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accidental association through all the divisions of which it is susceptible; and, indeed, the task would be endless; since there is scarcely впу class in society which may not be shown 10 have peculiar associations of interest and emotion with objects which are not so connected in the minds of any other class. The young and the old—the rich and the poor— the arlist and the man of science—the inhabitant of the city and the inhabitant of the country—the man of business and the man of plAsure—the domestic and the dissipated, —nay, even the followers of almost every different study or profession, have perceptions of beauty, because they have associations with external objects, which are peculiar to themselves, and have no existence for any other persons. But, though the detail of such instances could not fail to show, in the clearest and most convincing manner, how directly the notion of beauty is derived from some more radical and familiar emotion, and how many and various are the channels by which euch emotions are transmitted, enough, perhaps, has been already said, to put our readers in possession of the principles and general bearings of an argument which we must not think of exhausting.
Before entirely leaving this branch of the subject, however, let us pause for a moment on the familiar but very striking and decisive instance of our varying and contradictory judgments, as to the beauty of the successive fashions of dress that have existed within our own remembrance. All persons who still continue to find amusement in society, and are not old enough to enjoy only the recollections of their youth, think the prevailing fashions becoming and graceful, and the fashions of twenty or twenty-five years old intolerably ugly and ridiculous. The younger they are, and the more they mix in society, this impression is the stronger; and the fact is worth noticing; because there is really no one thing as to which persons judging merely from ihi'ir feelings, and therefore less likely to be misled by any systems or theories, are so very positive and decided, as that established fashions are beautiful in themselves; and that exploded fashions are intrinsically and beyond all question preposterous and ugly. We have never yet met a young lady or gentleman, who spoke from their hearts and without reserve, who had the least doubt on the subject; or could conceive how any person could be so stupid as not to see the intrinsic elegance of the reigning mode, or not to be struck with the ludicrous awkwardness of the habits in which their mothers were disguised. Yet there can be no doubt, that if these ingenuous critics had been born, with the same natural sensibility to beauty, but twenty years earlier, they would have joined in admiring what they now laugh at; as certa nly as those who succeed them twenty years hereafter will laugh at them. It is plain, then, and we think scarcely disputed, out of the circles to which we have alluded, that there is, in the general case, no intrinsic beauty or deformity in any of those fashions;
and that the forms, and colours, and materials, that are. we may say, universally and very strongly felt to be beautiful wlule they are in fashion, are sure to lose all their beauty as soon as the fashion has passed away. . Now the forms, and colours, and combinations remain exactly as they were; and, therefore, it seems indisputable, that the source of their successive beauty and ugliness must be sought in something extrinsic, and can only be found in the associations which once exalted, and ultimately degraded them in our estimation. While they were in fashion, they were the forms and colours which distinguished the rich and the noble—the eminent, the envied, the observed in society. They were the forms and the colours in which all that was beautiful, and admired, and exalted, were habitually arrayed. They were associated, therefore, with ideas of opulence, and elegance, and gaiety, and all that is captivating and bewitching, in manners, fortune, and situation—and derived the whole of their beauty from those associations. By and bye, however, they were deserted by the beautiful, the rich, and the elegant, and descended to the vulgar and dependent, or were only seen in combination with the antiquated airs of faded beauties or obsolete beaux. They thus came to be associated with ideas of vulgarity and derision, and with the images of old and decayed persons, whom it is difficult for their juniors to believe ever to have been young or attractive; —and the associations being thus reversed, in which all their beauty consisted, the beauty itself naturally disappeared.
