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Lect. X. In these two preceding parts of this course, therefore, those things have been considered which are more peculiarly the proper objects of an orator, and esential to his views. In what remains will be explained what is, though very greatly, yet indirectly of service to him, and an advantage rather than a necessary part of his art. This thought, by the way, suggests an important advice, with which I shall conclude this part.
Let the first, and principal view of every orator, whether in writing or speaking, be to inform the judgment, and thereby dire&t the practice; and let him only attempt to please, or affet, when it is subfervient to that design ; when the occasion itself, in a manner, prompts to it, and the bent of his own genius leads him to comply with such an invitation.
Of TASTE, and the Nature of FIGURATIVE LAN
the covering of this body, to describe the external lineaments, the colour, the complexion, and graceful attitudes of it.
In treating of this part of my subject, I shall endeavour to lay open the sources of all the pleasures we receive from this most refined art, explaining what are the properties or principles, in our frame which lay the mind open to its influences, as well as describe the various forms of expression which are found, by experience, to affect our minds in so agreeable a manner, and give examples of such forms of expression.
Whatever contributes to adorn a discourse, must either give life and beauty to the sentiment, or harmony to the di&tion. I shall consider each of these in their order. By ornament of thoughts, I mean that manner of introducing and presenting them to the mind which will give them the most favourable appearance. This, therefore, comprehends all the pleasures which may be said to be perceived by the mind; whereas, when I treat of the ornament of diction, I shall consider the language as affecting the ear only.
Whatever it be, in the sentiment or ideas, that makes a discourse to be read with pleasure, must either be interesting, by exciting those gross and more sensible feelings we call passions, or muft awaken those more delicate sensations, which are generally called the pleasures of the imagination. Each of these kinds of feelings are, by some philo
sophers, sophers, referred to so many distinct reflex, or internal senses, as they call those faculties of the mind by which we perceive them ; whereas, according to Dr. Hartley's theory, those sensations consist of nothing more than a congeries or combination of ideas and sensations, separately indistinguishable, but which were formerly associated either with the idea itself that excites them, or with some other idea, or circumstance, attending the introduction of them. It is this latter hypothesis that I adopt, and, by the help of it, I hope to be able to throw some new light on this curious subject.
An enumeration of the stronger pasions of the human mind, which are roused by the powers of oratory, and the art of composition, I regard as foreign to my undertaking to attempt: but it may, with reason, be expected that I should describe those finer feelings which constitute the pleafures of the imagination, and which are seldom attended to in any delineations of human nature; as also some critical situations of mind respecting the passions and emotions in general, the knowledge of which is essential to criticism upon works of genius and imagination; and explain those forms of address which are adapted to gain allent. But, previous to this, I shall give some account of Taste, and of the difference between plain and figurative language.
An exquisite feeling of the finer sensations abovementioned, may be said to constitute a fine tafte : but no person can be a complete judge of the merit of a composition unless he perfectly understand the subject of it, so as both clearly to distinguish the character of the design; as whether it be great or mean, new or common, &c. and also to judge how far the execution is adapted to the undertaking
The well-known story of the Moemaker viewing the Venus of Apelles, may asiiit us to distinguish our ideas in this case. This artisan discovered no strong sense of pleasure upon the light of so extraordinary an effect of human genius, and therefore could not be said to have taste, but he certainly was a very good judge of the proportions of the foot and of the shoe.
Judgment is universally acknowledged to be altogether acquired, and that taste, too, or the capacity of perceiving the pleasures of imagination, may also be acquired, to a very great degree, is evident from the actual acquirement of a variety of similar tastes, even late in life. Instances of this may be given in a taste for flowers, for gardening, and for architecture, which are hardly ever acquired very early in life.
It is hardly poslīble that any person who never attempted to sketch out an object himself, should have a high relish for the beauties of painting; but let any person be instructed in drawing, let him be