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vinced of this; and indeed so full was he of this idea, so entirely possessed with the power of a well managed darkness, that, in describing the appear. ance of the Deity, amidst that profusion of magnificent images which the grandeur of bis subject pro. vokes him to pour out upon every side, he is far from forgetting the obscurity which surrounds the most incomprehensible of all beings, but
.... With the majesty of darkness round
Circles his throne. And, what is no less remarkable, our author had the secret of preserving this idea, even when he seemed to depart the farthest from it, when he describes the light and glory which flow from the divine presence: a light which, by its very excess, is converted into a species of darkness :
Dark with excessive light thy skirts appear. Here is an idea not only poetical in a high degree, but strictly and philosophically just. Extreme light, hy overcoming the organs of sight, obliterates all objects, so as in its effect exactly to resemble darkness. After looking for some time at the sun, two black spots, the impression which it leaves, seem to dance before our eyes. Thus are two ideas, as opposite as can be imagined, reconciled in the extremes of both; and both, in spite of their opposite nature, brought to concur in producing the sublime. And this is not the only instance wherein the opposite extremes operate equally in favour of the sublime, which in all things abhors mediocrity.
SECT. XVI.-LIGHT IN BUILDING. As the management of light is a matter of importance in architecture, it is worth inquiring how far this remark is applicable to building. I think, tben, that all edifices, calculated to produce an idea of the sublime, ought rather to be dark and gloomy; and this for two reasons; the first is that darkness itself, on other occasions, is known by experience to have a greater effect on the passions than light. The second is, that to make an object very striking, we should make it as different as possible from the objects with which we have been immediately conversant; when, therefore, you enter a building, you cannot pass into a greater light than you had in the open air: to go into one some few degrees less luminous, can make only a trifling change : but, to make the transition thoroughly striking, you ought to pass from the greatest light to as much darkness as is consistent with the uses of architecture. At night the contrary rule will hold, but for the very same reason; and the more highly a room is then illuminated, the grander will the passion be.
SECT. XVII. -COLOUR CONSIDERED AS
PRODUCTIVE OF THE SUBLIME.
AMONG colours, such as are soft or cheerful (ex. cept, perhaps, a strong red, which is cheerful), are unfit to produce grand images. Animmense moun. tain, covered with a shining green turf, is nothing in this respect to one dark and gloomy; the cloudy sky is more grand than the blue, and night more sublime and solemn than day. Therefore, in historical painting, a gay or gaudy drapery can never have a happy effect: and in buildings, when the highest degree of the sublime is intended, the materials and ornaments ought neither to be white, nor green, nor yellow, nor blue, nor of a pale red, nor violet, nor spotted, but of sad and fuscous colours, as black or brown, or deep purple, and the like. Much of gilding, mosaics, painting, or statues, con. tribute but little to the sublime. This rule need not be put in practice except where a uniform degree of the most striking sublimity is to be produced, and that in every particular; for it ought to be observed, that this melancholy kind of greatness, though it be certainly the highest, ought not to be studied in all sorts of edifices where yet grandeur must be studied; in such cases the sublimity must be drawn from the other sources, with a strict cau. tion, however, against any thing light and riant; as nothing so effectually deadens the whole taste of the sublime,
SECT, XVIII.-SOUND AND LOUDNESS. The eye is not the only organ of sensation by which a sublime passion may be produced. Sounds have a great power in these as in most other passions. I do not mean words, because words do not affect simply by their sounds, but by means altogether different. Excessive loudness alone is sufficient to overpower the soul, to suspend its action, and to fill it with terror. The noise of vast cataracts, raging storms, thunder, or artillery, awakes a great and awful sensation in the mind, though we can observe no nicety or artifice in those sorts of music. The shouting of multitudes has a similar effect; and by the sole strength of the sound, so amazes and confounds the imagination, that, in this staggering and hurry of the mind, the best established tempers can scarcely forbear being borne down, and joining in the common cry and common resolution of the crowd.
SECT. XIX.-SUDDENNESS. A SUDDEN beginning, or sudden cessation of sound of any considerable force, has the same power. The attention is roused by this; and the faculties driven forward, as it were, on their guard. Whatever, either in sights or sounds, makes the transi. tion from one extreme to the other easy, causes no terror, and consequently can be no cause of greatness. In every thing sudden and unexpected, we are apt to start; that is, we have a perception of danger, and our nature rouses us to guard against it. It may be observed, that a single sound of some strength, though but of short duration, if repeated after intervals, has a grand effect. Few things are more awful than the striking of a great clock, when the silence of the night prevents the attention from being too much dissipated. The same may be said of a single stroke of a drum repeated with pauses, and of the successive firing of cannon at a distance. All the effects mentioned in this section have causes very nearly alike.
SECT. XX-INTERMITTING. A Low, tremulous, intermitting sound, though it seems in some respects opposite to that just mentioned, is productive of the sublime. It is worth' while to examine this a little. The fact itself must be determined by every man's own experience and reflection. I have already observed, that night in creases our terror more perhaps than any thing else; it is our nature, when we do not know what may happen to us, to fear the worst that can happen; and hence it is, that uncertainty is so terrible, tbat we often seek to be rid of it, at the hazard of a
# Sect. 3,
certain mischief. Now, some low, confused, uncertain sound leaves us in the same fearful anxiety concerning their causes, that no light, or an uncertain light, does concerning the objects that surround us.
Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna
A faint shadow of uncertain light,
Spenser. But a light now appearing, and now leaving us, and so off and on, is even more terrible than total dark. ness : and a sort of uncertain sounds are, when the necessary dispositions concur, more alarming than a total silence.
SECT. XXI.-THE CRIES OF ANIMALS. SUCH sounds as imitate the natural inarticulate voices of men, or any animals in pain or danger, are capable of conveying great ideas, unless it be the well known voice of some creature on which we are used to look with contempt. The angry tones of wild beasts are qually capable of causing a great and awful sensation.
Hinc exaudiri gemitus, iræque leonum
Sævire; et formæ magnorum ululare luporum. It might seem that these modulations of sound carry some connexion with the nature of the things they represent, and are not merely arbitrary; because the natural cries of all animals, even of those animals with whom we have not been acquainted, never fail to make themselves sufficiently under. stood; this cannot be said of language. The modifications of sound, which may be productive of the