acarcely forbear being borne down, and joining Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna in the common cry, and common resolution of

Est iter in sylvis. the crowd.

A faint shadow of uncertain light,
Like as a lamp, whose ife doth fade away;
Or as the moon clothed with cloudy night
Doth shew to him who walks in fear and great


But light now appearing, and now leaving us, and so off and on, is even more terrible than

total darkness : and a sort of uncertain sounds A SUDDEN beginning, or sudden cessation are, when the necessary dispositions concur, of sound of any considerable force, has the

more alarming than a total silence. same power. The attention is roused by this; and the faculties driven forward, as it were, on their guard. Whatever either in sights or

SECTION XX. sounds makes the transition from one extreme to the other easy, causes no terrour, and consequently can be no cause of greatness. In every thing sudden and unexpected, we are apt

Such sounds as imitate the natural inarticuto start; that is, we have a perception of danger, and our nature rouses us to guard against late voices of men, or any animals in pain or it. It may be observed that a single sound of danger, are capable of conveying great ideas; some strength, though but of short duration, if unless it be the well-known voice of some crearepeated after intervals, has a grand effect. ture, on which we are used to look with conFew things are more awful than the striking tempt. The angry tones of wild beasts are of a great clock, when the silence of the night equally capable of causing a great and awful

sensation. prevents the attention from being too much dissipated. The same may be said of a single Hinc exaudiri gemitus, iræque leonum stroke on a drum, repeated with pauses; and

Vincla recusantum, et sera sub nocte ruden of the successive firing of cannon at a distance. Setigerique sues, atque in præsepibus ursi All the effects mentioned in this section have Sævire ; et formæ magnorum ululare luporum. causes very nearly alike.

It might seem that these modulations of sound carry some connection with the nature of the things they represent, and are not merely arbi

trary ; because the natural cries of all animals, SECTION XIX.

even of those animals with whom we have not been acquainted, never fail to make themselves sufficiently understood ; this cannot be said of

language. The modifications of sound, which A Low, tremulous, intermitting sound, may be productive of the sublime, are almost though it seems in some respects opposite to

infinite. Those I have mentioned, are only a that just mentioned, is productive of the sub

few instances to shew, on what principles thev ime. It is worth while to examine this a little. are all built. The fact itself must be determined by every man's own experience and reflection. I have already observed,* that night increases our

SECTION XXI. terrour, more perhaps than any thing else; it is our nature, when we do not know what


SMELL AND TASTE. happen to us, to fear the worst that can happen; and hence it is, that uncertainty is so terrible, that we often seek to be rid of it, at Smells and tastes, have some share too in the hazard of a certain mischief. Now, some

ideas of greatness; but it is a small one, weak low, confused, uncertain sounds, leave us in in its nature, and confined in its operations. I the same fearful anxiety concerning their shall only observe, that no smells or tastes can causes, that no light, or an uncertain light, does produce a grand sensation, except excessivo concerning the objects that surround us. bitters, and intolerable stenches. It is true

these affections of the smell and taste, 4 Section 3.

when they are in their full force, and lean di

tum ;






rectly upon the sensory, are simply painful, and degrees of labour, pain, anguish, torment, is accompanied with no sort of delight; but when productive of the sublime; and nothing else in chey are moderated, as in a description or this sense can produce it. I need not give narrative, they become sources of the sublime, here any fresh instances, as those given in the as genuine as any other, and upon the very former sections abundantly illustrate a remark, same principle of a moderated pain. “A cup that in reality wants only an attention to nature, of bitterness ;" “ to drain the bitter cup of to be made by every body. fortune;" “the bitter apples of Sodom;" these Having thus run through the causes of the are all ideas suitable to a sublime description. sublime with reference to all the senses, my Nor is this passage of Virgil without sublimi- first observation (sect. 7.) will be found very ty, where the stench of the vapour in Albuena nearly true; that the sublime is an idea beconspires so happily with the sacred horrour longing to self-preservation; that it is therefore and gloominess of that prophetic forest: one of the most affecting we have; that its At rex solicitus monstris oracula Fauni

strongest emotion is an emotion of distress; Fatidici genitoris adit, lucosque sub alla and that no pleasure* from a positive cause Consulit Albunea, nemorum quæ maxima sacro belongs to it. Numberless examples, besides Fonte sonat; særamque exhalat opaca Mephi. those mentioned, might be brought in support

of these truths, and many perhaps useful conIn the sixth book, and in a very sublime de- sequences drawn from themscription, the poisonous exhalation of Acheron

Sed fugit interea, fugit irrevocabile tempus, is not forgot, nor does it at all disagree with

