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Emerges. Colours mingle, features join ;
280. 1. Render the following Extract into correct Prose, according to Directions No. 241.
2. Give an Analysis with Remarks on the leading topics and arguments, according to No. 242.
3. Observations on the Figures of Speech, Epithets, and instances of Poetical License, according to No. 242.
281. THE NATURE AND CONDUCT OF TASTE,
Nor yet will every soil with equal stores
TASTE AND DESCRIPTIONS.
282. Before proceeding to the rules and examples in Descriptive Subjects, it will be advantageous to furnish a brief and familiar exposition of the nature and leading principles of Taste.
283. TASTE is that discriminating power or faculty of the mind, by which we determine on the fitness or unfitness of anything intended to excite emotions, either of beauty, of grandeur, or of sublimity. This power is founded on the experience which emotions of beauty, or of grandeur, or sublimity produce; and he who exercises this power successfully is called a Man of Taste.
284. THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF EMOTIONS. The emotions excited by objects of beauty, are of a calm, gentle, and agreeable kind, and of much longer continuance than those excited by sublimity or grandeur. The following are instances :
1. When the sun goes down in the West, the surrounding clouds reflect, to our view, a rich variety of colours. We gaze on the splendid scene, and there is a pleasant emotior excited in our minds.
2. When examining Dr. Paley's reasoning in proof of the existence of the Deity, and observing how every part is brought to bear on the particular object in view, while one example after another gives additional strength to the arga. ment, we admire the skill of the reasoner and the perfection of his work; and in view of this skill and this finished work, a grateful emotion arises in the mind.
285. The emotions excited by objects of grandeur are of a more elevating and ennobling kind, than those excited by objects of beauty. The following are examples :
1. The traveller, when he stands on the banks of some noble river, flowing on with the power of collected waters, and bearing on its bosom the wealth of the surrounding region, is conscious of emotions which, as they rise and swell within him, correspond to the scene on which he looks.
2. The following is Gray's description of the rising sun:“I set out one morning before five o'clock, the moon shining through a dark and misty autumnal air, and got to the sea. coast in time to be at the sun's levee. I saw the clouds and dark vapours open gradually to the right and left, rolling over one another in great smoky wreaths, and then slightly tinged with gold and blue, and all at once, a little line of insufferable brightness that, before I can write these five words, is grown to half an orb, and now a whole one, too glorious to be distinctly seen.” This is a representation of a scene in Nature, and the writer, in looking on this scene, felt an emotion of grandeur.
* 286. The emotions excited by objects of sub; limity are less permanent than those of grandeur, but more thrilling and exalting. The following
1. We are told, that when Newton drew near to the close of those calculations which confirmed his discovery of the laws by which the planets are bound in their courses, he was so overwhelmed with emotion, that he could not proceed, and was obliged to ask the assistance of a friend. No one can think of the mighty, intellectual work that was then accomplished, and not feel, as he did, an overpowering emotion.
2. The engagement of two great armies, as it is the highest exertion of human might, affords a variety of sources of the sublime. Example:-“ Like autumn's dark storms, pouring from two echoing hills, towards each other approached the heroes : as two dark streams from high rocks, meet and war on the plain, loud, rough, and dark in battle, meet Lochlin and Innisfail. Chief mixes his stroke with chief, and man with man: steel sounds on steel, and helmets are cleft on high ; blood bursts and smokes around : strings murmur on the polished yew: darts rush along the sky: spears fall like sparks of flame that gild the stormy face of night. As the noise of troubled ocean when roll the waves on high ; as the last peal of the thunder of heaven; such is the noise of battle. Though Cormac's hundred bards were there, feeble were the voice of a hundred bards, to send the deaths to future times ; for many were the deaths of the heroes, and wide poured the blood of the valiant.” – Ossian.
287. REQUISITES OF TASTE. a. As Taste is an improveable faculty, Exercise is necessary for its cultivation. Thus, Touch becomes more exquisite in men whose employment leads them to examine the polish of bodies, than it is in others whose trade does not require such nice exertions. So, Sight, in discerning the minutest objects, acquires a surprising accuracy in microscopical observers, and those who are accustomed to engrave on precious stones.