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As full of spirit as the month of May,

that profusion of magnificent images, which the And gorgeous as the sun in Midsummer,

grandeur of his subject provokes him to pour out Wunton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls. I saw young Hurry with his beaver on

upon every side, he is far from forgetting the obRise from ihe ground like feather'd Mercury ; scurity which surrounds the most incomprehensidud vaulted with such case into his seut,

ble of all beings, but As if an angel dropped from the clouds To turn and wind u fiery Pegasus.

With majesty of darkness round

Circles his throne. In that excellent book, so remarkable for the vivacity of its descriptions, as well as the solidity And what is no less remarkable, our author had and penetration of its sentences, the Wisdom of the secret of preserving this idea, even when he the Son of Sirach, there is a noble panegyrick on seemed to depart the farthest from it, when he the high priest Simon the son of Onias; and it is describes the light and glory which flows from the a very fine example of the point before us : divine presence; a light which by its very excess

is converted into a species of darknessHow was he honoured in the midst of the

Dark with excessive light thy skirts appear. people, in his coming out of the sanctuary! He was as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, Here is an idea not only poetical in an high deand as the moon at the full; as the sun shining gree, but strictly and philosophically just. Exupon the temple of the Most High, and as the treme light, by overcoming the organs of sight, rainbow giving light in the bright clouds: and obliterates all objects, so as in its effect exactly to as the flower of roses in the spring of the year,

resemble darkness. After looking for some time as lilies by the rivers of waters, and as the at the sun, two black spots, the impression which frankincense tree in summer; us fire and incense it leaves, seem to dance before our eyes. Thus in the censer, and as a vessel of gold set with are two ideas as opposite as can be imagined reprecious stones ; as a fair olive tree budding conciled in the extremes of both; and both in forth fruit, and as a cypress which groweth up spite of their opposite nature brought to concur to the clouds. When he put on the robe of in producing the sublime. And this is not the honour, and was clothed with the perfection of only instance wherein the opposite extremes opeglory, when he went up to the holy altar, he rate equally in favour of the sublime, which in all made the garment of holiness honourable. He things abhors mediocrity, himself stood by the hearth of the altar, compassed with his brethren round about; as

SECT. XV.-LIGHT IN BUILDING. young cedar in Libanus, and as palm trees compassed they him about. So were all the sons As the management of light is a matter of of Aaron in their glory, and the oblations of the importance in architecture, it is worth enquiring, Lord in their hands, &c.

how far this remark is applicable to building. I think then, that all edifices calculated to produce an idea of the sublime, ought rather to be dark

and gloomy, and this for two reasons; the first Havixg considered extension, so far as it is is, that darkness itself on other occasions is known capable of raising ideas of greatness; colour comes by experience to have a greater effect on the pasnext under consideration. All colours depend on sions than light. The second is, that to make an light. Light therefore ought previously to be ex- object very striking, we should make it as differamined ; and with it its opposite, darkness. With ent as possible from the objects with which we regard to light, to make it a cause capable of pro- have been immediately conversant; when thereducing the sublime, it must be attended with some fore you enter a building, you cannot pass into a circumstances, besides its bare faculty of slewing greater light than you had in the open air; to go other objects. Mere light is too common a thing into one some few degrees less luminous, can make to make a strong impression on the mind, and only a trifling change; but to make the transition without a strong impression nothing can be sub- thoroughly striking, you ought to pass from the lime. But such a light as that of the sun, imme- greatest light, to as much darkness as is consistent diately exerted on the eye, as it overpowers the with the uses of architecture. At night the consense, is a very great idea. Light of an inferiour trary rule will hold, but for the very same reason; strength to this, if it moves with great celerity, and the more highly a room is then illuminated, has the same power; for lightning is certainly pro- the grander will the passion be. ductive of grandeur, which it owes chiefly to the extreme velocity of its motion. A quick transition from light to darkness, or from darkness to light, has yet a greater effect. But darkness is more productive of sublime ideas than light. Our AMONG colours, such as are soft or cheerful great poet was convinced of this; and indeed so (except perhaps a strong red, which is cheerful) full was he of this idea, so entirely possessed with are unfit to produce grand images. An immense the power of a well-managed darkness, that in mountain covered with a shining green turf, is describing the appearance of the Deity, amidst nothing, in this respect, to one dark and gloomy;





the cloudy sky is more grand than the blue; and prevents the attention from being too much dissinight more sublime and solemn than day. There- pated. The same may be said of a single stroke on fore in historical painting, a gay or gaudy drapery a drum, repeated with pauses; and of the succescan never have a happy effect : and in buildings, sive firing of cannon at a distance. All the effects when the highest degree of the sublime is in- mentioned in this section have causes very nearly tended, the materials and ornaments ought neither alike. to be white, nor green, nor yellow, nor blue, nor of a pale red, nor violet, nor spotted, but of sad