Singula dum capti circumvectamur amore. the other images among which it is introduced : Spelunca alta fuit, vastoque immanis hiatu Scrupea, tuta lacu nigro, nemorumque tene.

bris, Quam super haud ullæ poterant impune vo

lantes Tendere iter pennis, talis sese halitus atris

PART III -SECTION I. Faucibus effundens supera ad convera fere.

bat. I have added these examples, because some friends, for whose judgment I have great defer- It is my design to consider beauty as distinence, were of opinion, that if the sentiment guished from the sublime ; and, in the course stood nakedly by itself, it would be subject, at of the inquiry, to examine how far it is consisfirst view, to burlesque and ridicule ; but this tent with it. But previous to this, we must I imagine would principally arise from con- take a short review of the opinions already ensidering the bitterness and stench in company tertained of this quality; which I think are with mean and contemptible ideas, with which hardly to be reduced to any fixed principles it must be owned they are often united; such because men are used to talk of beauty in a an union degrades the sublime in all other in- figurative manner, that is to say, in a manner stances as well as in those. But it is one of extremely uncertain, and indeterminate. By the tests by which the sublimity of an image beauty I mean that quality, or those qualities is to be tried, not whether it becomes mean in bodies, by which they cause love, or some when associated with mean ideas: but whether, passion similar to it. I confine this definition when united with images of an allowed gran- to the merely sensible qualities of things, for deur, the whole composition is supported with the sake of preserving the utmost simplicity in dignity. Things which are terrible are always a subject which must always distract us, whengreat; but when things possess disagreeable ever we take in those various causes of symqualities, or such as have indeed some degree pathy which attach us to any persons or things of danger, but of a danger easily overcome, from secondary considerations, and not from they are merely odious, as toads and spiders. the direct force which they have merely on

being viewed. I likewise distinguish love, by which I mean that satisfaction which arises to

the mind upon contemplating any thing beauSECTION XXII.

tiful, of whatsoever nature it may be, from de

sire or lust; which is an energy of the mind, FEELING.

that hurries us on to the possession of certain Or feeling, little more can be said than that objects, that do not affect us as they are beauthe idea of bodily pain, in all the modes and

* Vide Part I. sect. 6



tiful, but by means altogether different. We is from this absolute indifference and tranquilshall have a strong desire for a woman of no lity of the mind, that mathematical specularemarkable beauty; whilst the greatest beauty tions derive some of their most considerable in men, or in other animals, though it causes advantages; because there is nothing to inte love, yet it excites nothing at all of desire. rest the imagination ; because the judgment Which shews that beauty, and the passion sits free and unbiassed to examine the point. caused by beauty, which I call love, is differ- All proportions, every arrangement of quantity ent from desire, though desire may sometimes is alike to the understanding, because the same operate along with it; but it is to this latter truths result to it from all ; from greater, from that we must attribute those violent aud teni- lesser, from equality and inequality. But pestuous passions, and the consequent emo- surely beauty is no idea belonging to mensutions of the body which attend what is called ration; nor has it any thing to do with calculove in some of its ordinary acceptations, and lation and geometry. If it had, we might then not to the effects of beauty merely as it is such. point out some certain measures which we

could demonstrate to be beautiful, either as simply considered, or as related to others; and

we could call in those natural objects, for whose SECTION II.

beauty we have no voucher but the sense, to

this happy standard, and confirm the voice of PROPORTION NOT THE CAUSE OF BEAUTY our passions by the determination of our rea

son. But since we have not this help, let us

see whether proportion can in any sense be Beauty hath usually been said to consist in considered as the cause of beauty, as hath been certain proportions of parts. On considering the so generally, and by some so confidently affirmmatter, I have great reason to doubt, whether ed. If proportion be one of the constituents beauty be at all an idea belonging to propor- of beauty, it must derive that power either tion. Proportion relates almost wholly to con- from some natural properties inherent in cer. venience, as every idea of order seems to do; tain measures, which operate mechanically ; and it must therefore be considered as a crea from the operation of custom; or from the fitture of the understanding, rather than a primaryness which some measures have to answer cause acting on the senses and imagination. some particular ends of conveniency. Our It is not by the force of long attention and in- business therefore is to enquire, whether the quiry that we find any object to be beautiful ; parts of those objects, which are found beautibeauty demands no assistance from our reason- ful in the vegetable or animal kingdoms, are ing; even the will is unconcerned; the ap- constantly so formed according to such certain pearance of beauty as effectually causes some

