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tus, though his life was a continued scene But let them recur to the bright examples of the most important actious, he found before alleged ; let them remember that time not only to study, but to compose a
these were eminent in their own way; Treatise upon Virtue.
were men of action and business; men of When these were gone, and the worst of the world; and yet did they not disdain to times succeeded, Thrasea Pætus, and Hel- cultivate philosophy, nay, were many of vidius Priscus, were at the same period them perhaps indebted to her for the splenboth senators and philosophers; and ap- dour of their active character. pear to have supported the severest trials of This reasoning has a farther end. It tyrannic oppression, by the manly system justifies me in the address of these phiof the Stoic moral. The best emperor losophical arrangements, as your Lordwhom the Romans, or perhaps any nation, ship* has been distinguished in either chaever knew, Marcus Antoninus, was in- racter, I mean in your public one, as well volved, during his whole life, in business of as in your private. Those who know the the last consequence; sometimes conspira- history of our foreign transactions, know cies forming, which he was obliged to the reputation that you acquired in Gerdissipate; formidable wars arising at other many, by negotiations of the last imtimes, when he was obliged to take the portance; and those who are honoured field. Yet during none of these periods with your nearer friendship, know that did he forsake philosophy, but still per- you can speculate as well as act, and can sisted in meditation, and in committing employ your pen both with elegance and his thoughts to writing, during moments instruction. gained by stealth from the hurry of courts It may not perhaps be unentertaining and campaigns.
to your Lordship to see in what manner If we descend to later ages, and search the · Preceptor of Alexander the Great our own country, we shall find Sir Tho- arranged his pupil's ideas, so that they mas More, Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter might not cause confusion, for want of Raleigh, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Mil- accurate disposition. It may be thought ton, Algernon Sidney, Sir William Tem- also a fact worthy your notice, that he ple, and many others, to have been all of became acquainted with this method from them eminent in public life, and yet at the the venerable Pythagoras, who, unless he same time conspicuous for their specula- drew it from remoter sources, to us untions and literature. If we look abroad, known, was, perhaps, himself its inventor examples of like characters will occur in and original teacher.
Hurris. other countries. Grotius, the poet, the critic, the philosopher, and the divine, was
§ 214. The Progressions of Art disgustemployed by the court of Sweden as am
ful, the Completion beautiful. bassador to France; and De Witt, that Fables relate that Venus was wedded to acute but unfortunate statesman, that pat- Vulcan, the goddess of beauty to the god tern of parsimony and political accom- of deformity. The tale, as some explain plishments, was an able mathematician, it, gives a double representation of art; wrote upon the elements of Curves, and Vulcan shewing us the progressions of art, applied his algebra with accuracy to the and Venus the completions. The protrade and commerce of his country. gressions, such as the bewing of stone,
And so much in defence of Philosophy, the grinding of colours, the fusion of against those who may possibly undervalue metals, these all of them are laborious, her, because they have succeeded without and many times disgustful; the compleher; those I mean (and it must be confest tions, such as the temple, the palace, the they are many) who, having spent their picture, the statue, these all of them are whole lives in what Milton calls the beauties, and justly call for admiration. “ busy hum of men,” have acquired to Now if logic be one of those arts, themselves habits of amazing efficacy, un- which help to improve human reason, it assisted by the helps of science and erudi- must necessarily be an art of the progrestion. To such the retired student may ap- sive character; an art which, not ending pear an awkward being, because they with itself, has a view to something farwant a just standard to measure his merit. ther. If then, in the speculations upon
* Addressed to the right honourable Thomas Lord Hyde, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, &c.
it, it should appear dry rather than ele- is a gross charm, but who is proof against gant, severe rather than pleasing, let it a gentle and yielding disposition, that inplead, by way of defence, that, though fers your superiority with a delicacy so its importance may be great, it partakes fine, that you cannot see the lines of from its very nature (which cannot be which it is composed ? Generosity, disinchanged) more of the deformed god, than terestedness, a noble of truth that will not of the beautiful goddess.