The operation of the same causes is distinctly visible in all the other apparent irregularities of our judgments as to this description of. beauty. Old people have in sreneral but little toleration for the obsolete fashions of their later or middle years; but will generally stickle for the intrinsic elegance of those which were prevalent in the bright days of their early youth—as being still associatrd in their recollections, with the beauty with which they were first enchanted, and tne gay spirits with which they were then inspired. In the same way, while we laiifihat the fashions of which fine ladies and gentlemen were proud in the days of our childhood, because they are now associated only with images of decrepitude and decay, we look with some feelings of veneration on the habits of more remote eenerations, the individuals of which are only known to us as historical persons; and with unmingled respect and admiration on those still more ancient habiliments which remind us either of the heroism of the feudal chivalry, or the virtue and nobleness of classical antiquity. The iron mail of the Gothic knight, or the clumsy shield and naked arm» of the Roman warrior, strike us as majestic and graceful, merely because they are associated with nothing but talcs of romantic dar ing or patriotic prowess—while the full-bottomed periwigs that were added to the soldiers equipment in the days of Lewis XIV. and King William—ar.d no doubt had a noble effect in the eyes of that generation— How appear to us equally ridiculous and unbecoming; merely because such appendages are no longer to be seen, but upon the heads of sober and sedentary lawyers, or in the pictures of antiquated esquires.
We cannot afford, however, to enlarge any farther upon these considerations, and are inclined indeed to think, that what has been already said on the subject of associations, which, though not universal, are common to whole classes of persons, will make it unnecessary to enlarge on those that are peculiar to each individual. It is almost enough, indeed, to transcribe the following short passage from Mr. Alison.
•:There is no man, who has not some interesting associations with particular scenes, or airs, or books; and who does not feel their beauty or sublimity enhanced to him by such connections. The view of the house where one was born, of the school where one was educated, and where the gay years of infancy were passed, is indifferent to no man. There are songs also, which we have heard in our infancy, which, when brought to our remembrance in after years, raise emotions for which we cannot well account; and which, though perhaps very indifferent in themselves, still continue from this association, and from the variety of conceptions which they kindle in our minds, to be our favourites through life. The scenes which have been distinguished by the residence of any person, whose memory we admire, produce a similar effect. A/urenmr enim, nescio y/o pacto, locis ipsis, in (juibus eorum. quos dihgimtis, out admiramur adsvnt vestigia. The scenes themselves may belittle beautiful; but the delight with which we recollect the traces of their lives, blends itself insensibly with the emotions which the scenery excites; and the admiration which thfse recollections afford, seems to give a kind of sanctity to the place where they dwelt, and converts every thing into beauty which appears to have been connected with them."
There are similar impressions—as to the sort of scenery to which we have been long accustomed—as to the style of personal beauty by which we were first enchanted—and eren as to the dialect, or the form of versification which we first began to admire, that bestow a secret and adventitious charm upon all these objects, and enable us to discover in them a beauty which is invisible, because it is non-existent to every other eye.
In all the case» we have hitherto considered, the external object ie supposed to have acquired its beauty by being actually connected with the causes of our natural emotions, eilher as a constant sign of their existence, or as beinir casually present on the ordinary ooi-asions of their excitement. There is a relation, however, of another kind, to which il>o it is necessary to attend, both to elucidate the general grounds of the theory, and in explain several appearances that might otherwise expose it to objections. This is the iclation which external objects may bear to onr internal feelings, and the power they may cousequently acquire of suggesting them, in
consequence of a sort of resemblance or analogy which they seem to have to their natural and appropriate objects. The language | of Poetry is founded, in a great degree, upon this analogy; and nil language, indeed, is full of it; and attests, by its structure, both the extent to which it is spontaneously pursued, and the effects that are produced by its suggestion. We take a familiar instance from the elegant writer to whom we have already referred.
