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more faultless examples may be found in the vast field of human life; and our imagination creates to itself a more perfect idea than our experience has presented.
The result of the whole is this: every one has within him a standard of beauty, and this standard is acquired by every one from the same source, and is in all of a common character; but will be more perfect, that is, more conformable to the truth of nature, as the field of observation has been more varied and extensive, as the attention has been more excited and directed to the investigation of beauty, and as the objects of observation have been in those circumstances which are most favourable to the preservation and perfection of the human form, and wherein the original stamp and design of nature may be, either not at all, or in the least degree, counteracted and injured by adventitious causes. I pretend not to judge, whether in this investigation of the standard of beauty there be any thing of novelty or ingenuity; it will be sufficient to my pur
pose, if it be agreeable to truth, and be
pertinent to the second object of this essay;
and support the claim, which I assert for the Greeks, that in their statues are found the most perfect imitations of the beautiful in the human form, that have been introduced to our knowledge. If no proper standard of beauty can be acquired in any other way; if the Greeks perfected their conception of the beautiful by a nice and delicate attention to this rule; if they had more favoured originals to collect from, and had a freer access to these rich originals ; if the Greek statuaries were men of the first consideration, and, besides their special art, had their minds raised and chastened by all the advantages which learning, science and cultivated taste can confer; then it is a well-founded
presumption, that their statues, as imitations of the beautiful, are of the first form, and have probably not been equalled by the similar productions of any other nation, if to the statuaries of no other nation the same means and advantages have been extended.
This standard of beauty thus acquired, and the only standard common to all men, may be called the Sentimental standard ; as its primary derivation is from the immediate sense or impression of the human form upon the mind of the observer, and its ultimate result is the mean of all the agreeable sensations which the beautiful of human form have made upon the mind.
But there is also a Rational standard, which more contemplative and reflecting minds derive from a consideration of the uses to which the human form subserves. Beauty, though in itself an object of regard distinct from
every other consideration, must, in the productions of every wise artist, be subordinate to utility; and therefore in those works, which we refer to the Great Artist, we expect that beauty shall be reconciled with utility. Nor are we disappointed; all that is beautiful in the human form, which we contemplate with so much delight, is, as a mean, in perfect harmony with the numerous and diversified uses for which
the human form was designed by its Creator.
Beauty could nct be a primary object in the mind of the original artist, nor are we authorised perhaps to say that in our sense of beauty it was any object at all. When this artist designed man,' that must to him have appeared to be the best form, which was the best fitted to the field of action in which man was intended to move, and in which it was intended that he should reap the conveniences and utilities of his being. If man had been designed to be an animal of speed, a forın similar to that of the hare, of the greyhound, or the antelope, might have been assigned to him ; or if not precisely a similar form, yet, in the limbs adapted to'motion, a lightness of bone, and firmness of muscle, similar to what characterize, these animals. And by parity of reason, the qualities of the ox or elephant, if slowness of motion united with great capacity of burthen had been designed to be his predominant character; or if a temperament of speed with burthen,
then a tempered 'union of the forms which distinguish the hare and the ox, as in the horse, might have been the character of the human form. But as each of these uses in a very limited degree, and subservient to many other higher uses ; such as quickness of movement towards
every part; the os sublime to contemplate heaven as well as earth, and each with the greatest range; exquisite sensibility, particularly in the hands, which are the instruments of mechanic operations; and, in fine, the unnumbered and varied uses which the inventive and creating mind of man can meditate, were intended to constitute the character of man: we find therefore that a form is assigned to him, which is adapted to all these uses, and to each in that degree in which it contributes to the concentred and harmonious utility of his whole being. But I mention not this, with any of the views of the naturalist or divine, but merely to show that man can in some degree enter into the mind of his Creator, and, pleased with his form,