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yond all natural and reasonable bounds. Into this error, which is but too common, writers of genius may sometimes fall, by unluckily losing sight of the true point of the sublime. This is also called fustian, or rant. Shakspeare, a great but incorrect genius, is not unexceptionable here. Dryden and Lee, in their tragedies, abound with it.
Thus far of the Sublime, of which I have treated fully, because it is so capital an excellency in fine writing, and because clear and precise ideas on this head are, as far as I know, not to be met with in critical writers. .
Before I conclude this lecture, there is one observation which I choose to make at this time; I shall make it once for all, and hope it will be afterwards remembered. It is with respect to the instances of faults, or rather blemishes and imperfections, which, as I have done in this lecture, I shall hereafter continue to take, when I can, from writers of reputation. I have not the least intention thereby to disparage their character in the general. I shall have other occasions of doing equal justice to their beauties. But it is no reflection on any human performance, that it is not absolutely perfect. The task would be much easier for me, to collect instances of faults from bad writers. But they would draw no attention, when quoted from books which nobody reads. And I conceive, that the method which I follow, will contribute more to make the best authors be read with pleasure, when one properly distinguishes their beauties from their faults ; and is led to imitate and admire only what is worthy. of imitation and admiration.
HAVING treated of grandeur or sub-, what manner does he frequently delimity in external objects, for what part? How is this illustrated? What does the way seem now to be cleared ? are the five sources of the sublime pointWhy may the sublime in writing be ed out by him? Of this plan, what is examined here with as much propriety remarked; and why? From this what as in any subsequent part of the lec- appears ? What remarks are made of tures? What evidence have we that Longinus, as a critic and a writer ? the sublime has often been employed Why was it necessary for our author in a loose and vague sense ? Why is to give his opinion of his work; and this mentioned? What is the true sense why should it be consulted? Where of sublime writing? What indefinite, I must the foundation of the sublime in and therefore very improper sense, has composition be laid ? When is the deoften been applied to it? If this were scription not entitled to come under this correct, what would be the conse- class? What objects does this exclude ? quence? By whom is the sublime in How must the object be set before us, this improper sense often used? How and described ? On what does this princidoes he set out; but from this view, in 1 pally depends? If his own feelings he
languid, what will be the consequence? | site to the sublime ? From what does it Where do we generally find the most arise; what does it suppose ; and why? striking instances of the sublime? To From what does it appear that the what are the early ages of the world great art of the writer, and the diffipeculiarly favourable; why; and how culty of sublime description, lies here? is this illustrated ? To what is the In order to render a storm or a tempest change undergone in the progress of sublime in description, what is requisociety more favourable? In what wri- site ? Repeat the passage in which this tings do we find the highest instances is happily effected by Virgil. Of this of the sublime? Of the descriptions of description, what is said ? What, when the deity, in them, what is observed ? description is meant to be sublime, seems What illustrations are given from the not to have been sufficiently attended 18th Psalm, and from the prophet Ha- to? When may a writer's descriptions bakkuk? What instance is given by have improprieties in them, and yet be Longinus, and what is said of it? In beautiful; and why? Why is the case what language is the same thought quite different with the sublime ? Of magnificently amplified by Isaiah ? the nature of the emotion aimed at by What passage in the Psalms deserves the sublime, what is observed; and to be mentioned under this head ; and why? What is said of Milton's descripwhat is said of it ? To what does Ho- tion of the battle of the angels ? Repeat mer owe much of his grandeur ? What, it. How has Claudius rendered this to every reader of the Iliad, presents fre-idea burlesque and ridiculous ? What quent instances of sublime writing ? description in Virgil is also censurable ? What often heightens the majesty of Repeat it. What is said of this descrip his warlike scenes? Hence, on what tion? How will the debasing effect of passage has Longinus bestowed high the idea here presented, appear in a and just commendations? What is said still stronger light? What do such inof the passage in the 20th book, where stances show? Where are the proper all the gods take part in the engage- sources of the sublime to be found? ment ? Repeat it. In Ossian, what are How can we not expect to produce it? particularly favourable to the sublime? Of what does it, for the most part, What does he possess? In what does he stand clear; how must it come; and not deal ; how does he throw forth his of what must it be the natural offimages; and what is the effect? For spring ? Whence may we draw the what do we look among poets of more sublime? In judging of any striking polished times; and why? Where beauty in composition, to what must dwells the sublime, and with what we attend; and when only can we pro does it materially associate itself? Re-nounce it sublime? Why cannot the peat the passage. What is said of it ? emotion of the sublime be protracted ? Why have these instances been pro- What is the utmost that we can exduced ? To what are they respectively pect? In whom does this effulgence exposed ?.Why is a defect, either in frequently break forth with great lusconciseness or simplicity, hurtful, in a tre? Of the writings of some few indipeculiar manner, to the sublime ? Re-viduals, such as Demosthenes and Plapeat Lucan's amplification of Cæsar's to, what is observed? What is remarkaddress to the pilot. Why is rhyme un- ed of what is called a sublime style; savourable to the sublime; and what, and what are persons apt to imagine ? in it, weakens the native force of sub-| How does it appear that nothing can limity? What tends farther to enfeeble be more false than this opinion is? Of it? How is this illustrated from Ho-Ithis illustration, what has Boileau ob mer's description of the nod of Jupiter ? served ? In general, in all good wriOf Pope's translation, what is remark-tings, where does the sublime lie; and ed ?