Harris. deceive, a feeling of the distresses of
others, and greatness of soul, inspires us $ 215. On Conversation.
with admiration along with love, and Conversation does not require the same takes our affections as it were by storm ; merit to please that writing does. The but, above all, we are seduced by a view human soul is endued with a kind of pa- of the tender and affectionate passions; tural expression, which it does not acquire. they carry a soft infection, and the heart The expression I speak of consists in the is betrayed to them by its own forces. If significant modulations and tones of voice, we are to judge from symptoins, the soul accompanied, in unaffected people, by a that engages us so powerfully by its repropriety of gesture. This native lan. flected "glances, is an object of infinite guage was not intended by pature to re- beauty. I observed before, that the mapresent the transitory ideas that come by dulations of the human voice that express the senses to the imagination, but the pas. the soul, move us powerfully; and indeed sions of the mind and its emotions only; we are affected by the natural emotions therefore modulation and gesture give life of the mind expressed in the simplest and passion to words; their mighty force language: in short, the happy art, that, in in oratory is very conspicuous: but al. conversation and the intercourse of life, though their effects be milder in conver- lays hold upon our affections, is but a just sation, yet they are very sensible ; they address to the engaging passions in the agitate the soul by a variety of gentle sen- human breast. But this syren power, sations, and help to form that sweet charm like beauty, is the gift of nature. that makes the most trifling subjects en. Soft pleasing speech and graceful outward show, gaging. This fine expression, which is no arts can gain thein, but the gods bestow. not learned, is not so much taken notice
Pore's How. of as it deserves, because it is much super. From the various combinations of the seseded by the use of artificial and acquired veral endearing passions, and lofty sentilanguage. The modern system of philo- ments, arise the variety of pleasing chasophy has also concurred to shut it out
racters that beautify human society. from our reflections.
There is a different source of pleasure It is in conversation people put on all in conversation from what I have spoken their graces,
appear in the lustre of of, called wit; which diverts the world so good-breeding. It is certain, good-breed- much, that I cannot venture to omit it, ing, that sets so great a distinction be- although delicacy and a refined taste hetween individuals of the same species, sitate a little, and will not allow its value creates nothing new, (I mean a good edu. to be equal to its currency. Wit deals cation) but only draws forth into pros- largely in allusion and whimsical similipect, with skill and address, the agreeable tudes ; its countenance is always double, dispositions and sentiments that lay latent and it unites the true and the fantastic by in the mind. You may call good-breed- a nice gradation of colouring that caning artificial; but it is like the art of a not be perceived. You observe that I am gardener, under whose hand a barren tree only speaking of the ready wit of converputs forth its own bloom, and is enriched sation. with its specific fruit. It is scarce possi- Wit is properly called in to support a ble to conceive any scene so truly agree- conversation where the heart or affections able, as an assembly of people elaborately are not concerned; and its proper busieducated, who assume a character superior ness is to relieve the mind from solitary to ordinary life, and support it with ease inattention, where there is no room to and familiarity.
move it by passion; the mind's eye, when The heart is won in conversation by disengaged, is diverted by being fixed its own passions. Its pride, its grandeur, upon a vapour, that dances, as it were, on its affections, lay it open to the to the surface of the imagination, and conment of an insinuating address. Flattery tinually alters its aspect : the motley
image, whose comic side we had only nal appetite for wit, like those time to survey, is too unimportant to be ever in quest of diversion, betray a me attentively considered, and luckily va- lous minute genius, incapable of thinking, -nishes before we can view it on every side.
Usher. Shallow folks, expect that those who di
$ 216. On Music. verted them in conversation, and made There are few who have not felt the happy bon mots, ought to write well; and charms of music, and acknowledged its imagine that they themselves were made expressions to be intelligible to the heart, to laugh by the force of genius: but they It is a language of delightful sensations, are generally disappointed when they see that is far more eloquent than words : it the admired character descend upon pa- breathes to the ear the clearest intimaper. The truth is, the frivolous turn and tions; but how it was learned, to what habit of a comic companion, is almost dia. origin we owe it, or what is the meaning metrically opposite to true genius, whose of some of its most affecting strains, we natural exercise is deep and slow-paced know not. reflection. You may as well expect that a
