Page images
PDF
EPUB

the relation it bears to some other. Our taste of beauty is, perhaps, compounded of all the ideas that have entered the imagination from our birth. This seems to occasion the different opinions that prevail concerning it. For instance, a foreign eye esteems those features and dresses handsome, which we think deformed. Is it not then likely that those who have seen most objects, throughout the universe, " cæteris paribus," will be the most impartial judges: because they will judge truest of the general proportion that was intended by the Creator; and is best?

The beauty of most objects is partly of the absolute and partly of the relative kind. A Corinthian pillar has some beauty dependent on it's variety and smoothness: which I would call absolute; it has also a relative beauty, dependent on it's taperness and foliage; which, authors say, was first copied from the leaves of plants, and the shape of a tree.

Uniformity should, perhaps, be added as another source of absolute beauty (when it appears in one sivgle object).

I do not know any other reason, but that it renders the whole more easily comprehended. It seems that nature herself.considers it as beauty, as the external parts of the human frame are made uniform to please the sight; which is rarely the case of the internal, that are not

Hutchinson determines absolute beauty to depend on this and on variety? and says it is in a compound ratio of both. Thus an octagon excels a square; and a square, a figure of unequal sides: but carry yariety to an extreme, and it loses it's effect. For instance, multiply the number of angles till the mind loses the uniformity of parts, and the figure is less pleasing; or, as it approaches nearer to a round,

seen.

it may be said to be robbed of it's variety. But, ainidst all these eulogiuins of variety, it is proper to observe, that novelty sometimes requires a little abatement. I mean, that some degree of familiarity introduces a discovery of relative beauty, more than adequate to the bloom of novelty.—This is, now and then, obvious in the features of a face, the air of some tunes, and the flavour of some dishes. In short, it requires some familiarity to become acquainted with the relation that parts bear unto the whole, or one object to another. Variety, in the same object, where the beauty does not depend on imitation (which is the case in foliage, bustos, basso-relievos, painting) requires uniformity. For instance, an octagon is much more beautiful than a figure of unequal sides; which is at once various and disagree: able,

[graphic]

CONTENTS.

On Publications,

page 1 | The History of Don Pedro *** 56 On the Test of popular Opinions, 3 On Envy. To a Friend. - - 55 On allowing Merit in others, 6 A Dream,

• 57 The Impromptu,

8 Unconnected Thoughts on GarThe Hermit (in the manner of dening,

65 Cambray). 10 On Politics,

80 A Character,

17 Egotisms, from my own Sensaon Reserve, a fragment, 19 tions,

.83 On external Figure,

24 On Dress, A Character, 27 On Writing and Books,

91 An Opinion of Ghosts, 30 Books, &c.

108 On Cards, a fragment, • 34 Of Men and Manners,

111 On Hyprocrisy, 36 of Books and Writers,

138 On Vanity, 40 On Men and Manners,

145 An Adventure, 42 On Religion,

157 On Modesty and Impudence, 46 On Taste,

161

- 88

[ocr errors]

6. Nicholson, Poughnill,

[graphic]
« EelmineJätka »