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frailty, which is unpleasant: if they are such as to indicate a much greater degree of strength than is wanted, then I am equally disgusted. Between these two extremes, all proportions are naturally of equal beauty; the rest is done by Pericles, Miltiades, the battle of Thermopylae, and all the military and literary glory of the Greeks. There is an excellent chapter in Mr. Alison's book, upon the orders of architecture, in which he, to my mind, sets this matter in the clearest point of view, and shows that in this instance, as well as in all others, the pleasure arising from the proportions of the orders, is to be referred to the utility of those proportions, or to the associations which they excite. “The proportions of these orders,” says Mr. Alison, “it is to be remembered, are distinct subjects of beauty “from the ornaments with which they are embellished, “from the magnificence with which they are executed, “from the purposes of elegance they are intended to “serve, or the scenes of grandeur they are destined to “adorn. It is in such scenes, however, and with such “additions, that we are accustomed to observe them : “and while we feel the effect of all these accidental as“sociations, we are seldom willing to examine what are “the causes of the complex emotions we feel; and readily “attribute to the nature of the architecture itself, the “whole pleasure which we enjoy. “But, besides these, there are other associations we “have with these forms, that still more powerfully serve “to command our admiration, for they are the Grecian “orders: they derive their origin from those times, and “were the ornaments of those countries, which are most “hallowed in our imaginations; and it is difficult for us “to see them, even in their modern copies, without “feeling them operate upon our minds as relics of those “polished nations where they first arose, and of that “greater people by whom they were afterwards bor
“While this species of architecture is attended with “so many and so pleasing associations, it is difficult, “even for a man of reflection, to distinguish between “the different sources of his emotion; or, in the moments “in which this delight is felt, to ascertain what is the “exact portion of his pleasure which is to be attributed “to these proportions alone. And two different causes “combine to lead us to attribute to the style of archi“tecture itself, the beauty which arises from many other “associations. “In the first place, while it is under our eye, this “architecture itself is the great object of our regard, “and the central object of all these associations. It is “the material sign, in fact, of all the various affecting “qualities which are connected with it; and it disposes us “in this, as in every other case, to attribute to the sign, “the effect which is produced by the qualities signified. “When we reflect, upon the other hand, in our calmer “moments, upon the source of our emotion, another “motive arises to induce us to consider these pro“portions as the sole, or the principal cause of our “pleasure; for these proportions are the only qualities “of the object which are perfectly or accurately ascer“tained. They have received the assent of all ages “since their discovery; they are the acknowledged “objects of beauty; and, having thus got possession of “one undoubted principle, our natural love of system, “induces us to ascribe the whole of the effect to this “principle alone, and easily satisfies our minds, by “saving us the trouble of a long and tedious inves“tigation. “That this cause has had its full effect in this case, “will, I believe, appear very evident to those who “attend to the enthusiasm with which, in general, the “writers on architecture speak of the beauty of pro“ portion, and compare it with the common sentiments “of men, upon the subject of this beauty. Both these “causes conspire to mislead our judgment in this point, “and to induce us to attribute to one quality, in such “objects, that beauty which, in truth, results from “many united qualities.” In my next lecture I shall conclude this subject of the beautiful, and sum up all that I have said upon it. If any man feel himself inclined to think that I have pushed this subject of the beautiful too far, and that its importance does not merit such long discussion, I would desire him to reflect upon the immense effect which it produces on human life. What are half the crimes in the world committed for 2 What brings into action the best virtues? The desire of possessing. Of possessing what?—not mere money, but every species of the beautiful which money can purchase. A man lies hid in a little, dirty, smoky room for twenty years of his life, and sums up as many columns of figures as would reach round half the earth, if they were laid at length; — he gets rich: what does he do with his riches? He buys a large well-proportioned house: in the arrangement of his furniture, he gratifies himself with all the beauty which splendid colours, regular figures, and smooth surfaces, can convey; he has the beauties of variety and association in his grounds; the cup out of which he drinks his tea, is adorned with beautiful figures; the chair in which he sits, is covered with smooth shining leather; his table-cloth is of the most beautiful damask; mirrors reflect the lights from every quarter of the room; pictures of the best masters, feed his eye with all the beauties of imitation. A million of human creatures are employed in this country in ministering to this feeling of the beautiful. It is only a barbarous, ignorant people that can ever be occupied by the necessaries of life alone. If to eat, and to drink, and to be warm, were the only passions of our minds, we should all be what the lowest of us all are at this day. The love of the beautiful calls man to fresh exertions, and awakens him to a more noble life; and the glory of it is, that as painters imitate, and poets sing, and statuaries carve, and architects rear up the gorgeous trophies of their skill,—as everything becomes beautiful, and orderly, and magnificent, — the activity of the mind rises to still greater, and to better, objects. The principles of justice are sought out; the powers of the ruler, and the rights of the subject, are fixt; man advances to the enjoyment of rational liberty, and to the establishment of those great moral laws, which God has written in our hearts, to regulate the destinies of the world.
ON THE BEAUTIFUL. — PART III.
I wish, for the completion of the subject on which I have been engaged, to consider what causes produce the feeling of the beautiful in poetry. I must observe here, as I observed before, that there is a lax and general usage of the word beautiful, to which I am not now referring. We might say of Milton's Paradise Lost, that it is a beautiful poem, though its characteristic is rather grandeur and sublimity, than beauty. It is a general term, standing for every species of excellence; but I am speaking now of that which is properly beautiful, as distinguished from what is sublime or excellent in any other kind. The first reason, then, why poetry is beautiful, is, because it describes natural objects, or moral feelings, which are themselves beautiful. For an example, I will read to you a beautiful sonnet of Dr. Leyden's, upon the Sabbath morning, which has never been printed:—
“With silent awe I hail the sacred morn,