Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

veral products of art and nature, which does not work in the imagination with that warmth and violence as the beauty that appears in our proper species, but is apt, however, to raise in us a secret delight, and a kind of fondness for the places or objects in which we discover it. This consists either in the gaiety or variety of colours, in the symmetry and proportion of parts, in the arrangement and disposition of bodies, or in a just mixture and concurrence of all together.

Among these kinds of beauty the eye takes most delight in L colours. We nowhere meet with a more glorious or pleasing

show in nature, than what appears in the heavens at the rising and setting of the sun, which is wholly made up of those different stains of light that show themselves in clouds of a different situation. For this reason we find the poets, who are always addressing themselves to the imagination, borrowing more of their epithets from colours than from any other topic.

As the fancy delights in everything that is great, strange, or beautiful, and is still more pleased the more it finds of these perfections in the same object, so is it capable of receiving new satisfaction by the assistance of another sense. Thus any continued sound, as the music of birds, or a fall of water, awakens every moment the mind of the beholder, and makes him more attentive to the several beauties of the place that lie before him. Thus if there arises a fragrancy of smells or perfumes, they heighten the pleasures of the imagination, and make even the colours and verdure of the landscape appear more agreeable ; for the ideas of both senses recommend each other, and are pleasanter together than when they enter the mind separately: as the different colours of a picture, when they are well disposed, set off one another, and receive an additional beauty from the advantage of their situation.

By the dexterous application of what, which, and that, a sentence something embarrassed and incorrect is made to run off so well, that few readers are, perhaps, disgusted with it. But tho fault is ony palliated by this management, and not avoided.

No. 413. TUESDAY, JUNE 24.

-Causa latet, vis est notissima- Ovid. Though in yesterday's paper we considered how every. thing that is great, new, or beautiful, is apt to affect the imagination with pleasure, we must own that it is impossible for us to assign the necessary cause of this pleasure, because we know neither the nature of an idea, nor the substance of an human soul, which might help us to discover the conformity or disagreeableness of the one to the other; and therefore, for want of such a light, all that we can do in speculations of this kind is to reflect on those operations of the soul that are most agreeable, and to range, under their proper heads, what is pleasing or displeasing to the mind, without being able to trace out the several necessary and efficient causes from whence the pleasure or displeasure arises.

Final causes lie more bare and open to our observation, as there are often a greater variety that belong to the same effect; and these, though they are not altogether so satisfactory, are generally more useful than the other, as they give us greater occasion of admiring the goodness and wisdom of the first contriver,

One of the final causes of our delight in anything that is great, may be this. The Supreme Author of our being has so formed the soul of man, that nothing but himself can be its last, adequate, and proper happiness. Because, therefore, a great part of our happiness must arise from the contemplation of his Being, that he might give our souls a just relish of such a contemplation, he has made them naturally delight in the apprehension of what is great or unlimited. Our admiration, which is a very pleasing motion of the mind, immediately rises at the consideration of any object that takes up a great deal of room in the fancy, and, by consequence, will improve into the highest pitch of astonishinent and devotion when we contemplate his nature, that is neither circumscribed by time nor place, nor to be comprehended by the largest capacity of a created being.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

a

From whence.] Better, from which, or rather after cāüsės,-rhens

VOL. III.

[ocr errors]

He has annexed a secret pleasure to the idea of anything that is new or uncommon, that he might encourage us in the pursuit after knowledge, and engage us to search into the wonders of his creation ; for every new idea brings such a pleasure along with it, as rewards any pains we have taken in its acquisition, and consequently serves as a motive to put us upon fresh discoveries.

He has made everything that is beautiful in our own species pleasant, that all creatures might be tempted to mul. tiply their kind, and fill the world with inhabitants; for it is very remarkable, that wherever nature is crost in the production of a monster (the result of any unnatural mix. ture) the breed is incapable of propagating its likeness, and of founding a new order of creatures; so that unless all ani. mals were allured by the beauty of their own species, generation would be at an end, and the earth unpeopled.

