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become pleafing in harmony: let me
add, alfo, that it awakens fome paffions
which we perceive not in ordinary life.
Particularly the most elevated fenfation of
mufic arifes from a confufed perception of
ideal or vifionary beauty and rapture,
which is fufficiently perceivable to fire the
imagination, but not clear enough to be-
come an object of knowledge. This fha
dowy beauty the mind attempts, with
a languifhing curiofity, to collect into a
diftinct object of view and comprehen-
fion; but it finks and efcapes, like the
diffolving ideas of a delightful dream,
that are neither within the reach of the
memory, nor yet totally fled. The no-
bleft charm of mufic then, though real
and affecting, feems too confufed and
fluid to be collected into a distinct idea.
Harmony is always understood by the
crowd, and almost always mistaken by mu-
ficians; who are, with hardly any excep-
tion, fervile followers of the tafte of mode,
and who having expended much time and
pains on the mechanic and practical part,
lay a ftrefs on the dexterities of hand,
which yet have no real value, but as they
ferve to produce thofe collections of found
that move the paffions. The prefent Ita-
lian tafte for mufic is exactly correfpon-
dent to the taste of tragi-comedy, that
about a century ago gained ground upon
the ftage.
The muficians of the prefent
day are charmed at the union they form
between the grave and the fantaftic, and at
the furprifing tranfitions they make between
extremes, while every hearer who has the
leaft remainder of the taste of nature left,
is fhocked at the ftrange jargon. If the
fame tafte fhould prevail in painting, we
muft foon expect to fee the woman's head,
a horfe's body, and a fifh's tail, united
by foft gradations, greatly admired at
our public exhibitions. Mufical gentle-
men should take particular care to preferve
in its full vigour and fenfibility their ori-
ginal natural tafte, which alone feels and
discovers the true beauty of music.

If Milton, Shakespeare, or Dryden, had been born with the fame genius and infpiration for mufic as for poetry, and had paffed through the practical part without corrupting the natural tafte, or blending with it a prepoffeffion in favour of the flights and dexterities of hand, then would their notes be tuned to paffions and, to fentiments as natural and expreffive as the tones and modulations of the voice in difcourfe. The mufic and the thought

would not make different expreffions:
the hearers would only think impetuously;
and the effect of the mufic would be to
give the ideas a tumultuous violence and
divine impulfe upon the mind. Any per-
fon converfant with the claffic poets, fees
inftantly that the paffionate power of mufic
1 fpeak of, was perfectly understood and
practifed by the ancients; that the mufes
of the Greeks always fung, and their fong
was the echo of the fubject, which swelled
their poetry into enthusiasm and rapture.
An enquiry into the nature and merits of
the ancient mufic, and a comparison
thereof with modern compofition, by a
perfon of poetic genius and an admirer of
harmony, who is free from the shackles of
practice, and the prejudices of the mode,
aided by the countenance of a few men of
rank, of elevated and true tafte, would
probably lay the prefent half-Gothic mode
of mufic in ruins, like thofe towers of
whofe little laboured ornaments it is an
exact picture, and restore the Grecian
tafte of paffionate harmony once more,
to the delight and wonder of mankind.
But as from the difpofition of things, and
the force of fashion, we cannot hope in
our time to rescue the facred lyre, and fee
it put into the hands of men of genius, I
can only recall you to your own natural
feeling of harmony, and obferve to you,
that its emotions are not found in the la
boured, fantastic, and furprising compofi-
tions that form the modern ftyle of mufic;
but you meet them in fome few pieces
that are the growth of wild unvitiated
tafte; you difcover them in the fwelling
founds that wrap us in imaginary gran-
deur; in thofe plaintive notes that make
us in love with woe; in the tones that
utter the lover's fighs, and fluctuate the
breath with gentle pain; in the noble
ftrokes that coil up the courage and fury
of the foul, or that lull it in confused
vifions of joy in short, in thofe affecting
ftrains that find their way to the inward
receffes of the heart:

Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden foul of harmony. MILTON.