measures, as may serve to satisfy us that their degree of love in us, as the application of ice beauty results from those measures on the prin or fire produces the ideas of heat or cold. To ciple of a natural mechanical cause ; or from gain something like a satisfactory conclusion custom; or, in fine, from their fitness for any in this point, it were well to examine, what determinaté purposes. I intend to examine proportion is; since several who make use of this point under each of these heads in their that word, do not always seem to understand order. But before I proceed further, I hope it very clearly the force of the term, nor to have will not be thought amiss, if I lay down the very distinct ideas concerning the thing itself. rules which governed me in this inquiry, and Proportion is the measure of relative quantity. which have misled me in it, if I have gone Since all quantity is divisible, it is evident astray. 1. If two bodies produce the same or that every distinct part into which any quan- a similar effect on the mind, and on examinatity is divided, musi bear some relation to the tion they are found to agree in some of their other parts, or to the whole. These relations properties, and to differ in others the common give an origin to the idea of proportion. They effect is to be attributed to the roperties in are discovered by mensuration, and they are which they agree, and not to those in which the objects of mathematical inquiry. But they differ. 2. Not to account for the effect of whether any part of any determinate quantity a natural object from the effect of an artificial be a fourth, or a fifth, or a sixth, or a moiety of object. 3. Not to account for the effect of any the whole; or whether it be of equal length natural object from a conclusion of our reason with any other part, or double its length, or but concerning its uses, if a natural cause may be one half, is a matter merely indifferent to the assi 4. Not to admit any determinate mind; it stands neuter in the question: and it quantity, or any relation of quantity, as the

VOL. I.—5


cause of a certain effect, if the effect is produ

SECTION ILI ced by different or opposite measures and relations; or if these measures and relations may PROPORTION NOT THE CAUSE OF BEAUTY IN exist, and yet the effect may not be produced. These are the rules which I have chiefly followed, whilst I examined into the power of pro- That proportion has but a small share in portion considered as a natural cause; and the formation of beauty, is ful Jas evident among these, if he thinks them just, I request the rea- animals. Here the greatest variety of shapes der to carry with him throughout the following and dispositions of parts, are well fitted to discussion; whilst we enquire in the first place, excite this idea. The swan, confessedly a in what things we find this quality of beauty: beautiful bird, has a neck longer than the rest next, to see whether in these we can find any of his body, and but a very short tail: is this a assignable proportions, in such a manner as beautiful proportion? we must allow that it is. ought to convince us that our idea of beauty But then what shall we say to the peacock, results from them. We shall consider this who has comparatively but a short neck, with pleasing power, as it appears in vegetables, in a tail longer than the neck and the rest of the the inferiour animals, and in man. Turning body taken together? How many birds are our eyes to the vegetable creation, we find no- there that vary infinitely from each of these thing there so beautiful as flowers; but flowers standards, and from every other which you are almost of every sort of shape, and of every can fix; with proportions different, and often sort of disposition; they are turned and fash- directly opposite to each other! and yet many ioned into an infinite variety of forms ; and of these birds are extremely beautiful; when from these forms botanists have given them upon considering them we find nothing in any their names, which are almost as various. one part that might determine us à priori, to What proportion do we discover between the say what the others ought to be, nor indeed to stalks and the leaves of flowers, or between the guess any thing about them, but what experileaves and the pistils? How does the slender ence might shew to be full of disappointment stalk of the rose agree with the bulky head and mistake. And with regard to the colours under which it bends? but the rose is a beau- either of birds or flowers, for there is sometiful flower ; and can we undertake to say that thing similar in the colouring of both, whether t does not owe a great deal of its beauty even they are considered in their extension or grato that disproportion; the rose is a large flower, dation, there is nothing of proportion to be yet it grows upon a small-shrub; the flower of observed. Some are of but one single colour , the apple is very small, and grows upon a large others have all the colours of the rainbow, tree; yet the rose and the apple blossom are some are of the primary colours, others are of both beautiful, and the plants that bear them the mixt; in short, an attentive observer may are most engagingly attired, notwithstanding soon conclude, that there is as little of propora this disproportion. What by general consent tion in the colouring as in the shapes of these is allowed to be a more beautiful object than objects. Turn next to beasts; examine the an orange tree, flourishing at once with its head of a beautiful horse ; find what proportion leaves, its blossoms, and its fruit? but it is in that bears to his body, and to his limbs, and vain that we search here for any proportion what relations these have to each other; and between the height, the breadth, or any thing when you have settled these proportions as a else concerning the dimensions of the whole, standard of beauty, then take a dog or cat, or or concerning the relation of the particular any other animal, and examine how far the parts to each other. I grant that we may ob- same proportions between their heads and serve in many flowers, something of a regular their necks, between those and the body, and figure, and of a methodical disposition of the so on, are found to hold; I think we may safely leaves. The rose has such a figure and such a say, that they differ in every species, yet that disposition of its petals ; but in an oblique there are individuals found in a great many view, when this figure is in a good measure species so differing, that have a very striking lost, and the order of the leaves confounded, beauty. Now, if it be allowed that very differit yet retains its beauty; the rose is even more ent, and even contrary, forms and dispositions beautiful before it is full blown; and the bud, are consistent with beauty, it amounts I believe before this exact figure is formed; and this is to a concession, that no certain measures, not the only instance wherein method and exact- operating from a natural principle, are neces ness, the soul of proportion are found rather pre- sary to produce it, at least so far as the brute judicial than serviceable to the cause of beauty. species is concerned.




