« ForrigeFortsett »
throughout the earth. Am I not related to them all, by the mutual aids of commerce,' by the general intercourse of arts and letters, by that common nature of which we all participate ?
Again-I must have food and clothing. Without a proper genial warmth, I instantly perish. Am I not related, in this view, to the very earth itself? To the distant son, from whose beams I derive vigor? To that stupendous course and order of the infinite host of hear. en, by which the times and seasons ever uniformly pass on? Were this order once confounded, I could not probably survive a moment; so absolutely do I depend on this common, general welfare. What then have I to do but to enlarge virtue into piety! Not only honor and justice, and what I owe to man, are my interest : but gratitude also, acquiescence, resignation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its great Governor, our common Parent.
IX.-On the Pleasure orising from Objects of Sight.
SPECTATOR. HOSE pleasures of the imagination which arise
from the actual view and survey of outward objects all proceed from the sight of what is great, uncommon or beautiful.
By Greatness, I do not only mean the bulk of any single object, but the largeness of a whole view, considered as one entire piece. Such are the prospects of an open champaign country, a vast uncultivated desert, of huge heaps of mountains, high rocks and precipices, or a wide expanse of waters; where we are not struck with the novelty or beauty of the sight, but with that rude kind of magnificence, which appears in many of these stupendous works of nature. Our imagination loves to be filled with an object, or to grasp at any thing that is too big for its capacry. We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded views, and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul, at the apprebensions of them. The mind of man naturally hates every thing that looks like restraint upon it, and is apt to fancy itself under a sort of confinement, when the sight is pent up in a narrow compass, and shortened, on every side, by the neighborhood of walls and mountains, On the contrary, a spacious horizon is an image of liberty, where the eye has room te range abroad, to expatiate at large on the immensity of its views, and to lose itself amidst the variety of objects that offer themselves to its observation. Such wide and undetermined prospects are .pleasing to the fancy, as the speculations of eternity or infinitude are to the understanding.
but Ok! ed will - The
But if there be a beauty or uncommonness joined
with this grandeur, as in a troubled ocean, a heaven adorned with stars and meteors, or a spacious landscape cut out into rivers, woods, rocks and meadows, the pleasure still grows upon us, as it rises from nore than a single principle.
Every thing that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it slls the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratities its curiosity, and gives it an idea of wbich it was not before possessed. We are, indeed, so often conversant with one set of objects, and tired out with so many repeated shows of the same things, that whatever is new or uncommon contributes a little to vary human life, and to divert our minds for a while, with the strangeness of its appearancé ; it serves us for a kind of refreshment, and takes off from that satiety we are apt to complain of, in our usual and ordinary eniertainments. It is this that bestows charms on a monster, and makes even the imperfections of nature please us. . It is this that recommends variety, where the mind is every instant called off to something new, and the attention not suffered to dwell too long, and waste itself on any par. ticular object: It is this, likewise, that improves what is great or beautiful, and makes it afford the mind a double entertainment. Groves, fields and meadows are at any season of the year pleasant to look upon; but never so much as in the opening of the spring, when they are all new and fresh, with their first gloss upon them, and not yet too much accustomed and familiar to the eye. For this reason, there is nothing that more enlivens a prospect than rivers, jeiteaus or falls of water, where the scene is perpetually shifting and entertaining the sight every moment, with something that is new. We are quickly tired with looking upon bills and vallies, where every thing continues fixed and settled in the same place and posture,bu: tind our thoughts a little agitated and re
lieved, at the sight of such objects as are ever in motion, and sliding away from beneath the eye of the bebolder.
But there is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul, than beauty, which immediately diffuses a secret satisfaction and complacency through the imagination, and gives a finishing to any thing that is great or uncommon. The very first discovery of it strikes the mind with an inward joy, and spreads a cheerfulnesg and delight through all its faculties. There is not, perhaps, any real beauty or deformity more in one piece of mat. ter than another; because we might hare been made so, that whatsoever now appears loathsome to us, migbt have shewn itself agreeable; but we find by experience, that there are several modifications of matter, which the mind, without any previous consideration, pronounces at the first sight, beautiful or deformed. Thus we see that every different species of sensible, creatures has its different notions of beauty, and that each of them is most affected with the beauties of its own kind. This is no where more remarkable than in birds of the same shape and proportion, where ive often see the male determined in his courtship by the single grain or tincture of a feather, and never discovering any charms but in the color of its species.