$222. On Sculpture and Painting. dard in nature; and their principles differ Sculpture and painting have their fanonly according to the different materials made ufe of in thefe arts. The variety of his colours, and the flat furface on which the painter is at liberty to raife his magic


objects, give him a vaft fcope for ornament, variety, harmony of parts, and oppofition, to please the mind, and divert it from too ftrict an examination. The fculptor, being fo much confined, has nothing to move with but beauty, paffion, and force of attitude; fculpture therefore admits of no mediocrity; its works are either intolerable, or very fine. In Greece, the finishing of a fingle ftatue was often the work of many years.

Sculpture and painting take their merit from the fame fpirit that poetry does; a juftnefs, a grandeur, and force of expreffion: and their principal objects are, the fublime, the beautiful, and the paffionate. Painting, on account of its great latitude, approaches also very near to the variety of poctry; in general their principles vary only according to the different materials

of each.

Poetry is capable of taking a feries of fucceffive facts, which comprehend a whole action from the beginning. It puts the pations in motion gradually, and winds them up by fucceffive efforts, that all conduce to the intended effect; the mind could never be agitated fo violently, if the ftorm had not come on by degrees: befides, language, by its capacity of reprefenting thoughts, of forming the communication of mind with mind, and defcribing emotions, takes in feveral great, awful, and paffionate ideas that colours cannot reprefent; but the painter is confined to objects of vision, and to one point or inflant of time and is not to bring into view any events which did not, or at leaft might not happen, at one and the fame inftant. The chief art of the hiftory painter, is to hit upon a point of time, that unites the whole fucceffive action in one view, and ftrikes out the emotion you are defirous of raifing. Some painters have had the power of preferving the traces of a receding paffion, or the mixed difturbed emotions of the mind, without impairing the principal paffion. The Medea of Timomachus was a miracle of this kind; her wild love, her rage, and her maternal pity were all poured forth to the eye, in one portrait. From this mixture of paffions, which is in nature, the murderefs appeared dreadfully affect ing.

It is very neceffary, for the union of defign in painting, that one principal figure appear eminently in view, and that all the relt be fubordinate to it; that is,

the paffion or attention of that principal object thould give a caft to the whole piece: for inftance, if it be a wrestler, or a courfer in the race, the whole scene fhould not only be active, but the attentions and paffions of the rest of the figures fhould all be directed by that object. If it be a fisherman over the ftream, the whole fcene must be filent and meditative; if ruins, a bridge, or waterfall, even the living perfons must be fubordinate, and the traveller fhould gaze and look back with wonder. This strict union and concord is rather more neceffary in painting than in poetry: the reafon is, painting is almoft palpably a deception, and requires the utmost kill in felecting a vicinity of probable ideas, to give it the air of reality and nature. For this reafon alfo nothing ftrange, wonderful, or fhocking to credulity, ought to be admitted in paintings that are defigned after real life.

The principal art of the landscape painter lies in felecting thofe objects of view that are beautiful or great, provided there be a propriety and a juft neighbourhood preferved in the affemblage, along with a carclefs diftribution that folicits your eye to the principal object where it refts; in giving fuch a glance or confufed view of thofe that retire out of profpect, as to raise curiofity, and create in the imagination affecting ideas that do not appear; and in beftowing as much life and action as poffible, without overcharging the piece. A landscape is enlivened by putting the animated figures into action; by flinging over it the chearful afpect which the fun beftows, either by a proper difpofition of fhade, or by the appearances that beautify his rifing or fetting; and by a judicious profpect of water, which always conveys the ideas of motion: a few difhevelled clouds have the fame effect, but with fomewhat lefs vivacity,

The excellence of portrait-painting and fculpture fprings from the fame principles that affect us in life; they are not the perfons who perform at a comedy or tragedy we go to fee with fo much pleafure, but the pafiions and emotions they difplay: in like manner, the value of ftatues and pictures rifes in proportion to the ftrength and clearness of the expreflion of the paffions, and to the peculiar and diftinguishing air of character. Great painters almoft always chufe a fine face to exhibit the paf- · fions in. If you recollect what I faid on beauty, you will eafily conceive the reason

