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Beauty and other Pleasures of Taste.

dormant state, by giving it a sudden and pleasing impulse. Hence in a great measure the entertainment we receive from fiction and romance. The emotion, raised by Novelty, is of a more lively and awakening nature, than that produced by Beauty ; but much shorter in its duration. For, if the object have in itself no charms to hold our attention, the gloss spread over it by Novelty, soon wears off.

Imitation is another source of Pleasure to Taste. This gives rise to what Addison terms the Secondary Pleasures of Imagination, which form a very extensive class. For all imitation affords some Pleasure to the mind ; not only the imitation of beautiful or sublime objects, by recalling the original ideas of beauty or grandeur, which such, objects themselves exhibited ; but even objects, which have neither beauty, nor grandeur; nay, some which are terrible or deformed, give us pleasure in a secondary or represented view.

The pleasures of melody and harmony belong also to Taste. There is no delightful sensation, we receive either from beauty or sublimity, which is not capable of being heightened by the power of musical sound. Hence the charm of poetical numbers; and even of the concealed and looser measures of prose. Wit, humour, and ridicule open likewise a variety of pleasures to Taste, al. together different from any that have yet been considered.

At present it is not necessary to pursue any farther the subject of the pleasures of Taste. We have opened some of the general principles ; it is time now to employ them to our chief subject.

Beauty and other Pleasures of Taste.

If it be asked, to wbat class of those Pleasures of Taste, which have been enumerated, that pleasure is to be referred, which we receive from poetry, eloquence, or fine writing? The answer is, not to any one, but to them all. This peculiar advantage writing and discourse possess; they encompass a large and fruitful field on all sides, and have power to exhibit in great perfection, not a single set of objects only, but almost the whole of those which give pleasure to taste and imagination; whether that pleasure arise from sublimity, from beauty in its various forms, froin design and art, from moral sentiment, from novelty, from harmony, from wit, humour, or ridioule. To which soever of these a person's taste is directed, from some writer or other he has it always in his power to receive the gratification of it.

It has been usual among critical writers to treat of discourse as the chief of all the imitative arts. They compare it with painting and with sculpture, and in many respects prefer it justly before them. But we must distinguish between imitation and description. Words have no natural resemblance of the ideas or objects which they signify; but a statue or picture has a natural likeness of the original.

As far however as a poet or historian introduees into his work persons really speaking, and by words, which he puts into their mouths, represents the conversation which they might be supposed to hold; so far his art may be called imitative ; and this is the case in all dramatie composition. But in narrative or descriptive works it cannot with propriety be so called.

Origin and Progress of Language.

Who, for example, would call Virgil's description of a tempest in the first Æneid an imitation of a storm ? If we heard of the imitation of a battle, we might naturally think of some mock fight, or representation of a battle on the stage; but should never imagine it meant one of Homer's descriptions in the Iliad. It must be allowed at the same time, that imitation and description agree in their principal effect, that of recalling by external signs the ideas of things which we do not see. But, though in this they coincide, yet it should be remembered, that the terms themselves are not synonymous; that they import different means of producing the same end ; and consequently make different impressions on the mind.


To form an adequate idea of the ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE, we must contemplate the circumstances of mankind in their earliest and rudest state. They were then a wandering, scattered race; no society among them except families; and family society also very imperfect, as their mode of living, by hunting or pasturage, must have separated them frequently from each other. In such a condition, how could any one set of sounds or words be universally agreed on, as the signs of their ideas ? Supposing that a few, whom chance or necessity threw together, agreed by some means upon certain signs ; yet by what authority could

Origin and Progress of Language.


these be so propagated among other tribes or families, as to grow up into a language ? One would imagine that men must have been previously gathered together in considerable numbers, before language could be fixed and extended ; and yet on the other hand there seems to have been an absolute necessity of speech previous to the formation of society. For by what bond could a multitude of men be kept together, or be connected in prosecution of any common interest, before by the assistance of speech they could communicate their wants and intentions to each. other? So that, how society could subsist previously to language, and how words could rise into language before the formation of society, seem to be points attended with equal difficulty. When we consider farther that curious analogy which prevails in the construction of almost all languages, and that deep and subtle logic, on which they are founded ; difficulties increase so much upon us, on all sides, that there seems to be no small reason for referring the origin of all language to divine inspiration.

But, supposing language to have a divine original, we cannot imagine that a perfect system of it was at once given to man. It is much more natural to suppose that God tanght our first parents only such language as suited their present occasions ; leaving them, as he did in other res. pects, to enlarge and improve it as their future neressities should require. Consequently, those rudiments of speech must have been poor and narrow ; and we are at liberty to inquire, in what manner, and by what steps, language advanced to the state in which we now find it.

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Origin and Progress of Language.

Should we suppose a period existed before words were invented or known; it is evident that men could have no other method of communicating their feeling, than by the cries of passion, accompanied by such motions and gestures as were father expressive of emotion—Tliese indeed are the only signs which nature teaches all men, and which are understood by all. One, who saw another going into some place, where he himself had been frightened, or exposed to danger, and who wished to warn his neighbour of the danger, could contrive no other method of doing it than by uttering those cries, and making those gestures, which are the signs of fear; as two men at this day would endeavor to make themselves understood by each other, if thrown together on a desolate island, ignorant of each other's language. Those exclamatious, therefore, by grammarians called interjections, uttered in a strong and passionate manner, were undoubtedly the elements of speech.

When more enlarged communication became requisite, and names began to be applied to objects, how can we suppose men proceeded in this application of names, or invention of words ? Certainly by imitating, as much as they could, the nature of the object named by the sound of the name given to it. As a painter, who would represent grass, must employ a green colour; so in the infaney of language, one giving a name to any thing harsh or boisterous, would of course employ a harsh or boisterous sound. He could not do otherwise, if he desired to excite in the hearer the idea of that object which he wished to name. To imagine words invented, or names


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