SECT. XIX.-INTERMITTING, and fuscous colours, as black, or brown, or deep purple, and the like. Much of gilding, mosaicks, A Low, tremulous, intermitting sound, though painting, or statues, contribute but little to the it seems in some respects opposite to that just mensublime. This rule need not be put in practice, tioned, is productive of the sublime. It is worth except where an uniform degree of the most strik- while to examine this a little. The fact itself ing sublimity is to be produced, and that in every must be determined by every man's own expeparticular; for it ought to be observed, that this rience and reflection. I have already observed, melancholy kind of greatness, though it be cer- that * night increases our terrour, more perhaps tainly the highest, ought not to be studied in all than any thing else ; it is our nature, when we do sorts of edifices, where yet grandeur must be not know what may happen to us, to fear the studied : in such cases the sublimity must be drawn worst that can happen; and hence it is, that unfrom the other sources; with a strict caution certainty is so terrible, that we often seek to be rid however against any thing light and riant; as of it, at the hazard of a certain mischief. Now, nothing so effectually deadens the whole taste of some low, confused, uncertain sounds, leave us in the sublime.

the same fearful anxiety concerning their causes,

that no light, or an uncertain light, does concernSECT. XVII.-SOUND AND LOUDNESS.

ing the objects that surround us. THE

eye is not the only organ of sensation by Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna which a sublime passion may be produced. Sounds

Est iter in sylvis.--have a great power in these as in most other pas

A fuint shadow of uncertain light, sions. I do not mean words, because words do Like as a lamp, whose life doth fale rway; not affect simply by their sounds, but by means

Or as the moon clothed with cloudy might

Doth shew to him who walks in fear and grent altogether different. Excessive loudness alone is

of right.

SPENSER. sufficient to overpower the soul, to suspend its action, and to fill it with terrour. The noise of vast But light now appearing and now leaving us, cataracts, raging storms, thunder, or artillery, and so off and on, is even more terrible than total awake a great and awful sensation in the mind, darkness : and a sort of uncertain sounds are, though we can observe no nicety or artifice in when the necessary dispositions concur, more those sorts of musick. The shouting of multitudes alarming than a total silence. has a similar effect; and, by the sole strength of the sound, so amazes and confounds the imagination, that, in this staggering and hurry of the mind, the best established tempers can scarcely Such sounds as imitate the natural inarticuforbear being borne down, and joining in the late voices of men, or any animals in pain or dancommon cry, and common resolution of the ger, are capable of conveying great ideas; unless crowd.

it be the well-known voice of some creature, on which we are used to look with contempt. The angry tones of wild beasts are equally capable of

causing a great and awful sensation. A SUDDEN beginning or sudden cessation of sound of any considerable force, has the same Hinc eraudiri gemitus, iraque leonum power. The attention is roused by this; and the

l'incla recusanium, et sera sub nocte rulentum ; faculties driven forward, as it were, on their

Setigerique sues, alque in prasepibus ursi

Savire ; et forma magnorum ululare luporum. guard. Whatever, either in sights or sounds, makes the transition from one extreme to the other easy, It might seem that these modulations of sound causes no terrour, and consequently can be no cause carry some connexion with the nature of the of greatness. In every thing sudden and unex- things they represent, and are not merely arbipected, we are apt to start; that is, we have a per- trary; because the natural cries of all animals, ception of danger, and our nature rouses us to even of those animals with whom we have not guard against it. It may be observed that a single been acquainted, never fail to make themselves sound of some strength, though but of short sufficiently understood ; this cannot be said of duration, if repeated after intervals, has a grand language. The modifications of sound, which effect. Few things are more awful than the strik- may be productive of the sublime, are almost ining of a great clock, when the silence of the night finite. Those I have mentioned are only a few