We feel plainly that music touches and man should, like Cæsar, form consistent gently agitates the agreeable and sublime schemes for subduing the world, and em- passions ; that it wraps us in melancholy, ploy the principal part of his time in and elevates in joy; that it dissolves and catching fies. I have often beard people inflames; that it melts us in tenderness, express a surprise, that Swift and Addic and rouses to rage: but its strokes are so son, the two greatest masters of humour fine and delicate, that, like a tragedy, even of the last age, were easily put out of the passions that are wounded please ; countenance, as if pun, mimicry, or repar. its sorrows are charming, and its rage hetee, were the offspring of genius. roic and delightful; as people feel the
Whatever similitude may be between particular passions with different degrees humour in writing, and humour in con, of force, their taste of harmony must proversation, they are generally found to portionably vary. Music thea is a lanrequire different talents. 'Humour in guage directed to the passions, but the writing is the offspring of reflection, and rudest passions put on a new nature and is by niee touches and labour brought become pleasing in harmony: let me to wear the negligent air of nature; where- add, also, that it awakens some passions as, wit in conversation is an enemy to re- which we perceive not in ordinary life, flection, and glows brightest when the Particularly the most elevated sensation imagination Alings off the thought the of music arises from a confused percep, snoment it arises, in its genuine new-born tion of ideal or visionary beauty and rapdress. Men a little elevated by liquor, ture, which is sufficiently perceivable to seem to have a peculiar facility at striking fire the imagination, but not plear enough out the capricious and fantastic images that to become an object of knowledge. This raise our mirth ; in fact, what we generally shadowy beauty the mind attempts, with
! admire in sallies of wit, is the nicety with a languishing curiosity, to collect into a
a which they touch upon the verge of folly, distinct object of view and comprehenindiscretion, or malice, while at the same sion; but it sinks and escapes, like the time they preserve thought, subtlety, and dissolving ideas of a delightful dream, good humour; and what we laugh at is that are neither within the reach of the the motley appearance, whose whimsical memory, nor yet totally fled. The noblest consistency we cannot account for. charm of music then, though real and af
People are pleased at wit for the same fecting, seems too confused and fluid to reason that they are food of diversion of be collected into a distinct idea, Har, any kind, not for the worth of the thing, mony is always understood by the crowd, but because the mind is not able to bear and almost always mistaken by musicians; an intense train of thinking; and yet the who are, with bardly any exception, serceasing of thought is insufferable, or ra- vile followers of the taste of mode, and ther impossible. In such an uneasy di- who, having expended much time and lemma, the unsteady excursions of wit pains on the mechanic and practical part, give the mind its natural action, without lay a stress on the dexterities of hand, fatigue, and relieve it delightfully, by em- which yet have no real value, but as they ploying the imagination without requiring serve to produce those collections of any reflection, Those who have an eter sound that move the passions. The
sent Italian taste for music is exactly cor- not hope in our time to rescue the sacred respondent to the taste of tragi-comedy, lyre, and see it put into the hands of men that about a century ago gained ground of genius, I can only recall you to your upon the stage. The musicians of the own natural feeling of harmony, and obpresent day are charmed at the union they serve to you, that its emotions are not form between the grave and the fantastic, found in the laboured, fantastic and surand at the surprising transitions they make prising compositions that form the mobetween extremes, while every hearer who dern style of music: but you meet them has the least remainder of the taste of na- in some few pieces that are the growth of ture left, is shocked at the strange jargon. wild, unvitiated taste : you discover them If the same taste should prevaii in paint- in the swelling sounds that wrap us in ing, we must soon expect to see the wo- imaginary grandeur ; in those plaintive man's head, a horse's body, and a fish's notes that make us in love with woe; in tail, united by soft gradations, greatly ad. the tones that utter the lover's sighs, and mired at our public exhibitions. Musi- fluctuate the breast with gentle pain ; in cal gentlemen should take particular care the noble strokes that coil up the courage to preserve in its full vigour and sensibi- and fury of the soul, or that lull it in conlity their original natural taste, which fused visions of joy: in short, in those alone feels and discovers the true beauty affecting strains that find their way to the of music.
inward recesses of the heart : If Milton, Sbakspeare, or Dryden, had
Untwisting all the chains that tie been born with the same genius and in- The bidden soul of harmony. spiration for music as for poetry, and had
Usher. passed through the practical part without corrupting the natural taste, or blending
$ 217. On Sculpture and Painting. with it prepossession in favour of the Sculpture and painting have their standslights and dexterities of hand, the would ard in nature; and their principles differ their notes be tuned to passions and to only according to the different materials sentiments as natural and expressive as made use of in these arts.