what follows ? What expressions does of our blank verse, what is ob- the sublime reject; and of being subserved ? By what author is the fullest | lime, in what does the great secret lie? proof of this given ? Repeat the illus- What will be found to hold without tration. What is said of it? What is exception; and what follows? On mentioned as another necessary requi-! what must we pass the same unfa
vourable judgment ? Into what error,
ANALYSIS. of this kind has Mr. Addison fallen?|1. The term sublime vaguely used. Repeat the passage. For what pur A. Johannes Gulielmus Bergerus. pose are introductions of this kind used;
B. Longinus. and what are they like? By this ob- 2. The foundation of the sublime. servation, what is not meant; and 3. Instances of the sublime in writing, why? What two faults are the oppo A. The sacred Scriptures. site to the sublime ? In what does the
B. Homer's poems. frigid consist; what does it betray, and c. The works of Ossian. what examples are given? In what D. Milton's writings. does the bombast lie? How may|4. Essentials to the sublime. writers of genius sometimes fall into |
A. Conciseness and simplicity. this error? What examples are given ?
B. Strength. Why has our author treated thus ful
a. The proper choice of cirly of the sublime? What observation
cumstances. does he here, once for all, make ? Of
b. Instances of illustration. what has he, thereby, no intention ? 5. The sources of the sublime. Why does he not collect his instances 16. The nature of a sublime emotion. of faults from bad writers? To what|7. A sublime style. does he think the method which he fol-8. The faults opposite to the sublime. lows will contribute?
A. The frigid style.
BEAUTY, AND OTHER PLEASURES OF TASTE.
As sublimity constitutes a particular character of composition, and forms one of the highest excellences of eloquence and of poetry, it was proper to treat of it at some length. It will not be necessary to discuss so particularly all the other pleasures that arise from taste, as some of them have less relation to our main subject. On beauty only I shall make several observations, both as the subject is curious, and as it tends to improve taste, and to discover the foundation of several of the graces of description and of poetry.*
Beauty, next to sublimity, affords, beyond doubt, the highest pleasure to the imagination. The emotion which it raises, is very distinguishable from that of sublimity. It is of a calmer kind ; more gentle and soothing ; does not elevate the mind so much, but
* See Hutchinson's Inquiry concerning Beauty and Virtue :--Gerard on Taste, chap. iji. :--Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful :-Elements of Criticism, chap. iii. :-Spectator, vol. vi. :--Essay on the Pleasures of Taste.
produces an agreeable serenity. Sublimity raises a feeling, too violent, as I showed, to be lasting; the pleasure arising from beauty admits of longer continuance. It extends also to a much greater variety of objects than sublimity; to a variety indeed so great, that the feelings which beautiful objects produce, differ considerably, not in degree only, but also in kind, from one another. Hence, no word in the language is used in a more vague signification than beauty. It is applied to almost every external object that pleases the eye, or the ear; to a great number of the graces of writing; to many dispositions of the mind; nay, to several objects of mere abstract science. We talk currently of a beautiful tree or flower; a beautiful poem ; a beautiful character; and a beautiful theorem in mathematics. ,
Hence we may easily perceive, that, among so great a variety of objects, to find out some one quality in which they all agree, and which is the foundation of that agreeable sensation they all raise, must be a very difficult, if not, more probably, a vain attempt. Objects denominated beautiful, are so different, as to please, not in virtue of any one quality common to them all, but by means of several different principles in human nature. The agreeable emotion which they all raise, is somewhat of the same nature; and therefore, has the common name of beauty given to it; but it is raised by different causes.
