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of it could not be very seriously regarded by us—but we conceive it, as that complex whole, which it has become—the image or representation of many delightful feelings. Though it be only a snuff-box, or a walking-stick, as in the cases supposed by Dr Smith, the mere circumstance of the loss, would of itself give some de. gree of additional interest to our conception of the object, which makes it dwell longer in our mind than it would otherwise have done, and allows time, therefore, for the recurrence of a greater number of the images associated with it, that rise accordingly, and mingle with the conception. But with that complex state of mind, which arises from the union of these, in our rapid retrospect of other years,-a state which is not the mere conception of the walking-stick which we have lost, but of it and the other associate feelings, the feeling of the loss is mingled, and is mingled, not more with the conception of the stick, than with all the coexisting associate feelings, vague and indistinct as these may bethe conception, perhaps, of the friend who presented it to us,—of the walks during which it has been our companion,--of many of the innumerable events, of joy or sorrow, that have occupied us, since the time at which, like a new limb added to us, it became, as it were, a part of ourselves. Since the notion of the loss, therefore, is combined with all these conceptions, in our complex state of mind, it is not wonderful that it should appear to us, for the moment, as the loss, not of one part only, and that, if absolutely considered, the least important part of the whole, but as the actual loss of the associate group of images and emotions, of which it is more than representative, and that it should excite our momentary sorrow, accordingly, as for that actual loss. We know, indeed, whenever we reflect, that all these objects are not lost, but the walking-stick only, and our reason every moment, checks us with this truth; but, still, every other moment, in spite of reason, the feeling of the loss and the conception of the vague complex whole, continuing to be blended, affect our mind with the blended regret. It is only one of the innumerable instances, in which our feelings continue obstinately to delude us, in spite of the knowledge which might be supposed capable of saving us from the illusion, as, particularly in those striking cases of optical deception, to which, on account of the important light which they tbrow on the phenomena of the mind in general, I have al.
ready, so frequently directed your attention. When we look at a painted cylinder, or at any landscape in which the laws of perspective are observed, we know well that it is a flat surface at which we are looking. Yet it is absolutely impossible for us, not. withstanding this knowledge, to consider the cylinder as a plane, and all the rocks, and groves, and long-withdrawing vales of the landscape, as comprehended in a few inches of colouring. When we receive the portrait of a friend, it is vain for reason to tell us, that we have received only a flat surface of a little paint;-when we lose a walking-stick, the gist of a friend, it is equally vain for reason to tell us, that we have suffered only a loss which we can repair for a few shillings at a toy-shop.
It is in a great measure, then, by the momentary belief of the loss of more than the object itself, that I would explain that disproportioned emotion, which is felt to be absurd, yet is not felt the less on account of this seeming absurdity.
But, whatever may be thought of this explanation of that grief, --so far beyond the absolute value of the object,--which we feel, on the loss of any object that has been long familiar to us, there at least can be no doubt, as to the great fact itself, that an object long familiar to us, does acquire additional value, by this familiarity; and as the object is absolutely the same, however frequently it may have met our eyes, or been used by us for any of the common purposes of life, it is only a relative value which it can have acquired, a value consisting in our own feelings merely, which we must therefore have condensed in it, or attached to it in some way or other.
After these illustrations from phenomenag that, if not absolutely of the same class, are, at least, very closely analogous, since they imply a sort of charm conceived by us as treasured in exterDal things, and a charm which consists merely in the reflected feelings of our own mind, I trust it will not appear to you too bold an affirmation, to say, that the agreeable emotions which certain objects excite in us, are capable of being, in our conception, combined with the very notion of the objects themselves, and that we term such objects beautiful, by combining, in our notion of them, the delight which we feel, as we term them green, blue, crimson, by combining with them our feelings of colour. What is true, of objects of sight, may be conceived as easily, in every other spe. cies of beauty, natural or artificial, material or mental. Whatever excites the emotion, may be felt as of itself combined with the emotions which it excites,-forms, colours, sounds, all that is ingenious in art, or amiable in morals. My limits will not permit me to trace all the varieties of beauty with any minute investigation, through this variety of its objects; but you may yourselves equally apply to them whatever remarks I have applied, more particularly, to one species of the delightful emotion.
