Puslapio vaizdai

resemble the latter, being, like them, produced by external objects; but they also resemble the former, being, like them, produced without any fenfible organic impreffion. Their mixt nature and middle place between organic and intellec tual pleasures, qualify them to affociate with both; beauty heightens all the organic feelings, as well as the intellectual: harmony, though it afpires to inflame devotion, difdains not to improve the relish of a banquet.

The pleasures of the eye and the ear have other valuable properties beside those of dignity and elevation being fweet and moderately exhilarating, they are in their tone equally distant from the turbulence of paffion, and the languor of indolence; and by that tone are perfectly well qualified, not only to revive the fpirits when funk by fenfual gratification, but also to relax them when overftrained in any violent purfuit. Here is a remedy provided for many diftreffes; and, to be convinced of its falutary effects, it will be fufficient to run over the following par ticulars. Organic pleafures have naturally a short duration; when prolonged, they lose their relish; when indulged to excefs, they beget fatiety and disgust: and, to restore a proper tone of mind, nothing can be more happily contrived than the exhilarating pleasures of the eye and ear. On the other hand, any intense exercise of intellectual powers, becomes painful by overftraining the mind: ceffation from fuch exercife

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gives not inftant relief; it is neceffary that the void be filled with fome amusement, gently relaxing the fpirits *: organic pleasure, which hath no relish but' while we are in vigour, is ill qualified for that office; but the finer pleasures of fense, which occupy without exhaufting the mind, are finely qualified to reftore its ufual tone after fevere application to study or business, as well as after fatiety from fenfual gratification.

Our first perceptions are of external objects, and our first attachments are to them. Organic pleasures take the lead: but the mind, gradually ripening, relifheth more and more the pleasures of the eye and ear; which approach the purely mental, without exhaufting the fpirits; and exceed the purely fenfual, without danger of fatiety. The pleasures of the eye and ear have accordingly a natural aptitude to draw us from the immoderate gratification of fenfual appetite; and the mind, once accustomed to enjoy a variety of external objects without being fenfible of the organic impreffion, is prepared for enjoying internal objects where there cannot be an organic impreffion. Thus the Author of nature, by qualifying the human mind for a fucceffion of enjoyments from low to high, leads it by gentle fteps from the moft grovelling corporeal plea

Du Bos judiciously obferves, that filence doth not tend to calm an agitated mind; but that soft and flow mufic hath a fine effect.


fures, for which only it is fitted in the beginning of life, to thofe refined and fublime pleafures that are fuited to its maturity.

But we are not bound down to this fucceffion by any law of neceffity: the God of nature offers it to us, in order to advance our happiness; and it is fufficient, that he hath enabled us to carry it on in a natural courfe. Nor has he made our talk either disagreeable or difficult on the contrary, the transition is fweet and eafy, from corporeal pleasures to the more refined pleasures of fense; and no lefs fo, from these to the exalted pleasures of morality and religion. We ftand therefore engaged in honour, as well as intereft, to second the purposes of nature, by cultivating the pleasures of the eye and ear, those especially that require extraordinary culture, fuch as arife from poetry, painting, fculpture, mufic, gardening, and architecture. This especially is the duty of the opulent, who have leisure to improve their minds and their

A taste for natural objects is born with us in perfection; for relishing a fine countenance, a rich landscape, or a vivid colour, culture is unneceffary. The obfervation holds equally in natural founds, fuch as the finging of birds, or the murmuring of a brook. Nature here, the artificer of the object as well as of the percipient, hath accurately fuited them to each other. But of a poem, a cantata, a picture, or other artificial production, a true relifh is not commonly attained, without fome fudy and much practice. 3 A


feelings. The fine arts are contrived to give pleasure to the eye and the ear, difregarding the inferior fenfes. A tafte for these arts is a plant that grows naturally in many foils; but, without culture, fcarce to perfection in any foil: it is fufceptible of much refinement; and is, by proper care, greatly improved. In this respect, a tafte in the fine arts goes hand in hand with the moral fense, to which indeed it is nearly allied: both of them difcover what is right and what is wrong: fashion, temper, and education, have an influence to vitiate both, or to preserve them pure and untainted neither of them are arbitrary nor local; being rooted in human nature, and governed by principles common to all men. The design of the prefent undertaking, which afpires not to morality, is, to examine the fenfitive branch of human nature, to trace the objects that are naturally agreeable, as well as thofe that are naturally dif agreeable; and by these means to discover, if we can, what are the genuine principles of the fine arts. The man who afpires to be a critic in these arts muft pierce still deeper: he must acquire a clear perception of what objects are lofty, what low, what proper or improper, what manly, and what mean or trivial. Hence a foundation for reafoning upon the tafte of any individual, and for pafling fentence upon it: where it is conformable to principles, we can pronounce with certainty that it is correct; otherwife, that it is


incorrect, and perhaps whimsical. Thus the fine arts, like morals, become a rational science ; and, like morals, may be cultivated to a high degree of refinement.

Manifold are the advantages of criticism, when thus ftudied as a rational fcience. In the first place, a thorough acquaintance with the principles of the fine arts, redoubles the pleasure we derive from them. To the man who refigns himself to feeling without interpofing any judgment, poetry, mufic, painting, are mere paftime. In the prime of life, indeed, they are delightful, being fupported by the force of novelty, and the heat of imagination: but in time they lose their relish; and are generally neglected in the maturity of life, which difpofes to more ferious and more important occupations. To those who deal in criticism as a regular fcience, governed by just principles, and giving scope to judgment as well as to fancy, the fine arts are a favourite entertainment; and in old age maintain that relish which they produce in the morning of life.

In the next place, a philofophic inquiry into the principles of the fine arts, inures the reflecting

"Though logic may fubfift without rhetoric or po"etry, yet so neceffary to these laft is a found and cor"reat logic, that without it they are no better than "warbling trifles." Hermes, p. 6.

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