There is a second kind of beauty, that we find in the several products of art and nature, which does not work in the imagination with that warmth and violence, as the beauty that appears ió our own proper species, but is apt however, to raise in us a secret delight, and a kind of fondness for the places, or objects, in which we discover it. This consists either in the griety or variety of colors, in the symmetry and proportion of parts, in the arrangement and disposition of bodies, or in a just mixture and concurrence of all together. Among these several kinds of beauty, the eye takes most delight in colors. where meet with a more glorious or pleasing show in na: ture, than what appears in the heavens at the rising and setting of the sun, which is wholly made up of those dif. ferent stains of light, that show themselves in clouds of a different situation. For this reason we fina the poets, who are always addressing themselves to the imagination,
borrow more of their epithets from colors, than from any other topic.
As the fancy delights in every thing that is great, strange or beautiful, and is still more pleased, the more it finds of these perfections in the same object; so it is capable of receiving a new satisfaction, by the assistance of another sense. Thus any continued sound, as the music of birds, or a fall of water, awakens, every moment, the mind of the beholder, and makes him more attentive to the several beauties of the place that lie before him, Thus, if there arise a fragrancy of smells er perfumes, they heighten the pleasure of the imagination, and make even the colors aud verdure of the landscape appear more agreeable; for the ideas of both senses recommend each other, and are pleasanter together, than when they enter the mind separately; as the different colors of a picture, when they are well disposed, set off one another, and receive an additional beauty from the advantage of their Situation.
X-Liberty and Slavery.--STERNE.
thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands, in all ages, have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account. It is thou, liberty! thrice sweet and gracious goddess, whom all, in public or in private, worship; whose taste is grateful, and ever will be so till nature herself shall change. No tint of words can spot thy snowy mantle, or chymic power turn thy sceptre into iron. With thee to smile upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is happier than his monarch from whose court thou art exiled. Gracious Heaven! Grant me but health, thou great bestower of it! Antl give me but this fair goddess as my companion ; and shower down thy mitres, if it seem good unto thy Divine Providence, upon those heads which are aching for them.
Pursuing these ideas, I sat down close by my table; and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I gave
my imagination. I was going to begin with the millions of my
fellow creatures, born to no inheritance but slavery; but finding,
however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitude of sad groups in it did but distract me, I took a single captive; and having first shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked tbrough the twilight of his grated door to take his picture.
I beheld his body half wasted away, with long expectation and continement; and felt what kind of sickness of of the heart it is which arises from hope deferred. Upon looking nearer, I saw him pale and feverish. In thirty years the western breeze had not once fanned bis blood -he had seen no sun, no moon, in all that time-nor had the voice of friend or kiosman breathed through his lattice. His children but here my heart began to bleedand I was forced to go on with another part of the portrait.
He was sitting upon the ground, upon a little straw, in the farthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed. A little calendar of small sticks was laid at the head, notched all over with the dismal days and nights he had passed there. He had one of these little sticks in his hand; and, with a rusty nail he was etching another day of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door-then cast it dowo-shook his head and went on with his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick upon the bundle. He gave a deep sigh-I saw the iron enter into his soul. I burst into tears. I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn.
XI.—The Cant of Criticism.-STERNE.
night ?-Oh, against all rule, my lord; most ungrammatically! Betwixt the substantive and adjective (which should agree together in number, case and gender) he made a breach thus-stopping as if the point wanted settling. And after the nominative case (which your lordship knows should govern the verb) he suspended his voice, in the epilogue, a dozen times, three seconds and three fifths, by a stop watch, my lord, each time. Admirable grammarian! But in suspending his voice, was the sense suspended likewise ? Did po expression of attitude