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• Sect. 3,






instances to shew on what principles they are all | itself, it would be subject, at first view, to burbuilt.

lesque and ridicule ; but this I imagine would principally arise from considering the bitterness and stench in company with mean and contemptible ideas, with which it must be owned they are

often united ; such an union degrades the sublime Smells and Tastes have some share too in in all other instances as well as in those. But it ideas of greatness; but it is a small one, weak in is one of the tests by which the sublimity of an its nature, and confined in its operations. I shall image is to be tried, not whether it becomes mean only observe, that no smells or tastes can produce when associated with mean ideas; but whether, a grand sensation, except excessive bitters, and when united with images of an allowed grandeur, intolerable stenches. It is true, that these affections the whole composition is supported with dignity. of the smell and taste, when they are in their full Things which are terrible are always great ; but force, and lean directly upon the sensory, are simply when things possess disagreeable qualities, or such painful, and accompanied with no sort of delight; as have indeed some degree of danger, but of a but when they are moderated, as in a description danger easily overcome, they are merely odious ; or narrative, they become sources of the sublime, as toads and spiders. as genuine as any other, and



very same principle of a moderated pain.“ A cup of bitter

ness;" “ to drain the bitter cup of fortune;” the bitter apples of Sodom ;” these are all ideas Of Feeling, little more can be said than that suitable to a sublime description. Nor is this the idea of bodily pain, in all the modes and passage of Virgil without sublimity, where the degrees of labour, pain, anguish, torment, is prostench of the vapour in Albunea conspires so ductive of the sublime; and nothing else in this happily with the sacred horrour and gloominess sense can produce it. I need not give here of that prophetick forest :

fresh instances, as those given in the former sec

tions abundantly illustrate a remark that, in At rer sollicitus monstris oracula Fauni Fatidici genitoris adit, lucosque sub alta

reality, wants only an attention to nature, to be Consulit Albunea, nemorum quæ maxima sacro

made by every body. Fonte sonut ; sævamque exhalat opaca Mephitim. Having thus run through the causes of the In the sixth book, and in a very sublime descrip

sublime with reference to all the senses, my first tion, the poisonous exhalation of Acheron is not observation (sect. 7.) will be found very nearly forgotten, nor does it at all disagree with the true; that the sublime is an idea belonging to selfother images amongst which it is introduced :

preservation ; that it is therefore one of the most

affecting we have; that its strongest emotion is an Spelunca alta fuit, vastoque immanis hiatu

emotion of distress; and that no * pleasure from Scrupea, tuta lacu nigro, nemorumque tenebris ; Quam super haud ulla poterant impune voluntes

a positive cause belongs to it. Numberless examTendere iler pennis : talis sese halitus atris

ples, besides those mentioned, might be brought Faucibus effundens supera ad convexa ferebat. in support of these truths, and many perhaps I have added these examples, because some friends,

useful consequences drawn from them for whose judgment I have great deference, were Sed fugit intereu, fugit irrevocabile tempus, of opinion that if the sentiment stood nakedly by

Singula dum cupti circumvectamur amore.




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or those qualities in bodies, by which they cause love, or some passion similar to it. I contine this

definition to the merely sensible qualities of things, It is my design to consider beauty as distin for the sake of preserving the utmost simplicity in guished from the sublime ; and, in the course of a subject, which must always distract us whenever the enquiry, to examine how far it is consistent we take in those various causes of sympathy which with it. But previous to this we must take a attach us to any persons or things from secondary short review of the opinions already entertained considerations, and not from the direct force which of this quality; which I think are hardly to be they have merely on being viewed. I likewise reduced to any fixed principles; because men are distinguish love (by which I mean that satisfacused to talk of beauty in a figurative manner, that tion which arises to the mind upon contemplating is to say, in a manner extremely uncertain, and any thing beautiful, of whatsoever nature it may indeterminate. By beauty I mean that quality be) from desire or lúst; which is an energy of the

* Vide Part I. sect. 6.