In the last place, he has made everything that is beautiful in all other objects pleasant, or rather has made so many objects appear beautiful, that he might render the whole creation more gay and delightful. He has given almost everything about us the power of raising an agreeable idea in the imagination : so that it is impossible for us to behold his works with coldness or indifference, and to survey so many beauties without a secret satisfaction and complacency. Things would make but a poor appearance to the eye, if we saw them only in their proper figures and motions: and what reason can we assign for their exciting in us many of those ideas which are different from anything that exists in the objects themselves, (for such are light and colours,) were not it tol add supernumerary ornaments to the universe, and make it more agreeable to the imagination ? We are everywhere entertained with pleasing shows and apparitions, we discover imaginary glories in the heavens, and in the earth, and see some of this visionary beauty poured out upon the whole creation; but what a rough, unsightly sketch of nature should we be entertained with, did all her colouring disappear, and the several distinctions of light and shade vanish P In short, our souls are at present delightfully lost and be. wildered in a pleasant delusion, and we walk about like the enchanted hero of a romance, who sees beautiful castles,

"Not it to, is hardly to be pronounced. I wonder he did not choose to nay, were it not to.

a

woods, and meadows; and at the same time hears the war. bling of birds, and the purling of streams; but upon the finishing of some secret spell, the fantastic scene breaks up, and the disconsolate knight finds himself on a barren heath, or in a solitary desert. It is not improbable that something like this may be the state of the soul after its first separation, in respect of the images it will receive from matter, though indeed the ideas of colours are so pleasing and beautiful in the imagination, that it is possible the soul will not be deprived of them, but perhaps find them excited by some other occasional cause, as they are at present by the different impressions of the subtle matter or the organ of sight.

I have here supposed that my reader is acquainted with that great modern discovery, which is at present universally acknowledged by all the inquirers into natural philosophy : namely, that light and colours, as apprehended by the imagination, are only ideas in the mind, and not qualities that have any existence in matter. As this is a truth which has been proved incontestably by many modern philosophers, and is indeed one of the finest speculations in that science, if the English reader would see the notion explained at large, he may find it in the eighth chapter of the second book of Mr. Locke's Essay on Human Understanding.

.my garden by

profit as No. 414. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25. 14ows,

a

יו

-Alterius sic
Altera poscit opem res et conjurat amicé. HOR.

ng If we consider the works of nature and art, as they are qualified to entertain the imagination, we shall find the last very defective, in comparison of the former; for though they may sometimes appear as beautiful or strange, they can have nothing in them of that vastness and immensity, which afford 80 great an entertainment to the mind of the beholder. The one may be as polite and delicate as the other, but can never show herself so august and magnificent in the design. There is something more bold and masterly in the rough, careless strokes of nature, than in the nice touches and embellish. ments of art. The beauties of the most stately garden or palace lie in a narrow compass, the imagination immediately

%D?

a

runs them over, and requires something else to gratify her ; but, in the wide fields of nature, the sight wanders up and

down without confinement, and is fed with an infinite vakriety of images, without any certain stint or number. For

this reason we always find the poet in love with a country
life, where nature appears in the greatest perfection, and
furnishes out all those scenes that are most apt to delight
the imagination.

Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus, et fugit urbes. HoR.
Hic secura quies, et nescia fallere vita,
Dives opum variarum ; hic latis otia fundis,
Speluncæ, vivique lacus, hic frigida Tempe,

Mugitusque boum, mollesque sub arbore somni. VIRG.'
But though there are several of these wild scenes, that are
more delightful than any artificial shows; yet we find the
works of nature still more pleasant, the more they resemble
those of art; for in this case our pleasure rises from a double
principle; from the agreeableness of the objects to the eye,
and from their similitude to other objects: we are pleased
as well with comparing their beauties, as with surveying
them, and can represent them to our minds, either as co-
pies or originals. Hence it is that we take delight in a
sirospect which is well laid out, and diversified with fields

aus, woods and rivers ; in those accidental land. Ndrees, clouds, and cities, that are sometimes found eins of marble; in the curious fret-work of rocks, and joes; and, in a word, in anything that hath such a variety or regularity as may seem the effect of design, in what we call the works of chance.

If the products of nature rise in value, according as they more or less resemble those of art, we may be sure that arti. ficial works receive a greater advantage from their resemblance of such as are natural; because here the similitude is not only pleasant, but the pattern more perfect. The prettiest landscape I ever saw, was one drawn on the walls of a dark room, which stood opposite on one side to 'a navigable river, and on the other to a park. The experiment is very common in optics. Here you might discover the waves and fluctuations of the water in strong and proper coswurs, with the picture of a ship entering at one end, and sailing by degrees through the whole piece. On another there appeared the green shadows of trees, waving to and

#

« ПредишнаНапред »