"What, for instance, is the leading impression we receive from the scenery of spring! The soft and gentle green with which the earth is spread, the feeble texture of the plants and flowers, and the remains of winter yet lingering among the woods and hills— all conspire to infuse into our minds somewhat of that fearful tenderness with which infancy is usually beheld. With such a sentiment, how innumerable are the ideas which present themselves to our imagination! ideas, it is apparent, by no means confined to the scene before our eyes, or to the possible desolation which may yet await its infant beauty, but which almost involuntarily extend themselves to analogies with the life of man! and bring before us all those images of hope or fear, which, according to our peculiar situations, have the dominion of our hearts! The beauty of autumn is accompanied with a similar exercise of thought: the leaves begin then to drop from the trees; the fiowors and shrubs, with which the fields were adorned iu the summer months, decay; the woods and groves are silent; the sun himself seems gradually to withdraw his light, or to become enfeebled in his power. Who is there, who, at this season, docs not feel his mind impressed with a sentiment of melancholy? or who is able to resist that current of thought, which, from such appearances of decay, so naturally leads him to the solemn imagination of that inevitable fale. which is to bring on (dite ttu: decay of life, of empire, and of nature itself?"
A thousand such analogies, indeed, are suggested to us by the most familiar aspects of nature. The morning and the evenirg present the same ready picture of youth ar|d of closing life, as the various vicissitudes of the year. The withering of flowers images out to us the langour of beauty, or the sickness of childhood. The loud roar of troubled waters seems to bear some resemblance to the voice of lamentation or violence; and the softeb murmur of brighter streams, to be expressive of cheerfulness and innocence. The purity and transparency of water or of air, indeed, is universally itself felt to be expressive of mental purity and gaiety; and their darkness or turbulence, of mental doom and dejection. The genial warmth of autumn suggests to us the feeling of mild benevolence:—the sunny gleams and fitful showers of early spring, remind us of the waywardness of infancy ;— flowers waving on their slender items, impress us with the notion of flexibility and lightness of temper. All fine and delicate forme are typical of delicacy and gentlenew 01 character; and almost all forms, bounded by waving or flowing lines, suggest ideas of easy movement, social pliability, and elegance. Rapid and impetuous motion seems to be emblematical of violence and passion: —slow and steady motion, of deliberation, dignity, and resolution;—fluttering motion, of inconstancy or terror;—and waving motion, according as it is slow or swift, of sadness or playfulness. A lofty tower, or a massive building, gives us at once the idea of firmness and elevation of character ;—a rock battered by the waves, of fortitude in adversity. Stillness and calmness, in the water or the air, веет to shadow out tenderness, indolence, and placidity;—moonlight we call pensive and gentío;—and the unclouded sun gives us an impression of exulting vigour, and domineering ambition and glory.
It is not difficult, with the assistance which language affords us, to trace the origin of all these, and a thousand other associations. In many instances, the qualities which thus suggest mental emotions, do actually resemble their constant concomitants in human nature: as is obviously the case with the forms and motions which are sublime and beautiful: and, in some, their effects and relations bear во obvious an analogy to those of human conduct or feeling, as to force itself upon the notice of the most careless beholder. But, whatever may have been their original, the very structure of language attests the vast extent to which they have been carried, and the nature of the suggestions to which they are indebted for their interest or beauty. Since we all speak familiarly of the sparkling of wit— and the darkness of melancholy—can it be any way difficult to conceive that bright light may be agreeable, because it reminds us of gaiety—and darkness oppressive, because it is felt to be emblematical of sorrow? It is very remarkable, indeed, that, while almost all the words by which the affections of the mind are expressed, seem to have been borrowed originally from the qualities of matter, the epithets by which we learn afterwards to distinguish such material objects ая are felt to be sublime or beautiful, are all of them epithets lhat had been previously appropriated to express some quality or emotion of mind. Colours are thus familiarly said to be gay or grave—motions to be lively, or deliberate, or capricious—forms to be delicate or modest—sounds to be animated or mournful —prospects to be cheerful or melancholy— rocks to be bold—waters to be tranquil—and a thousand other phrases of the same import; all indicating, most unequivocally, the sources fiom which our interest in matter is derived. and proving, that it is necessary, in all cases. to confer mind and feeling upon it, before it can be conceived as either sublime or beautiful. The great charm, indeed, and the great secret of poetical diction, consists in thus lending life and emotion to all ihe objects it embraces; and the enchanting beauty which we sometimes recognise in descriptions of very ordinary phenomena, will be found to
3 from the force of imagination, by which
the poet has connected with human emotions, a variety of objects, to which common minds could not discover such a relation. What the poet does for his readers, however, by his original similes and metaphors, in these higher cases, even the dullest of those readers do, in some degree, every day, for themselves; and the beauty which is perceived, when natural objects are unexpectedly vivified by the glowing fancy of the former, is precisely of the same kind lhat is felt when the clcsoness of the analog)- enables them to force human feeling.'« upon the recollection of all mailkind. As the poet sees more of beauty in nature than ordinary mortals, just because he perceives more of these analogies ai.il relations to social emotion, in which all beauty consists; so other men see more or less of this beauty, exactly as they happen to possess that fancy, or those habits, which enable them readily to trace out these relations.