mind, that hurries us on to the possession of cer- to mensuration; nor has it any thing to do with tain objects, that do not affect us as they are calculation and geometry. If it had, we might beautiful, but by means altogether different. We then point out some certain measures which we shall have a strong desire for a woman of no re- could demonstrate to be beautiful, either as simply markable beauty; whilst the greatest beauty in considered, or as related to others; and we could men, or in other animals, though it causes love, call in those natural objects, for whose beauty yet excites nothing at all of desire. Which shews we have no voucher but the sense, to this happy that beauty, and the passion caused by beauty, standard, and confirm the voice of our passions by which I call love, is different from desire, though the determination of our reason. But since we have desire may sometimes operate along with it; but not this help, let us see whether proportion can in it is to this latter that we must attribute those any sense be considered as the cause of beauty, as violent and tempestuous passions, and the conse- hath been so generally, and by some so confiquent emotions of the body, which attend what is dently, affirmed. If proportion be one of the consticalled love in some of its ordinary acceptations, tuents of beauty, it must derive that power either and not to the effects of beauty merely as it is from some natural properties inherent in certain such.

measures, which operate mechanically; from the operation of custom; or from the fitness which some measures have to answer some particular ends of conveniency. Our business therefore is

to enquire, whether the parts of those objects, BEAUTY hath usually been said to consist in which are found beautiful in the vegetable or anicertain proportions of parts. On considering the mal kingdoms, are constantly so formed according matter, I have great reason to doubt, whether to such certain measures, as may serve to satisfy us beauty be at all an idea belonging to proportion. that their beauty results from those measures, on Proportion relates almost wholly to convenience, the principle of a natural mechanical cause; or as every idea of order seems to do; and it must from custom ; or, in fine, from their fitness for any therefore be considered as a creature of the under- determinate purposes. I intend to examine this standing, rather than a primary cause acting on point under each of these heads in their order. the senses and imagination. It is not by the force But before I proceed further, I hope it will not of long attention and enquiry that we find any be thought amiss, if I lay down the rules which object to be beautiful; beauty demands no assist governed me in this enquiry, and which have misled ance from our reasoning; even the will is uncon- me in it, if I have gone astray. 1. If two bodies cerned ; the appearance of beauty as effectually produce the same or a similar effect on the mind, causes some degree of love in us, as the application and on examination they are found to agree in of ice or fire produces the ideas of heat or cold. some of their properties, and to differ in others ; To gain something like a satisfactory conclusion the common effect is to be attributed to the proin this point, it were well to examine, what properties in which they agree, and not to those in portion is; since several who make use of that which they differ. 2. Not to account for the word do not always seem to understand very effect of a natural object from the effect of an ar

a clearly the force of the term, nor to have very dis- tificial object. 3. Not to account for the effect of tinct ideas concerning the thing itself. Propor- any natural object from a conclusion of our reason tion is the measure of relative quantity. Since concerning its uses, if a natural cause may be asall quantity is divisible, it is evident that every signed. 4. Not to admit any determinate quandistinct part, into which any quantity is divided, tity, or any relation of quantity, as the cause of a must bear some relation to the other parts, or to certain effect, if the effect is produced by different the whole. These relations give an origin to the or opposite measures and relations; or if these idea of proportion. They are discovered by men- measures and relations may exist, and yet the suration, and they are the objects of mathematical effect may not be produced. These are the rules enquiry. But whether any part of any determinate which I have chiefly followed, whilst I examined quantity be a fourth, or a fifth, or a sixth, or a into the power of proportion considered as a namoiety of the whole ; or whether it be of equal tural cause; and these, if he thinks them just, I length with any other part, or double its length, request the reader to carry with him throughout or but one half, is a matter merely indifferent to the following discussion ; whilst we enquire in the the mind; it stands neuter in the question ; and it first place, in what things we find this quality of is from this absolute indifference and tranquillity beauty ; next, to see whether in these we can find of the mind, that mathematical speculations de- any assignable proportions, in such a manner as rive some of their most considerable advantages; ought to convince us that our idea of beauty rebecause there is nothing to interest the imagina- sults from them. We shall consider this pleasing tion ; because the judgment sits free and unbiassed power, as it appears in vegetables, in the inferiour to examine the point. All proportions, every animals, and in man. Turning our eyes to the arrangement of quantity, is alike to the under- vegetable creation, we find nothing there so beaustanding, because the same truths result to it from tiful as flowers; but flowers are almost of every all; from greater, from lesser, from equality and sort of shape, and of every sort of disposition; inequality. But surely beauty is no idea belonging they are turned and fashioned into an infinite



