Puslapio vaizdai

and the mind of man is fitted to receive pleasure equally from both. Uniformity and variety are interwoven in the works of nature with furprifing art: variety, however great, is never without fome degree of uniformity; nor the greatest uniformity without fome degree of variety : there is great variety in the fame plant, by the different appearances of its stem, branches, leaves, blossoms, fruit, fize, and colour; and yet, when we trace this variety through different plants, especially of the fame kind, there is discovered a furprising uniformity: again, where nature seems to have intended the moft exact uniformity, as among individuals of the fame kind, there ftill appears a diversity, which ferves readily to diftinguish one individual from another. It is indeed admirable, that the human vifage, in which uniformity is fo prevalent, fhould yet be fo marked, as to leave no room, among millions, for miftaking one perfon for another: thefe marks, though clearly perceived, are generally fo delicate, that words cannot be found to defcribe them. A correfpondence fo perfect between the human mind and the works of nature, is extremely remarkable. The oppofition between variety and uniformity is fo great, that one would not readily imagine they could both be relished by the fame palate; at least not in the fame object, nor at the fame time: it is however true, that the pleasures they afford, being happily adjusted to ach other, and readily mixing in intimate union,


are frequently produced by the fame individual object. Nay, further, in the objects that touch us the most, uniformity and variety are constantly combined; witness natural objects, where this combination is always found in perfection: it is for that reason, that natural objects readily form themselves into groups, and are agreeable in whatever manner combined: a wood with its trees, fhrubs, and herbs, is agreeable: the mufic of birds, the lowing of cattle, and the murmuring of a brook, are in conjunction delightful; though they strike the ear without modulation or harmony. In short, nothing can be more happily accommodated to the inward conftitution of man, than that mixture of uniformity with variety, which the eye discovers in natural objects: and, accordingly, the mind is never more highly gratified than in contemplating a natural landscape.






AN is fuperior to the brute, not more by his rational faculties, than by those of perception and feeling. With refpect to the grofs pleafures of fenfe, the brutes probably yield not to men; and they may also have fome obfcure perception of beauty: but the more delicate perceptions of regularity, order, uniformity, and congruity, being connected with morality and religion, are referved to dignify the chief of the terreftrial creation. Upon that account, no difcipline is more fuitable to man, nor more congruous to the dignity of his nature, than that which refines his tafte, and leads him to diftinguish in every fubject, what is regular, what is orderly, what is fuitable, and what is fit and proper


* Nec vero illa parva vis naturæ eft rationifque, quod unum hoc animal fentit quid fit ordo, quid fit quod deceat in factis dictisque, qui modus. Itaque eorum ipforum, quæ afpe&tu fentiuntur, nullum aliud animal, pulchritudinem, venuftatem, convenientiam partium fentit. Quam fimilitudinem natura ratioque ab oculis ad animum transferens, multo etiam magis pulchritudinem, conftantiam, ordinem, in confiliis factifque confervandum putat, cavetque ne quid indecorè effeminatève faciat; tum in omnibus et opinionibus et fa&tis ne quid libidinosè aut faciat aut cogitet. Quibus ex rebus conflatur et efficitur id, quod quærimus, honeftum. ciis, l. I.

Cicero de offi

It is clear from the very conception of the terms congruity and propriety, that they are not applicable to any fingle object: they imply a plurality, and obviously fignify a particular relation between different objects. Thus we fay currently, that a decent garb is fuitable or proper for a judge, modeft behaviour for a young woman, and a lof ty style for an epic poem: and, on the other hand, that it is unfuitable or incongruous to fee a little woman funk in an overgrown farthingale, a coat richly embroidered covering coarfe and dirty linen, a mean fubject in an elevated ftyle, an elevated fubject in a mean ftyle, a first minister darning his wife's stocking, or a reverend prelate in lawn fleeves dancing a hornpipe.

The perception we have of this relation, which feems peculiar to man, cannot proceed from any other caufe, but from a fenfe of congruity or propriety; for fuppofing us deftitute of that fenfe, the terms would to us be unintelligible *.


From many things that pafs current in the world without being generally condemned, one at first view would imagine, that the fenfe of congruity or propriety hath scarce any foundation in nature; and that it is rather an artificial refinement of those who affect to diftinguish themselves by a certain delicacy of tafte and behaviour. The fulfome panegyrics bestow'd upon the great and opulent, in epiftles dedicatory and other fuch compofitions, lead naturally to that thought. Did there prevail in the world, it will be faid, or did nature fuggeft, a taste of what is fuitable, decent, or proper, would any good writer deal in fuch compofitions, or any man of sense receive them without difguft? Can it be fuppofed, that Lewis XIV.


It is a matter of experience, that congruity or propriety, where-ever perceived, is agreeable; and that incongruity or impropriety, where-ever perceived, is difagreeable. The only difficulty is, to afcertain what are the particular objects that in conjunction fuggest these relations; for there are many objects that do not: the fea, for example, viewed in conjunction with a picture, or a man viewed in conjunction with a mountain, fuggeft not either congruity or incongruity. It seems natural to infer, what will be found true by induction, that we never perceive congruity nor incongruity but among things that are connected together by fome relation; fuch as a man and his actions, a principle and its acceffories, a fubject and its ornaments. We are indeed fo framed by nature, as among things fo connected, to require a certain fuitableness or correfpondence, termed congruity or propriety; and to be displeased when we find the oppofite relation of incongruity or impropriety *.


of France was endued by nature with any sense of propriety, when, in a dramatic performance purposely compofed for his entertainment, he suffered himself, publicly, and in his prefence, to be styled the greatest king ever the earth produced? These it is true are ftrong facts; but luckily they do not prove the fense of propriety to be artificial: they only prove, that the fenfe of propriety is at times overpowered by pride and vanity; which is no fingular cafe, for this fometimes is the fate even of the sense of justice.

In the chapter of beauty, qualities are diftinguifhed into pri mary and fecondary: and to clear fome obfcurity that may appear

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