand undertaking bespeaks its superior excellence.

Grand and SUBLIME are both superior to great ; but the former marks the dimension of greatness; the latter, from the Latin sublimis, designates that of height. A scene may be either grand or sublime : it is grand as it fill: the imagination with its immensity; it is sublime as it elevates the imagination beyond the surrounding and less important objects. There is something grand in the sight of a vast army moving forward as it were by one impulse; there is something peculiarly sublime in the sight of huge mountains and craggy cliffs of ice, shaped into various fantastic forms. Grand may be said either of the works of art or nature. The Egyptian pyramids, or the ocean, are both grand objects ; a tempestuous ocean is a sublime object: Grand is sometimes applied to the mind : sublime is applied both to the thoughts and the expressions. There is a grandeur of conception in the writings of Milton; there is 8 sublimity in the inspired writings, which far surpass all human productions,

Crabb's Synonymes.]

213. What besides magnitude is necessary to make an object grand. Examples. -How grandeur is distinguished from beauty.

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