It is of external objects, indeed, and particularly of objects of sight, that we think most frequently, when we speak or hear of beauty ; but this does not arise from any exclusive peculiarity of the feeling excited by these objects, as if the term were only metaphorically applied to others, but because external objects are continually around us, so as more frequently to excite the emotion of beauty; and in a great measure, too, because the human form, itself an object of vision, is representative to us of the presence of all which we love,—of those with whom our life is connected, and from whom its happiness has been derived, or from whom we hope to derive it. It is not wonderful, therefore, that when we think of beauty, we should think of that by which the emotion is most vividly excited, and should be led accordingly to seek it. there,
" Where Beauty's living image, like the morn
That wakes in zephyr's arins the blushing May,
That we are susceptible of a similar delightful emotion from works of intellect, is sufficiently shown by the fine arts, which are founded on this happy susceptibility; nor is the delight felt, only on the contemplation of works of fancy, at least of fancy in the
* Pleasures of Imagination, B. I. v. 327—335.
sense in which that term is commonly employed; it is felt in the result of faculties, that seem, while exercised in the operations that produce the beautiful result, to be very foreign from every emotion, but that tranquil satisfaction which may be supposed to constitute a part of our assent to any interesting truth. How many theorems are there, to which a mathematician applies the term beautiful, as readily as it is applied by others to the design or the colouring of a picture, or to the words or air of a song ; and though the delightful emotion which he expresses by that word is at once far inferior in degree, and only analogous in kind to the emotion excited by those objects, it still is so analogous as to deserve the denomination. In general physics, in like manner, how instantly do we speak of the beauty of an experiment, which is so contrived as to decide a point that has been long in controversy, by very simple means, and with the exclusion of every foreign circumstance that might affect the accuracy of the result,
or of the beauty of a theory, which brings together many facts that were before dispersed, without any obvious bond of union, and exhibits them in luminous connexion to our view. The delightful emotion, in these intellectual forms of beauty, is, it will be admitted, far less lively, than when it results from external things. But when we thus apply the term beautiful to the works of faculties, that are not immediately conversant with beauty, or in which, at least, beauty is scarcely even a secondary consideration, we are far from using a metaphor, any more than we use a metaphor, when we employ the same word in speaking of the beauty of a landscape, and of the beauty of human form, which are both objects of sight, but of which the resulting emotions, though analogous, are far from being the same. We employ the term, because, from the analogy of the delight in the different cases, it is the only term which can express our meaning; we do truly feel, on the contemplation of such intellectual works, a delightful emotion,—as we feel a delightful emotion very similar, however superior it may be in intensity of pleasure, when we look on the charms of nature, or the imitative creations of art; and, as we conceive the very charm which we feel, to be diffused and stored in those beautiful forms on which we gaze, so does the charm which we feel, seem, for the moment, to flow over the severest works of intellect, in the conceptions which are embodied to us.' Every reason itself,
austere as it may seem, is thus only a part of Beauty's universal empire, that extends over mind, and over matter, with equal sway.
But though by some minds, which have not been conversant with the beautiful results of scientific inquiry, these severe and less obvious charms may not be readily admitted, -of moral beauty, it is surely impossible for any one to doubt that charm, which is felt by us, even before we have learned to distinguish virtue by its name ; and which, even to the guilty, who have abandoned it, still retains a sort of dreadful loveliness, which they would gladly forget, but which no effort can wholly banish from their remembrance, that is forced still to shudder and admire. It is the analogy of this moral beauty, indeed, which gives its most attractive charm to the beauty of the inanimate universe, and which adorns poetry with its most delightful images. To give our mere approbation to virtue, as we give our assent to any truth of reasoning, seems to be as little possible, as for those, who are not blind, to open their eyes, in the very sunshine of noon, on some delightful scene, and to view it as a mere collection of forms without any colouring. The softer moral perfections, so essential to the happiness, and almost to the very existence of society, are like those mild lights, and gentle graces, in the system of external things, without which the repose of nature would not be tranquillity, but death, and its motions, in the waving bough, and the foamy waterfall, and the stream that glides from it, would be only the agitation of contiguous particles of matter. Well, indeed, may the poet of imagination exclaim,
" Is aught so fair,
Of Innocence and love protect the scene?"**