E e 2


why the agreeable paffions are moft lively in a beautiful face; beauty is the natural vehicle of the agreeable paffions. For the fame reafon the tempeftuous paffions appear strongest in a fine face; it fuffers the moft violent derangement by them. To which we may add, upon the fame principle, that dignity or courage cannot be mixed in a very ill-favoured countenance; and that the painter, after exerting his whole skill, finds in their stead pride and terror. These obfervations, which have been often made, ferve to illuftrate our thoughts on beauty. Befides the ftrict propriety of nature, fculpture and figure-painting is a kind of defcription, which, like poetry, is under the direction of genius; that, while it preferves nature, fometimes, in a fine flight of fancy, throws an ideal fplendor over the figures that never exifted in real life. Such is the fublime and celeftial character that breathes over the Apollo Belvedere, and the inexpreffible beauties that dwell upon the Venus of Medici, and feem to fhed an illumination around her. This fuperior beauty must be varied with propriety, as well as the paffions; the elegance of Juno mult be decent, lofty, and elated; of Minerva, mafculine, confident, and chafte; and of Venus, winning, foft, and confcious of pleafing. Thefe filter arts, painting and ftatuary, as well as poetry, put it out of all doubt, that the imagination carries the ideas of the beautiful and the fublime far beyond vifible nature; fince no mortal ever poffeffed the blaze of divine charms that furrounds the Apollo Belvedere, or the Venus of Medici, I have juft mentioned.

A variety and flush of colouring is generally the refuge of painters, who are not able to animate their defigns. We may call a luftre of colouring, the rant and fuitian of painting, under which are hid the want of ftrength and nature. None but a painter of real genius can be fevere and modeft in his colouring, and please at the fame time. It must be obferved, that the glow and variety of colours give a pleafure of a very different kind from the object of painting. When foreign ornaments, gilding, and carving come to be confidered as neceffary to the beauty of pictures, they are a plain diagnostic of a decay in tafte and



$223. On Architecture. A free and easy proportion, united with fimplicity, feem to conftitute the elegance

of form in building. A fubordination of parts to one evident defign forms fimplicity; when the members thus evidently related are great, the union is always very great. In the proportions of a noble edifice, you fee the image of a creating mind refult from the whole. The evident uniformity of the rotunda, and its unparalleled fimplicity, are probably the fources of its fuperior beauty. When we look up at a vaulted roof, that feems to rest upon our horizon, we are aftonished at the magnificence, more than at the vifible extent.

When I am taking a review of the objects of beauty and grandeur, can I pafs by unnoticed the fource of colours and vi fible beauty? When the light is withdrawn all nature retires from view, visible bodies are annihilated, and the foul mourns the univerfal abfence in folitude; when it returns, it brings along with it the creation, and reflores joy as well as beauty.


§ 224. Thoughts on Colours and Light.

If I should diftinguish the perceptions of the fenfes from each other, according to the ftrength of the traces left on the imagination, I fhould call thofe of hearing, feeling, fmelling, and tasting, notions, which imprefs the memory but weakly; while thofe of colours I should call ideas, to denote their strength and peculiar clearness upon the imagination. This distinction deferves particular notice. The author of nature has drawn an impenetrable veil over the fixed material world that surrounds us: folid matter refufes our acquaintance, and will be known to us only by refifting the touch; but how obfcure are the informations of feeling light comes like an intimate acquaintance to relieve us; it introduces all nature to us, the fields, the trees, the flowers, the crystal streams, and azure fky. But all this beauteous diverfity is no more than an agreeable enchantment formed by the light that spreads itself to view; the fixed parts of nature are eternally entombed beneath the light, and we fee nothing in fact but a creation of colours. Schoolmen, with their dual arrogance, will tell you their ideas are tranfcripts of nature, and affure you that the veracity of God requires they fhould be fo, because we cannot well avoid thinking fo: but nothing is an object of vifion but light, the picture we fee is not annexed to the earth, but comes with angelic celerity to meet our eyes. That which is called body or fub


ftance, that reflects the various colours of the light, and lies hid beneath the appearance, is wrapt in impenetrable obfcurity; it is fatally fhut out from our eyes and imagination, and only caufes in us the ideas of feeling, tafting, or fmelling, which yet are not refemblances of any part of matter. I do not know if I appear too ftrong when I call colours the expreffion of the Divinity. Light ftrikes with fuch vivacity and force, that we can hardly call it inanimate or unintelligent.