From all these sources of evidence, then, we think it is pretty well made out, that the beauty or sublimity of external objects is r.othing but the reflection of emotions excited by the feelings or condition of sentient beings; and is produced altogether by certain little portions, as it were, of love, joy. pitv, veneration, or terror, that adhere to trie objects that were present on the occasions of such emotions.—Nor, after what we have already said, does it seem necessary to reply to more than one of the objections to which we are aware that this theory is liable.—If beauty be nothing more than a reflection of love, pity, or veneration, how comes it. it may be asked, to be distinguished from those sentiments? They are never confounded wiih each other, either in our feelings or our language :—Why, then, should they all be confounded under the common name of beauty* and why should beauty, in all case?, affect us in a way so different from the love or compassion of which it is said to be merely the reflection?
Now. to these questions, we are somewhat tempted to answer, after the manner of our country, by asking, in our turn, whether it be really true, that beauty always affects us in one and the same manner, and always in a different manner from the simple and elementary affections which it is its office to recaí to us* In very many caces, it appear to us. that the sensations which we receive from objects that are felt to be beautiful, and that in the hiuhest degree, do not differ at all from the direct movements of tenderness or pity towards sentient beings. If the epithet of beauty be correctly (as it is universally) applied to many of the most admired and enchanting passages in poetry, which consist entirely in the expression of affecting sentiments, the question would be speedily decided; and it is a fact, at all events, too remarkable to be omitted, lhat some of the. most powerful and delightful emotions that are uniformly classed under this name, arise altogether from the direct influence of such pathetic emotions, without the intervention ni any material imagery. We do not wish, however, to dwell upon an argument, which certainly is not applicable to all parts of the question; and, admitting that, on many occasions, the feelings which we experience' from beauty, are sensibly different from the , primary emotions in which we think they! originate, we shall endeavour in a very few words, to give an explanation of this difference, which seems to be perfectly consistent with the theory we have undertaken to illustrate.