Hypotheses, however, have been framed by ingenious men, for assigning the fundamental quality of beauty in all objects. In particular, uniformity amidst variety, has been insisted on as this fundamental quality. For the beauty of many figures, I admit that this accounts in a satisfactory manner. But when we endeavour to apply this principle to beautiful objects of some other kind, as to colour, for instance, or motion, we shall soon find that it has no place. And even in external figured objects it does not hold, that their beauty is in proportion to their mixture of variety with uniformity; seeing many please us as highly beautiful, which have almost no variety at all, and others, which are various to a degree of intricacy. Laying systems of this kind, therefore, aside, what I now propose is, to give an enumeration of several of those classes of objects in which beauty 'most remarkably appears; and to point out, as far as I can, the separate principles of beauty in each of them.
Colour affords, perhaps, the simplest instance of beauty, and 'therefore the fittest to begin with. Here, neither variety, nor uniformity, nor any other principle that I know, can be assigned as the foundation of beauty. We can refer it to‘no other cause but the structure of the eye, which determines us to receive certain modifi. cations of the rays of light with more pleasure than others. And we see accordingly, that, as the organ of sensation varies in different persons, they have their different favourite colours. It is probable, that association of ideas has influence, in some cases, on the pleasure which we receive from colours. Green, for instance, may appear more beautiful, by being connected in our ideas with rural prospects and scenes; white, with innocence; blue, with the sereni
ty of the sky. Independent of associations of this kind, all that we can farther observe concerning colours is, that those chosen for beauty are, generally, delicate, rather than glaring. Such are those paintings with which nature hath ornamented some of her works, and which art strives in vain to imitate; as the feathers of several kinds of birds, the leaves of flowers, and the fine variation of colours exhibited by the sky at the rising and setting of the sun. These present to us the highest instances of the beauty of colouring; and have accordingly been the favourite subjects of poetical description in all countries.
From colour we proceed to figure, which opens to us forms of beauty more complex and diversified. Regularity first occurs to be noticed as a source of beauty. By a regular figure, is meant, one which we perceive to be formed according to some certain rule, and not left arbitrary, or loose, in the construction of its parts. Thus, a circle, a square, a triangle, or a hexagon, please the eye, by their regularity, as beautiful figures. We must not, however, conclude, that all figures please in proportion to their regularity;or that regularity is the sole, or the chief, foundation of beauty in figure. On the contrary, a certain graceful variety is found to be a much more powerful principle of beauty; and is therefore studied a great deal more than regularity, in all works that are designed merely to please the eye. I am, indeed, inclined to think, that regularity appears beautiful to us, chiefly, if not only, on account of its suggesting the ideas of fitness, propriety, and use, which have always a greater connexion with orderly and proportioned forms, than with those which appear not constructed according to any certain rule. It is clear, that nature, who is undoubtedly the most graceful artist, hath, in all her ornamental works, pursued variety with an apparent neglect of regularity Cabinets, doors, and windows, are made after a regular form, in cubes and parallelograms, with exact proportion of parts; and by being so formed they please the eye: for this good reason, that, being works of use, they are, by such figures, the better suited to the ends for which they were designed. But plants, flowers, and leaves, are full of variety and diversity. A straight canal is an insipid figure, in comparison of the meanders of rivers. Cones and pyramids are beautiful; but trees growing in their natural wilderness, are infinitely more beautiful than when trimmed into pyramids and cones. The apartments of a house must be regular in their disposition, for the conveniency of its inhabitants ; but a garden which is designed merely for beauty, would be exceedingly disgusting, if it had as much uniformity and order in its parts as a dwelling-house.
Mr. Hogarth, in his Analysis of Beauty, has observed, that figures bounded by curve lines are, in general, more beautiful than those bounded by straight lines and angles. He pitches upon two lines, on which, according to him, the beauty of figure principally depends; and he has illustrated and supported his doctrine, by a surprising number of instances. The one is the waving line, or a curve bending backwards and forwards, somewhat in the form of the letter S