$ 225. On Uniformity. Shall we admit uniformity into our lift of beauty, or firft examine its real merits? When we look into the works of nature, we cannot avoid obferving that uniformity is but the beauty of minute objects. The oppofite fides of a leaf divided in the middle, and the leaves of the fame fpecies of vegetables, retain a ftriking uniformity; but the branch, the tree, and forest, defert this fimilarity, and take a noble irregularity with vaft advantage. Cut a tree into a regular form, and you change its lofty port for a minute prettiness. What forms the beauty of country fcenes, but the want of uniformity? No two hills, vales, rivers, or profpects, are alike; and you are charmed by the variety. Let us now fuppofe a country made up of the most beautiful hills and defcents imaginable, but every hill and every vale alike, and at an equal distance; they foon tire you, and you find the delight vanishes with the novelty.

There are, I own, certain affemblages that form a powerful beauty by their union, of which a fine face is inconteftible evidence. But the charm does not feem by any means to refide in the uniformity, which in the human countenance is not very exact. The human countenance may be planned out much more regularly, but I fancy without adding to the beauty, for which we must feek another fource. In truth, the finest eye in the world without meaning, and the finest mouth without a fmile, are infipid. An agreeable countenance includes in the idea thereof an agreeable and gentle difpofition. How the countenance, and an arrangement of colours and features, can exprefs the idea of an unfeen mind, we know not; but fo the fact is, and to this fine intelligent picture, whether it be falfe or true, certain I am, that the beauty of the human countenance is owing, more than to uniformity. Shall we then lay, that the greatest uniformity, along

with the greatest variety, forms beauty? But this is a repetition of words without diftinct ideas, and explicates a well-known effect by an obfcure caufe. Uniformity, as far as it extends, excludes variety; and variety, as far as it reaches, excludes uniformity. Variety is by far more pleasing than uniformity, but it does not conftitute beauty; for it is imposible that can be called beauty, which, when well known, ceafes to pleafe: whereas a fine piece of mufic fhall charm after being heard a hundred times; and a lovely countenance makes a ftronger impreffion on the mind by being often feen, because there beauty is real. I think we may, upon the whole, conclude, that if uniformity be a beauty, it is but the beauty of minute objects; and that it pleafes only by the vifible defign, and the evident footsteps of intelligence it difcovers. Ibid.

$226. On Novelty.

I must fay fomething of the evanefcent charms of novelty. When our curiofity is excited at the opening of new scenes, our ideas are affecting and beyond life, and we fee objects in a brighter hue than they after appear in. For when curiofity is fated, the objects grow dull, and our ideas fall to their diminutive natural fize. What I have faid may account for the raptured prospect of our youth we fee backward; novelty. always recommends, because expectations of the unknown are ever high; and in youth we have an eternal novelty: unexperienced credulous youth gilds our young ideas, and ever meets a fresh luftre that is not yet allayed by doubts. In age, experience corrects our hopes, and the imagination cools; for this reafon, wisdom and high pleasure do not refide together.

I have obferved through this difcourfe, that the delight we receive from the visible objects of nature, or from the fine arts, may be divided into the conceptions of the fublime, and conceptions of the beautiful. Of the origin of the fublime I fpoke hypothetically, and with diffidence; all we certainly know on this head is, that the fenfations of the fublime we receive from external objects, are attended with obfcure ideas of power and immenfity; the origin of our fenfations of beauty are ftill more unintelligible: however, I think there is fome foundation for claffing the objects of beauty under different heads, by a correfpondence or fimilarity, that may be obferved between feveral particulars. Ibid.