beauty agreed among themselves about the proportions of the human body? some hold it to be seven heads; some make it eight; whilst others extend it even to ten; a vast difference

in such a small number of divisions! Others THERE are some parts of the human body, take other methods of estimating the proporthat are observed to hold certain proportions to tions, and all with equal success. But are these each other; but before it can be proved, that proportions exactly the same in all handsome the efficient cause of beauty lies in these, it men? or are they at all the proportions founo must be shewn, that wherever these are found in beautiful women ? nobody will say that they exact, the person to whom they belong is beau- are; yet both sexes are undoubtedly capable of tiful: I mean in the effect produced on the beauty, and the female of the greatest; which view, either of any member distinctly consi- advantage I believe will hardly be attributed to dered, or of the whole body together. It must the superiour exactness of proportion in the fair be likewise shewn, that these parts stand in sex. Let us rest a moment on this point; and such a relation to each other, that the com- consider how much difference there is between parison between them may be easily made, and the measures that prevail in many similar parts that the affection of the mind may naturally of the body, in the two sexes of this single speresult from it. For my part, I have at several cies only. If you assign any determinate protimes very carefully examined many of those portions to the limbs of a man, and if you limit proportions, and found them hold very nearly, human beauty to these proportions, when you or altogether alike in many subjects, which find a woman who differs in the make and meawere not only very different from one another, sures of almost every part, you must conclude but where one has been very beautiful, and the her not to be beautiful, in spite of the suggesother very remote from beauty. With regard tions of your imagination; or, in obedience to the parts which are found so proportioned, to your imagination, you must renounce your they are often so remote from each other, in rules; you must lay by the scale' and compass, situation, nature, and office, that I cannot see and look out for some other cause of beauty, how they admit of any comparison, nor conse- For if beauty be attached to certain measures quently how any effect owing to proportion can which operate from a principle in nature, why result from them. The neck, say they in beau- should similar parts with different measures of tiful bodies, should measure with the calf of the proportion be found to have beauty, and this too leg; it should likewise be twice the circum- in the very same species? but to open our view ference of the wrist. And an infinity of obser- a little, it is worth observing, that almost all rations of this kind are to be found in the animals have parts of very much the same nawritings and conversations of many. But what ture, and destined nearly to the same purposes? relation has the calf of the leg to the neck; or an head, neck, body, feet, eyes, ears, nose, and either of these parts to the wrist? These pro- mouth; yet Providence, to provide in the best portions are certainly to be found in handsome manner for their several wants, and to display bodies. They are as certainly in ugly ones; the riches of his wisdom and goodness in his as any who will take the pains to try may find. creation, has worked out of these few and simiNay, I do not know but they may be least per- lar organs, and members, a diversity hardly feci in some of the most beautiful. You may short of infinite in their disposition, measures, assign any proportions you please to every part and relation. But, as we have before observed, of the human body; and I undertake that a amidst this infinite diversity, one particular is painter shall religiously observe them all, and common to many species: several of the innotwithstanding produce, if he pleases, a very dividuals which compose them are capable of agly figure. The same painter shall considere affecting us with a sense of loveliness; and ably deviate from these proportions, and pro- whilst they agree in producing this effect, they duce a very beautiful one. And indeed it may differ extremely in the relative measures of be observed in the master-pieces of the ancient those parts which have produced it. These and modern statuary, that several of them differ considerations were sufficient to induce me to very widely from the proportions of others, in reject the notion of any particular proportions parts very conspicuous and of great consider that operated by nature to produce a pleasing ation; and that they differ no less from the effect; but those who will agree with me with proportions we find in living men, of forms regard to a particular proportion, are strongly ext nely striking and agreeable. And after prepossessed in favour of one more indefinite all, how are the partisans of proportional They imagine, that although beauty in genera

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