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GRACEFULNESS is an idea not very different from beauty; it consists in much the same things. Grace. fulness is an idea belonging to posture and motion. In both these to be graceful, it is requisite that there be no appearance of difficulty; there is required a small inflection of the body; and a composure of the parts in such a manner as not to encumber each other, nor to appear divided by sharp and sudden angles. In this ease, this roundness, this delicacy of attitude and motion, it is that all the magic of grace consists, and what is called its je ne sçai quoi; as will be obvious to any observer who considers attentively the Venus de Medicis, the Antinous, or any statue generally allowed to be graceful in a high degree.
SECT. XXIII.-ELEGANCE AND SPECIOUSNESS.
When any body is composed of parts smooth and polished, without pressing upon each other, without shewing any ruggedness or confusion, and at the same time affecting some regular shape, I call it elegant. It is closely allied to the beautiful, differing from it only in this regularity; which, however, as it makes a very material difference in the affection produced, may very well constitute another species. Under this head I rank those delicate and regular works of art that imitate no determinate object in nature, as elegant buildings and pieces of furniture. When any object partakes of the abovementioned qualities, or of those of beautiful bodies, and is withal of great dimensions, it is full as remote from the idea of mere beauty, I call it fine or specious.
SECT. XXIV. -THE BEAUTIFUL IN FEELING.
TAE foregoing description of beauty, so far as it is taken in by the eye, may be greatly illustrated by describing the nature of objects which produce a similar effect through the touch. This I call the beautiful in Feeling. It corresponds wonderfully with what causes the same species of pleasure to the sight. There is a chain in all our sensations; they are all but different sorts of feelings, calculated to be affected by various sorts of objects, but all to be affected after the same manner. All bodies that are pleasant to the touch are so by the slightness of the resistance they make. Resistance is either to motion along the surface, or to the pressure of the parts on one another; if the former be slight, we call the body smooth; if the latter, soft. The chief pleasure we receive by feeling is in the one or the other of these qualities; and, if there be a combination of both, our pleasure is greatly increased. This is so plain, that it is rather more fit to illustrate other things, than to be illustrated itself by an example. The next source of pleasure in this sense, as in every other, is the continually presenting somewhat new; and we find that bodies which continually vary their surface, are much the most pleasant or beautiful to the feeling, as any one that pleases may experience. The third property in such objects is, that, though the surface continually varies its direction, it never varies it suddenly. The application of any thing sudden, even though the im. pression itself have little or nothing of violence, is disagreeable. The quick application of a finger, a little warmer or colder than usual, without notice, makes us start; a slight tap on the shoulder, not
expected, has the same effect. Hence it is that an.
. gular bodies, bodies that suddenly vary the direction of the outline, afford so little pleasure to the feeling. Every such change is a sort of climbing or falling in miniature; so that squares, triangles, and other angular figures, are neither beautiful to the sight nor feeling. Whoever compares his state of mind, on feeling soft, smooth, variegated, unangular bodies, with that in which he finds himself, on the view of a beautiful object, will perceive a very strik. ing analogy in the effects of both, and which may go a good way towards discovering their common cause. Feeling and sight, in this respect, differ in but a few points. The touch takes in the pleasure of softness, which is not primarily an object of sight; the sight, on the other hand, comprehends colour, which can hardly be made perceptible to the touch: the touch again has the advantage in a new idea of pleasure resulting from a moderate degree of warmth; but the eye triumphs in the infinite extent and multiplicity of its objects. But there is such a similitude in the pleasures of these senses, that I am apt to fancy, if it were possible that one might discern colour by feeling (as, it is said, some blind men have done), that the same colours, and the same disposition of colouring which are found beautiful to the sight, would be found likewise most grateful to the touch. But, setting aside conjectures, let us pass to the other sense-of Hearing.
SECT. XXV.THE BEAUTIFUL IN SOUNDS. In this sense we find an equal aptitude to be affected in a soft and delicate manner; and how far sweet or beautiful sounds agree with our descriptions of beauty in other senses, the experience of every one must decide. Milton has described this species of
music in one of his juvenile poems. I need not say that Milton was perfectly well versed in that art; and that no man had a finer ear, with a happier manner of expressing the affections of one sense by metaphors taken from another. The de. scription is as follows:
And ever, against eating cares,
The hidden soul of harmony. Let us parallel this with the softness, the winding surface, the unbroken continuance, the easy gradation of the beautiful in other things; and all the diversities of the several senses, with all their several affections, will rather help to throw lights from one another to finish one clear consistent idea of the whole, than to obscure it by their intricacy and variety.
To the abovementioned description I shall add one or two remarks. The first is, that the beautiful in music will not bear that loudness and strength of sounds which may be used to raise other passions; nor notes, which are shrill, or harsh, or deep: it agrees best with such as are clear, even, smooth, and weak. The second is, that great variety and quick transitions from one measure or tone to an. other are contrary to the genius of the beautiful in music. Such transitionst often excite mirth or other sudden and tumultuous passions; but not that sinking, that melting, that languor, which is the characteristical effect of the beautiful, as it regards every sense. The passion excited by beauty is ir fact nearer to a species of melancholy, than to
* L'Allegro. + I ne'er am merry when I hear sweet music.-Shakspeare,
jollity and mirth. do not here mean to confine music to any one species of notes or tones, neither is it an art in which I can say I have any great skill. My sole design in this remark is to settle a consistent idea of beauty. The infinite variety of the affections of the soul will suggest to a good head and skilful ear a variety of such sounds as are fitted to raise them. It can be no prejudice to this, to clear and distinguish some few particulars that belong to the same class, and are con. sistent with each other, from the immense crowd of different, and sometimes contradictory ideas, that rank vulgarly under the standard of beauty. And of these it is my intention to mark such only of the leading points as shew the conformity of the sense of hearing, with all the other senses in the article of their pleasures.
SECT. XXVI.-TASTE AND SMELL.
This general agreement of the senses is yet more evident on minutely considering those of taste and smell. We metaphorically apply the idea of sweetness to sights and sounds; but as the qualities bodies, by which they are fitted to excite either plea. sure or pain in these senses, are not so obvious as they are in the others, we shall refer an explanation of their analogy, which is a very close one, to that part wherein we come to consider the common efficient cause of beauty as it regards all the senses. I do not think any thing better fitted to establish a clear and settled idea of visual beauty than this way of examining the similar pleasures of other senses; for one part is sometimes clear in one of these senses, that is more obscure in another; and, where there is a clear concurrence of all, we may with more certainty speak of any one of them. By this means