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capable of attaining. The mind becomes rich with many varieties of the general feeling of beauty,-a feeling that was the result of many particular images and emotions in ourselves, and of much observation of the similar impressions of others; but which is itself one state of mind, and capable, as one state of mind, of being suggested in constant sequence. From the multitude of former pleasing objects that have interested us, we have formed, in consequence of their felt resemblance, as it was impossible for us, with our power of feeling resemblance, not to form,—a general notion of beauty or excellence; or rather, we have formed progressively various general notions of various species and degrees of beauty and excellence; and these general notions are readily suggested by the objects which agree with them, precisely in the same way as our other general notions,—such, for example, as those expressed by the words, flower, bird, quadruped, when once formed in the mind, are afterwards readily suggested by any new object that seems referable to the species or genus.
It is not enough, however, when we gaze on a beautiful object, that certain conceptions of former delight should be suggested, for these rise equally, on innumerable occasions, in our trains of thought, with little liveliness of present joy. The distinguishing liveliness of the emotion of beauty, as it lives before us, seems to me, if it depend on association, to be absolutely inexplicable, but for a process, which we considered fully, when the general phenomena of suggestion were under our review ;-the process, which, when the images of a train are connected, not with some former conception only, but with a real object of perception, invests with illusive present existence the whole kindred images of the harmonizing group, of which a part, and an important part, is truly recognized as existing.
The countenance on which we gaze recalls to us some complex feeling of beauty, that was previously formed; but, while it recalls it, it exists permanently before us; and embodying as it were this complex visionary delight in the object of our continued perception, we give a reality, that is in the object only, to the shadowy whole, of which the perception of the object, and the associate feelings of suggestion, are harmonizing parts; and the images of tenderness and joy, which, as mere conceptions, unembodied in any real object, might have passed through the mind in its
trains of reverie, with little pleasure, thus fixed, as it were, and living before us in the external loveliness, affect us with a delight that is more than mere imagination, because the object of it seems to be as truly existing without, as any other permanent object of our senses, a delight that may have resulted from many former pleasures, but that is itself one concentrated joy.
In all our inquiries on this subject, we have had regard, as you may have remarked, to many feelings of the mind, and not to one simple quality of objects that can be termed the beautiful, for the beautiful exists no where, more than the soft, or the sweet, or the pleasing; and to inquire into the beautiful, therefore, if it have any accurate meaning, is not to inquire into any circumstance which runs through a multitude of our emotions, but merely to inquire what number of our agreeable emotions have a sufficient similarity to be classed together under one general name.
Beauty is not anything that exists in objects independently of the mind which perceives them, and permanent therefore, as the objects in which it is falsely supposed to exist. It is an emotion of the mind, varying, therefore, like all our other emotions, with the varying tendencies of the mind, in different circumstances. We have not to inquire into the nature of any fixed essence which can be called the beautiful,-zo xadov,—but into the nature of transient feelings, excited by objects which may agree in no respect, but as they excite emotions in some degree similar. What we term the emotion of beauty, is not one feeling of our mind, but many feelings, that have a certain similarity, as greenness, redness, blueness, are all designated by the general name colour, There is not one beauty, more than there is one colour or one form. But there are various beauties-that is to say, various pleasing emotions, that have a certain resemblance, in consequence of which we class them together. The beautiful exists no more in objects, than species or genera exist in individuals. It is, in truth, a species or genus-a mere general term, expressive of similarity in various pleasing feelings. Yet even those writers, who would be astonished, if we were to regard them, as capable of any faith in the universal a parte rei, believe this universal beauty a parte rei, and inquire, what it is which constitutes the beautiful, very much in the same way, as the scholastic logicians inquired into the real essence of the universal.
By some, accordingly, beauty is said to be a waving line, by others, a combination of certain physical qualities-by others, the mere expression of qualities of mind, and by fifty writers, almost as many different things, as if beauty were anything in itself, and were not merely a general name, for all those pleasing emotions, which forms, colours, sounds, motions, and intellectual and moral aspects of the mind produce,-emotions, that have a resemblance, indeed, but are far from being the same. They are similar, only as all the feelings of the mind, to which we give the name of pleasure, have a certain similarity, in consequence of which we give them that common name, though there is nothing which can be called pleasure, distinct from these separate agreeable feelings.
What is it which constitutes the pleasing? would be generally counted a very singular inquiry; and to say that it is a sight, or a smell, or a taste,-the brilliant, or the sweet, or the spicy, or the soft, would be counted a theory still more singular than the enquiry which led to it. Yet no one is surprised when we enquire what it is which constitutes the beautiful; and we are scarcely surprised at the attempts of those who would persuade us, that all our emotions, to which we give that name, are only one, or a few of these very emotions.
