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and upon the strictest examination, the same appears to hold in grace.
Confining then grace to man, the next inquiry is, whether, like beauty, it makes a constant appearance or in some circumstances only. Does a person display this attribute at rest as well as in motion, asleep as when awake? It is undoubtedly connected with motion; for when the most graceful person is at reft, neither moving nor speaking, we lose sight of that quality as much as of colour in the dark. Grace then is an agreeable attribute, inseparable from motion as opposed to rest, and as comprehending speech, looks gestures, and loco-motion.
As some motions are homely, the opposite to graceful, the next inquiry is, with what motions is this attribute connected ? No man appears graceful in a mask; and, therefore, laying aside the expressions of the countenance, the other motions may be genteel, may be elegant, but of themselves never are graceful. A motion adjusted in the most perfect manner to answer its end, is elegant; but still somewhat more is required to complete our idea of grace, or gracefulness.
What this unknown more may be, is the nice , point. One thing is clear from what is said, that this more must arise from the expression of the countenance : and from what expressions fo naturally as from those which indicate mental qualities, such as sweetness, benevolence, elevation, dignity? This promises to be a fair analy
fis; because of all objects mental qualities affect us the most ; and the impression made by grace. ful appearance upon every spectator of tafte, is too deep for any cause purely corporeal.
The next step is, to examine what are the mental qualities, that, in conjunction with elegance of motion, produce a graceful appearance. Sweetness, cheerfulness, affability, are not separately sufficient, nor even in conjunction. As it appears to me, dignity alone with elegant mo
tion may produce a graceful appearance ; but I still more graceful, with the aid of other quali. ties, those especially that are the most exalted.
But this is not all. The most exalted virtues may be the lot of a person whose countenance has little expression : such a person cannot be graceful. Therefore, to produce this appearance, we must add another circumstance, namely, an expreffive courtenance, displaying to eve. ry spectator of tafte, with life and energy, every thing that passes in the mind.
Collecting these circumstances together, grace may be defined, that agreeable appearance which arises from elegance of motion, and from a countenance expressive of dignity. Expressions of other mental qualities are not essential to that appearance, but they heighten it greatly.
Of all external objects, a graceful person is the most agreeable.
Dancing affords great opportunity for display. ing grace, and haranguing still more.
I conclude with the following reflection, That in vain will a person attempt to be graceful, who is deficient in amiable qualities. A man, it is true, may form an idea of qualities he is destitute of; and, by means of that idea, may endeavour to express these qualities by looks and gestures : but such studied expression will be too faint and obscure to be graceful.
To define ridicule has puzzled and vexed I every critic. The definition given by Aristotle is obscure and imperfect *. Cicero handles it at great length t; but without giving any satisfaction: he wanders in the dark, and inisses the distinction between risible and ridiculous. Quintilian is sensible of the distinction I, but has not attempted to explain it. Luckily this subject lies no longer in obscurity : a risible object produceth an emotion of laughter merelys: a ridiculous object is improper as well as risible; and produceth a mixt emotion, which is vented by a laugh of derision or scorn ||.
Having therefore happily unravelled the knotty part, I proceed to other particulars. | Burlesque, though a great engine of ridicule, is not confined to that subject ; for it is clearly di
* Poet. cap. 5.
+ L. 2. De Oratore. | Ideoque anceps ejus rei ratio eft, quod a derisu non procul abest risus ; lib. 6. cap. 3. § 1. $ See Chap: 7.
|| See Chap. 1o.
stinguishable into burlesque that excites laughter merely, and burlesque that provokes derision or ridicule. A grave subject in which there is no impropriety, may be brought down by a certain colouring so as to be risible; which is the case of Virgil Travestie *; and also the case of the Secchia Rapita †: the authors laugh first, in order to make their readers laugh. The Lutrin is a burlesque poem of the other fort, laying hold of a low and trifling incident, to expose the luxury, indolence, and contentious spirit of a set of monks. Boileau, the author, gives a ridiculous air to the subject, by dressing it in the heroic style, and affecting to consider it as of the utmost dignity and importance. In a composition of this kind, no image professedly ludicrous ought to find quarter, because such images destroy the contrast ; and, accordingly, the author shows always the grave face, and never once betrays a smile.
Though the burlesque that aims at ridicule, produces its effect by elevating the style far above the subject, yet it has limits beyond which the elevation ought not to be carried : the poet, consulting the imagination of his readers, ought to confine himself to such images as are lively, and readily apprehended : a strained elevation, soaring above an ordinary reach of fancy, makes not a pleasant impression: the reader, fatigued