In the first place, it should make some difference on the primary affections to which we have alluded, that, in the cases alluded to. they are reflected from material objects, and not directly excited by their natural causes. The light of the moon has a very different complexion from that of the sun ;—though it is in substance the sun's light: and glimpses of interesting, or even of familiar objects, cansht unexpectedly from a mirror placed at a distance from these objects, will affect us, like sudden allusions in poetry, very differently from the natural perception of those objects in their ordinary relations. In the next place, the emotion, when suggested in the shape of beauty, comes upon us, for the most part, disencumbered of all those accompaniments which frequently give it a peculiar and less satisfactory character, when it arises from direct intercourse with its living objects. The compassion, for example, that is suggested by beauty of a gentle and winning description, is not attended with any of that disgust and uneasiness which frequently accompany the spectacle of real distress; nor with that importunate suggestion of the duty of relieving it, from which it is almost inseparable.' Nor does the temporary delight which we receive from beauty of a gay and animating character, call upon us for any such expenditure of spirits, or active demonstrations of sympathy, аз are sometimes demanded by the turbulence of real joy. In the third place, the emotion of beauty, being partly founded upon illusion, is far more transitory in its own nature, and is both more apt to fluctuate and тагу in its character, and more capable of being dismissed at pleasure, than any of the primary affections, whose shadow and representative it is. In the fourth place, the perception of beauty implies a certain exercise of the imagination that is not required in the case of direct emotion, and is sufficient, of itself, both to give a new character to every emotion that is suggested by the intervention of such an exercise, and to account for our classing all the various emotions that are so suggested under the same denomination of beauty. When we are injured, we feel indignation—when we are wounded, we feel pain—when we see suffering, we feel compassion—and when we witness any splendid act of heroism or generosity, we feel admiration—without any effort of the imagination, or the intervention of any picture or vision in the mind. But when we feel indignation or pity, or admiration, in consequence of seeing •orne piece of inanimate matter that merely
suggests or recals to us the ordinary causes or proper objecte of these emotions, it is evident that our fancy is kindled by a sudden flash of recollection; and that the ell'ect is produced by means of a certain poetical creation that is instantly conjured up in the mind. It is this active and heated state of the imagination, and this divided and busy occupation of the rnind, that constitute the great peculiarity of the emotions we experience from the perception of beauty.
Finally, and this is perhaps the most important consideration of the whole, it should be recollected, that, along with the shadow or suggestion of associated emotions, there is ahvavs present a real and direct perception, which not only gives a force and liveliness to all the images which it suggests, but seems to impart to them some share of its own reality. That there is an illusion of this kind in the case, is sufficiently demonstrated by the fact, that we invariably ascribe the interest, which we think has been proved to arise wholly from these associations, to the object itself, as one of its actual and inherent qualities; and consider ¿is beauty asno less a property belonging to it, than any of its physical attributes. The associated interest, therefore, is beyond all doubt confounded with the present perception of the object itself; and a livelier and more instant impression is accordingly made upon the mind, than if the interesting conceptions had been merely excited in the memory by the usual operation of reflection or voluntary meditation. Something analogous to this is familiarly known to occur in other cases. When we merely think of an absent friend, our emotions are incomparably less lively than when the recollection of him is suddenly suggested by the unexpected sight of his picture, of the house where he dwelt, or the spot on which we last parted from him—and all these objects seem tor the moment to wear the colours of our own associated affections. When Captain Cook's companions found, in the remotest corner of the habitable globe, a broken spoon with the word London stamped upon it—and burst into tears at the sight !—they proved how differently we may be moved by emotions thus connected with the real presence of an actual perception, than by the mere recollection of the objects on which those emotions depend. Everyone of them had probably thought of London every day since he left it; and many of them might have been talking of it with tranquillity, but a moment before this more effectual appeal was made to their sensibility.
If we add to all this, that there is necessarily something of vagueness and variableness in the emotions most generally excited by the perception of beauty, and that the rnind wanders with the eye, over the different objets which may supply these emotions, witti a degree of unsteadiness, and half voluntary half involuntary fluctuation, we may come to understand how the effect not only should be essentially different from that of the simple presentment of any one interesting conception, but should acquire a peculiarity which entitle.« it to a different denomination. Most of the associations of which we have been last speaking, as being founded on the analogies or fanciful resemblances that are felt to exist between physical objects and qualities, and the interesting affections of mind, are intrinsically of this vague and wavering description—and «hen we look at a line landscape. or any other scene of complicated beauty, a great variety of such images are suddenly presented to the fancy, anil as suddenly succeeded by others, as the eye ranges over the different features of which it is composed, and feeds upon the charms which it discloses. Now. the direct perception, in all such cases, hot only perpetually accompanies the associated emotions, but is inextricably confounded with them in our feelings, and is even recognised upon reflection as the cause, not merely of their unusual strength, but of the several peculiarities by which we have shown that they are distinguished. It is not wonderful, therefore, either that emotions so circumstanced should not be classed along with similar affections, excited under different circumstances, or that the perception of present existence, thus mixed up, and indissolubly confounded with interesting conceptions, should between them produce a sensation of so distinct a nature as naturally to be distinguished by a peculiar name—or that the beauty which results from this combination should, in ordinary language, be ascribed to the objects themselves—the presence and perception of which is a necessary condition of its existence.