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variety of forms; and from these forms botanists observed. Some are of but one single colour; have given them their names, which are almost as others have all the colours of the rainbow; some various. What proportion do we discover between are of the primary colours, others are of the mixt; the stalks and the leaves of flowers, or between the in short, an attentive observer may soon conclude, leaves and the pistils ? How does the slender that there is as little of proportion in the colourstalk of the rose agree with the bulky head under ing as in the shapes of these objects. Turn next which it bends ? but the rose is a beautiful flower ; to beasts; examine the head of a beautiful horse; and can we undertake to say that it does not owe find what proportion that bears to his body, and a great deal of its beauty even to that dispropor- to his limbs, and what relation these have to each tion; the rose is a large flower, yet it grows upon other; and when you have settled these propora small shrub; the fower of the apple is very tions as a standard of beauty, then take a dog or small, and grows upon a large tree; yet the rose cat, or any other animal, and examine how far the and the apple blossom are both beautiful, and the same proportions between their heads and their plants that bear them are most engagingly at- necks, between those and the body, and so on, are tired, notwithstanding this disproportion. What found to hold; I think we may safely say, that by general consent is allowed to be a more beau- they differ in every species, yet that there are tiful object than an orange-tree, flourishing at once individuals, found in a great many species so with its leaves, its blossoms, and its fruit? but it differing, that have a very striking beauty. Now, is in vain that we search here for any proportion if it be allowed that very different and even conbetween the height, the breadth, or any thing else trary forms and dispositions are consistent with concerning the dimensions of the whole, or con- beauty, it amounts I believe to a concession, that cerning the relation of the particular parts to each no certain measures, operating from a natural other. I grant that we may observe, in many principle, are necessary to produce it; at least so flowers, something of a regular figure, and of a far as the brute species is concerned. methodical disposition of the leaves. The rose has such a figure and such a disposition of its petals ; but in an oblique view, when this figure is in a good measure lost, and the order of the leaves confounded, it yet retains its beauty; the There are some parts of the human body that rose is even more beautiful before it is full blown ; are observed to hold certain proportions to each in the bud; before this exact figure is formed; other; but before it can be proved that the efand this is not the only instance wherein method ficient cause of beauty lies in these, it must be and exactness, the soul of proportion, are found shewn, that wherever these are found exact, the rather prejudicial than serviceable to the cause of person to whom they belong is beautiful : I mean beauty.

in the effect produced on the view, either of any

member distinctly considered, or of the whole body SECT. III.- PROPORTION NOT THE CAUSE OF

together. It must be likewise shewn, that these parts stand in such a relation to each other, that

the comparison between them may be easily made, That proportion has but a small share in the and that the affection of the mind may naturally formation of beauty, is full as evident among ani- result from it. For my part, I have at several times mals. Here the greatest variety of shapes and very carefully examined many of those proportions, dispositions of parts are well fitted to excite this and found them hold very nearly, or altogether idea. The swan, confessedly a beautiful bird, has alike in many subjects, which were not only very a neck longer than the rest of his body, and but a different from one another, but where one has been very short tail : is this a beautiful proportion? We very beautiful, and the other very remote from must allow that it is. But then what shall we say beauty. With regard to the parts which are found to the peacock, who has comparatively but a short so proportioned, they are often so remote from neck, with a tail longer than the neck and the rest each other, in situation, nature, and office, that of the body taken together? How many

birds I cannot see how they admit of any comparison, there that vary infinitely from each of these stand- nor consequently how any effect owing to proporards, and from every other which you can fix; tion can result from them. The neck, say they, with proportions different, and often directly op- in beautiful bodies, should measure with the calf posite to each other! and yet many of these birds of the leg; it should likewise be twice the circumare extremely beautiful; when upon considering ference of the wrist. And an infinity of observathem we find nothing in any one part that might tions of this kind are to be found in the writings determine us, a priori, to say what the others and conversations of many. But what relation has ought to be, nor indeed to guess any thing about the calf of the leg to the neck; or either of these them, but what experience might shew to be full parts to the wrist ? These proportions are cerof disappointment and mistake. And with regard tainly to be found in handsome bodies. They are to the colours either of birds or flowers, for there as certainly in ugly ones; as any who will take the is something similar in the colouring of both, pains to try may find. Nay, I do not know but they whether they are considered in their extension or may be least perfect in some of the most beautiful. gradation, there is nothing of proportion to be You may assign any proportions you please to every





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