The variety the topes and modulations of the voice in of his colours, and the flat surface on discourse. The music and the thought which the painter is at liberty to raise bis would not make different expressions: the magic objects, give him a vast scope for hearers would only think impetuously; ornament, variety, harmony of parts, and and the effect of the music would be to opposition, to please the mind, and divert give the ideas a tumultuous violence and it from too strict an examination. The divine impulse upon the mind. Any per- sculptor being so much confined, has noson conversant with the classic poets, sees thing to inove with but beauty, passion, instantly that the passionate power of and force of attitude ; sculpture therefore music I speak of, was perfectly under-. admits of no mediocrity; its works are stood and practised by the ancients; that either intolerable, or very fine. In Greece, the muses of the Greeks always sung, and the finishing of a single statue was often
, their song was the echo of the subject, the work of many years. which swelled their poetry into enthusiasm Sculpture and painting take their merit and rapture. An inquiry into the nature from the same spirit that poetry does; a and merits of the ancient music, and a justness, a grandeur, and force of exprescomparison thereof with modern compo- sion; and their principal objects are, the sition, by a person of poetic genius and sublime, the beautiful, and the passionate. an admirer of harmony, who is free from Painting, on account of its great latitude, shackles of practice, and the prejudices of approaches also very near to the variety the mode, aided by the countenance of a of poetry; in general their principles vary few men of rank, of elevated and true only according to the different materials taste, would probably lay the present half of each Gothic mode of music in ruins, like those Poetry is capable of taking a series of towers of whose little laboured ornaments successive facts, which comprehend a it is an exact picture, and restore the Gre- whole action from the beginning. It puts cian taste of passionate barmony once the passions in motion gradually, and more, to the delight and wonder of man- winds them up by successive efforts, that kind. But
as, from the disposition of all conduce to the intended effect; the things, and the force of fashion, we can- mind could never be agitated so violently,
if the storm bad not come on by degrees: your eye to the principal object where it besides, language, by its capacity of re- rests; in giving such a glance or confused presenting thoughts, of forming the com- view of those that retire out of prospect, munication of mind with mind, and descri- as to raise curiosity, and create in the bing emotions, takes in several great, aw- iinagination affecting ideas that do not apful, and passionate ideas that colours can- pear; and in bestowing as much life and not represent: but the painter is confined action as possible, without overcharging to objects of vision, or to one point or in- the piece. “A landscape is enlivened by stant of time; and is not to bring into putting the animated figures into action; view any events which did not, or at by flinging over it the cheerful aspect least might not happen, at one and the which the sun bestows, either by a proper same instant. The chief art of the his- disposition of shade, or by the appearances tory-painter, is to hit upon a point of that beautify his rising or setting; and by time, that unites the whole successive ac- a judicious prospect of water, which altion in one view, and strikes out the emo- ways conveys the ideas of motion : a few tion you are desirous of raising. Some dishevelled clouds have the same effect, painters have had the power of preserving but with somewhat less vivacity. the traces of a receding passion, or the The excellence of portrait-painting and mixed, disturbed emotions of the mind, sculpture springs from the same principles without impairing the principal passion that affect us in life; they are not the perThe Medea of Timomachus was a mira- sons who perform at a comedy or a tracle of this kind; her wild love, her rage, gedy we go to see with so much pleasure, and her maternal pity, were all poured but the passions and emotions they display: forth to the eye, in one portrait. From in like manner, the value of statues and this mixture of passions, which is in na- pictures rises in proportion to the strength ture, the murderess appeared dreadfully and clearness of the expression of the pasaffecting.
sions, and to the peculiar and distinguishIt is very necessary, for the union of ing air of character. Great painters aldesign in painting, that one principal fi- most always choose a face to exhibit the gure appear eminently in view, and that passions in. If you recollect what I said on all the rest be subordinate to it: that is, beauty, you will easily conceive the reason the passion or attention of that principal why the agreeable passions are most lively object should give a cast to the whole in a beautiful face; beauty is the natural piece: for instance, if it be a wrestler, or vehicle of the agreeable passions. For the a courser in the race, the whole scene same reason the tempestuous passions apshould not only be active, but the atten- pear strongest in a fine face; it suffers the tions and passions of the rest of the figures most violent derangement by them. To should all be directed by that object. If which we may add, upon the same prinit be a fisherman over the stream, the ciple, that dignity or courage cannot be whole scene must be silent and meditative; mixed in a very ill-favoured countenance; if ruios, a bridge, or waterfall, even the and that the painter, after exerting his living persons must be subordinate, and whole skill, finds in their stead pride and the traveller should gaze and look back terror. These observations, which have with wonder. This strict union and con- been often made, serve to illustrate our cord is rather more necessary in painting thoughts on beauty. Besides the strict prothan in poetry; the reason is, paioting is priety of nature, sculpture and figurealmost palpably a deception, and requires painting is a kind of description, which, the utmost skill in selecting a vicinity of like poetry, is under the direction of geprobable ideas, to give it the air of reality nius; that, while it preserves nature, someand nature. For this reason also nothing times, in a fine flight of fancy, throws an strange, wonderful, or shocking to credu- ideal splendour over the figures that never lity, ought to be admitted in paintings that existed in real life. Such is the sublime are designed after real life.
and celestial character that breathes over The principal art of the landscape- the Apollo Belvedere, and the inexprespainter lies in selecting those objects of sible beauties that dwell upon the Venus view that are beautiful or great, provided of Medici, and seem to shed an illuminathere be a propriety and a just neighbour- tion around her. This superior beauty hood preserved in the assemblage, along must be varied with propriety, as well as with a careless distribution that solicits the passions; the elegance of Juno must