Various forms, colours, sounds, are beautiful,-various results of intellectual composition are beautiful, various moral affections, when contemplated by the mind, are attended with a similar feeling. But we are not to suppose, because there may be a considerable similarity of the emotions excited by these different classes of objects, that any one of the classes comprehends the others, more than colours, which are pleasing, comprehend pleasing odours, or tastes, or these respectively each other. A circle or a melody, a song or a theorem, an act of gratitude or generous forbearance, are all beautiful, as greenness, sweetness, fragrance, are pleasing; and the pleasing exists as truly as the beautiful, and is as fit an object of philosophic investigation.
After these remarks on beauty, it is unnecessary to make any remarks on the opposite emotion,-the same observations, as to their nature, and the circumstances that produce or modify them, being equally applicable to both. As certain forms, colours, sounds, motions, works of art, and moral affections, are contem
plated with delight, the contemplation of certain other forms, colours, sounds, motions, works of art, and affections of our moral nature, is attended with a disagreeable emotion. I have also remarked, that for this opposite emotion, in its full extent, we have no adequate name ;-deformity, and even ugliness,—which is a more general word,-being usually applied only to external things, and not to the intellectual or moral objects of our thought; as we apply beauty alike to all. There can be no doubt, however, that the same analogy, which connects our various emotions of beauty, sensitive, intellectual, and moral, exists equally, in the emotions of this opposite class; and that, though we are not accustomed to speak of the ugly, and to inquire into what constitutes it, as we have been accustomed to inquire into the beautiful, and its supposed constituents, it is only because beauty is the more attractive, and the empire which itself possesses, is possessed, in some measure, by its very name.
After the attention which we have paid to the emotions, that are usually classed together, under the general name of beauty,the emotions, to the consideration of which we have next to proceed, are those which constitute our feelings of sublimity. On these, however, it will not be necessary to dwell at any great length; since you will be able, of yourselves, to apply to them many of the remarks, that were suggested by the consideration of the former species of emotion.
The feeling of sublimity, it may well be supposed, does not arise without a cause, more than our feeling of beauty; but the sublimity which we feel, like the beauty which we feel, is an affection of our mind, not a quality of any thing external. It is a feeling, however, which, like the feeling of beauty, we reflect back on the object that excited it, as if it truly formed a part of the object; and thus, instead of being merely the unknown cause of our emotion,-as when it is philosophically viewed,-the object which impresses itself on our mind, and almost on our senses, as sublime, is felt by us, as our own embodied emotion,-mingled, indeed, with other qualities that are material, but diffused in them with an existence that seems independent of our temporary feeling.
When Dryden said, of one of our most powerful and most delightful passions,
"The cause of love can never be assign'd;
he probably was not aware, that he was saying what was not poetically only, but philosophically true, though in a sense different from that which he meant to convey. It is not the capricious passion alone which the lover feels, as in himself, but the very beauty that is felt by him in the external object, which is as truly an emotion of his own mind as the passion to which it may have given rise. Of all those forms, on which we gaze with a delight that is never weary, because the pleasure which we have felt, as reflected by us to the object, is to us almost a source of the pleasure which we feel at the moment, or are about to feel,-what, I have asked, would the loveliest be, but for the eyes which gaze on it, and which give it all its charms, as they give it the very unity that converts it into the form which we behold? A multitude of separate and independent atoms,-we found ourselves obliged to answer, and nothing more. In like manner, I might ask, what, but for the mind which is impressed with the sublimity, would be the precipice, the cataract, the ocean, the whole system of worlds, that seem at once to fill the immensity of space, and yet to leave on our conception an infinity, which even worlds without number could not fill? To these, too, sublime as they are felt by us to be, it is our mind alone, which gives at once all the unity and sublimity, which they seem to us to possess, as of their own nature. They are, in truth, only a number of atoms, that would be precisely the same in themselves, whether existing near to each other, or at distances the most remote. But it is impossible for us, to regard them merely as a number of atoms; because they affect us with one complex emotion, which we diffuse over them all. When precipice hangs over precipice, and we shrink back on our perilous height, as we strive to look down from the cliff, on the abyss beneath,-in which we rather hear the torrent, than see it, with our shuddering and dazzled eye,—we have one vivid, though complicated feeling, which fills our whole soul; and the whole objects existing separately before us, are one vast and terrifying image of all that is within us. In the hurricane that lays waste, and almost annihilates whatever it meets, there is to our concep tion something more than the mere particles of air that form each successive blast. We animate it with our own feelings. It is not