§ 227.

of Beauty.

§ 227. On the Origin of our general Ideas tinued motion, are ever beautiful. The beauty of colours may perhaps be arranged under this head: colours, like notes of mufic, affect the paffions; red incites anger, black to melancholy; white brings a gentle joy to the mind; the fofter colours refresh or relax it. The mixtures and gradations of colours have an effect correfpondent to the transitions and combina tions of founds; but the ftrokes are too tranfient and feeble to become the objects of expreffion.

A full and confiftent evidence of defign, efpecially if the defign be attended with an important effect, gives the idea of beauty: thus a fhip under fail, a greyhound, a wellfhaped horfe, are beautiful, because they display with cafe a great defign. Birds and beafts of prey, completely armed for deftruction, are for the fame reafon beautiful, although objects of terror.

Where different defigns at a fingle view, appear to concur to one effect, the beauty accumulates; as in the Grecian architecture: where different defigns, leading to different effects, unite in the fame whole, they caufe confufion, and diminish the idea of beauty, as in the Gothic buildings. Upon the fame principle, confufion and diforder are ugly or frightful; the figures made by fpilled liquors are always ugly. Regular figures are handfome; and the circular, the moft regular, is the most beautiful. This regulation holds only where the fublime does not enter; for in that cafe the irregularity and careleffnefs add to the ideas of power, and raife in proportion our admiration. The confufion in which we fee the stars scattered over the heavens, and the rude arrangement of mountains, add to their grandeur.

A mixture of the fublime aids exceedingly the idea of beauty, and heightens the horrors of diforder and ugliness. Perfonal beauty is vaftly raifed by a noble air; on the contrary, the diffolution and ruins of a large city, diftrefs the mind proportionally: but while we mourn over great ruins, at the deftruction of our fpecies, we are alfo foothed by the generous commiferation we feel in our own breafts, and therefore ruins give us the fame kind of grateful melancholy we feel at a tragedy. Of all the objects of difcord and confufion, no other is fo fhocking as the human foul in madnefs. When we fee the principle of thought and beauty difordered, the horror is too high, like that of a maffacre committed before our eyes, to fuffer the mind to make any reflex act on the god-like traces of pity that diftinguish our fpecies; and we feel no fenfations but thofe of difmay and


Regular motion and life fhewn in inanimate objects, give us alfo the fecret pleafure we call beauty. Thus waves ipent, and fucceffively breaking upon the fhore, and waving fields of corn and grafs in con

Beauty alfo refults from every difpofition of nature that plainly difcovers her favour and indulgence to us. Thus the fpring feafon, when the weather becomes mi'd, the verdant fields, trees loaded with fruit or covered with fhade, clear fprings, but particularly the human face, where the gentle paffions are delineated, are beyond expreffion beautiful. On the fame principle, inclement wintery fkies, trees ftripped of their verdure, defert barren lands, and above all death, are frightful and fhocking. I must, however, obferve, that I do not by any means fuppofe, that the fenti, ment of beauty arifes from a reflex confiderate act of the mind, upon the obfervation of the defigns of nature or of art; the fentiment of beauty is inftantaneous, and depends upon no prior reflections. All I mean is, that defign and beauty are in an arbitrary manner united together; fo that where we fee the one, whether we reflect on it or no, we perceive the other. I muit further add, that there may be other divifions of beauty easily discoverable, which I have not taken notice of.

The general fenfe of beauty, as well as of grandeur, feems peculiar to man in the creation. The herd in common with him enjoy the gentle breath of fpring; they lie down to repofe on the flowery bank, and hear the peaceful humming of the bee; they enjoy the green fields and pallures: but we have reafon to think, that it is man only who fees the image of beauty over the happy profpect, and rejoices at it; that it is hid from the brute creation, and depends not upon fense, but on the intelligent mind.

We have just taken a tranfient view of the principal departments of taile; let us now, madam, make a few general reflec, tions upon our subject, Uiber.

$228. Senfe, Tafte, and Genius diftinguished

The human genius, with the best affiftance, and the finest examples, breaks forth


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