What we have now said is enough, we believe, to give an attentive reader that general conception of the theory before us, which is all that we can hope to give in the narrow limits to which we are confined. It may be observed, however, that we have spoken only of those sorts of beauty which we think capable of being resolved into some passion, or emotion, or pretty lively sentiment of our nature; and though these are undoubtedly Ihe highest and most decided kinds of beauty, it is certain that there are many things called beautiful which cannot claim so lofty a connection. It is necessary, therefore, to observe, that, though every thing that excites any feeling worthy to be called an emotion, by its beauty or sublimity, will be found to be related to the natural objects of human passions or affections, there are many things which are pleasing or agreeable enough to be called beautiful, in consequence of their relation merely to human convenience and comfort:— many others that please by suggesting ideas of human skill and ingenuity;—and many that obtain the name of beautiful, "by being associated wi:h human fortune, vanity, or splendour. After what has been already said. I it will not be necessary either to exemplify or explain these subordinate phenomena. It is enough merely to suggest, that they all please upon the same great principle of sympathy with human feelings; and are explained by the simple and indisputable fact, that we are pleaaed with the direct contemplation of
human comfort, ingenuity, and fortune All these, indeed, obviously resolve themselves into the great object of sympathy—human enjoyment. Convenience and comfort is but another name for a lower, but very indispensable ingredient of that emotion. Skill and ingenuity readily present themselves as means by which enjoyment may be promoted; and high fortune, and opulence, and splendour. pass, at least at a distance, for its certain causes and attendants. The beauty of fitness and adaptation of parts, even in the woiks of nature, is derived from the same fountain— partly by means of its obvious analogy to works ot human skill, and partly by suggestions of that Creative power anil wisdom, to which aU human destiny is subjected. The feelings, therefore, associated with all those qualities, though scarcely rising to the height of emotion, are obviously in a certain degree pleasing or interesting; and when several of them happen to be united in one object, may accumulate to a very great degree ol beauty. It is needless, we think, to pursue th< se general propositions through all the details to which they so obviously lead. We shall confine ourselves, therefore, to a very few remarks upon the beauty of architecture—and chiefly as an illustration of our general position.
There are few things, about which men of virtu are more apt to rave, than the merits of the Grecian architecture; and most of these who affect an uncommon purity and delicacy of taste, talk of the intrinsic beauty of its proportions as a thing not to be disputed, except by barbarian ignorance and stupidity. Air. Alison, we think, was the first who «rave a full and convincing refutation of this mysterious1 dogma; and, while he admits, in the most ample terms, the actual beauty'of the objects in question, has shown, we think, in the clearest manner, that it arises entirely from the combination of the following associations:—1st, The association of utility, convenience, or fitness for the purposes of the building: 2d. Of security and stability, with a view to the nature of the materials: 3d, Of the skill anil power requisite to mould such materials into forms so commodious; 4lh. Of magnificence, anil splendour, and expense: 5th, Of antiquity: and. fílhly. Of Roman anil Grecian greatness. His observations are summed up in the followin-r short sentence.
!:The proportions,'' he observes, '-of these orders, it is to be remembered, are distinct subjects of beauty, from the, ornaments with which they are embellished, from the magnificence with which they are executed, from the purposes of elegance they are intended to serve, or the scenes of grandeur they are, destined to adorn. It is in such scenes, however, and with such additions, that we are accustomed to observe them: and, while we feel the effect of all these accidental associations, we are seldom willing to examine what aro the causes of the complex emotion we feel, and readily attribute to the nature of the architecture itself, the whole pleasure which we enjoy. But, besides these, there are othei associations we have with these forms, that