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ceffive variety. And thus we come to take de light in several occupations, that by nature, without habit, are not a little disgustful.

A middle rate also in the train of perceptions between uniformity and variety, is not less pleafant, than between quickness and slowness. The mind of man, by this constitution, is wonderfully adapted to the course of huntan affairs, which are continually changing, but not without connection. By this conftitution, it is equally adapted to the acquisition of knowledge, which refults chiefly from discovering refeinblances among differing objects, and differences among refembling objects: such occupation, even abstracting from the knowledge we acquire, is in itself delightful, by preserving a middle rate between too great uniforinity and too great variety.

We are now arrived at the chief purpose of the present chapter; and that is, to examine how far uniforinity or variety ought to prevail in the fine

And the knowledge we have obtained, will even at first view suggest a general observation, That in every work of art, it must be agreeable, to find that degree of variety, which correfponds to the natural course of our perceptions; and that an excess in variety or in uniformity, must bedisagreeable, by varying that natural course. For this reason, works of art admit more or less Variety according to the nature of the subject : in a picture that, by an interesting event, strong



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İy attaches the spectator to a single object, the mind relifheth not a multiplicity of figures nor of ornaments: a picture again representing a gay fubject; admits great variety of figures and orna

ments; because these are agreeable to the mind :in a chearful tone: The same observation is applicable to poetry and to music.

It must at the fame time be remarked, that one can bear a greater variety of natural objects, than of objects in a picture; and a greater variety in a picture, than in a description : a real object presented to view, makes an impression more readily than when represented in colours, and much more readily than when reprefented in words. Hence it is, that the profufe variety of objects in some natural landfcapes, neither breed confusion nor fatigue : and for the same reason, there is place for greater variety of ornament in a picture, than in a poem.

Froin these general obfervations, I proceed to particulars.

In works exposed continually to public view, variety ought to be studied. It is a rule accordingly in sculpture, to contrast the different limbs of a ftatue, in order to give it all the variety possible. Though the cone in a single view, be more beautiful than the pyramid; yet a pyrannidal steeple, because of its variety, is justly preferred. For the same reason, the oval in compositions is preferred before the circle; and painters, in copying buildings, or any regular

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work, endeavour to give an air of variety, by representing the subject in an angular view : we are pleased with the variety, without losing sight of the regularity. In a landscape representing animals, those especially of the fame kind, contrast ought to prevail : to draw one sleeping, another awake; one sitting, another in motion ; one moving toward the spectator, another from him, is the life of such a performance.

In every sort of writing intended in any degree for amusement, variety is necessary in proportion to the length of the work. Want of variety is sensibly felt, in Davila's history of the civil wars of France : the events are indeed important and various; but the reader languishes by a tiresome uniformity of character ; every person engaged being figured a consummate politician, governed by interest only. It is hard to say, whether Ovid disguits more by too great variety, or too great uniformity: his stories are all of the fame kind, concluding invariably with the transformation of one being into another; and fo far he is tiresome with excess in uniformity: he also fatigues with excess in variety, by hurrying his reader inceffantly from story to story. Ariosto is still more fatiguing than Ovid, by exceeding the just bounds of variety: not satisfied, like Ovid, with a succession in his stories, he distracts the reader, by jumbling together a multitude of unconnected events. Nor is the Orlando Furioso less tiresome


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by its uniformity than the Metamorphoses, though in a different manner : after a story is brought to a crisis, the reader, intent upon the catastrophe, is suddenly snatch'd away to a new story, which is little regarded so long as the mind is occupied with the former, This tantalizing method,

from which the author never once swerves dui ring the course of a long work, beside its unifor

mity, hath another bad effect : it prevents thap fympathy, which is raised by an interelting event when the reader meets with no interruption.

The emotions produced by our perceptions in a train, have been little considered, and less understood : the subject therefore required an elaborate discussion. It may surprise some readers, to find variety treated as only contributing to make a train of perceptions pleasant, when it is commonly held to be a necessary ingredient in beauty of whatever kind; according to the definition, “ That beauty consists in uniformity a“ mid variety.” But after the subject is explained and illustrated as above, I presume it will be evident, that this definition, however applicable to one or other species, is far from being just with respect to beauty in general: variety contributes no share to the beauty of a moral action, nor of a mathematical theorem: and numberless are the beautiful objects of sight that have little or no variety in them; a globe, the most uniform of all figures, is of all the most beautiful; and a {quare, though more beautiful than a trapezium, U 3



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hath less variety in its constituent parts. . The foregoing definition, which at best is but obfcurely exprefled, is only applicable to a number of objects in a group or in succession, among which indeed a due mixture of uniformity and variety is al ways agreeable; provided the particular objects, separately considered, be in any degree beautiful; for uniformity amid variety among ugly. objects, affords no pleasure. This circumstance of beauty is totally omitted in the definition; and indeed to have mentioned it, would at the very first glance have fhown the definition to be imperfect: for to define beauty as arising from beautiful objects, blended together in a due proportion of uniformity and variety, would be tom gross to pass current; as nothing can be more gross, than to employ in a definition the very term that is propofed to be explained.


Concerning the works of nature.

natural objects, whether we regard their in

ternal or external structure, beauty and delign are equally conspicuous. We shall begin with the outside of nature, as what first presents itself,


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