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toes, obelisks, columns, sphinxes, colossal statues, and pyramids. But his delight and admiration would not be less if he could the next moment be set down amid the hills of Greece, crowned with the multitude of her temples and the groups of her statuary; although he would find the principles which predominate in her great works of art, the Doric severity and strength, the Ionic lightness and grace, the Corinthian ornament, and other characteristic features, exceedingly different, in many respects, from what he had witnessed just before. And even the Gothic architecture, the product of a later and comparatively barbarous age, but inspired by a new insight into nature, and adventuring upon new combinations, has opened in its light and clustered pillars, its pinnacles, capitals, and pointed arches, rich and before unexplored sources of beauty.
It is to this fact simply that we wish to direct attention, viz., that all the acknowledged styles of architecture are more or less beautiful; but are all, in many particulars, different from each other. The authors of them seem to have wandered forth into the great universe of beauty, and to have gathered up, from the exemplars which nature so richly furnishes, such forms as pleased them best ; being guided, of course, in some measure, by the circumstances of their time and country. But this could not have been; they could not have gathered so richly and so variously as is testified by the splendid but diversified monuments they have left, if nature had been so restricted, as some have supposed, in her liberality, and if the forms of beauty had not been many, but one.
0 30. Of the original or intrinsic beauty of colours. We proceed to remark, as we advance in the further consideration of this interesting subject, that we experience emotions of beauty in beholding the colours, as well as in contemplating the outlines or forms of bodies. The doctrine which we hold is, that some colours of themselves, independently of the additional interest which may subsequently be attached to them in consequence of certain associations, are fitted to excite within us those feelings of pleasure, which authorize us in this, as well as in
other analogous cases, to speak of the cause of them as beautiful. In other words, there are some colours which possess, as we suppose, an original or intrinsic beauty.În support of this opinion, we are merely able to allude to some of the various considerations which naturally present themselves, without entering into that minute exposition of them which would be admissible in a treatise professedly and exclusively devoted to the subject before us.
(1.) The pleasure which results from the mere beholding of colours may be observed in very early life. It is in consequence of this pleasing emotion that the infant so early directs its eyes towards the light that breaks in from the window, or which reaches the sense of vision from any
other source. It is pleasing to see with what evident ecstasy the child rushes from flower to flower, and compares their brilliancy. Casting his eyes abroad in the pursuit of objects that are richly variegated, he pauses to gaze with admiration on every tree that is most profusely loaded with blossoms, or that is burdened with fruit of the deepest red and yellow. It is because he is attracted with the brightness of its wings that he pursues the butterfly with a labour so unwearied, or suspends his sport to watch the wayward movements of the humming-bird.
(ž.) The same results are found also, very strikingly and generally, among all savage tribes. The sons of the forest are not so wholly untutored, so wholly devoid of natural sensibility, that they will not sometimes forget the ardour of the chase in the contemplation of the flowers which bloom in the neighbourhood of their path. Seeing how beautiful the fish of their lakes and rivers, the bird of their forests, and the forest tree itself are rendered by colours, they commit the mistake of attempting to render their own bodies more beautiful by artificial hues. They value whatever dress they may have in proportion to the gaudiness of its colours; they weave rich and variegated plumes into their hair; and as they conjectured, from his scarlet dress, that Columbus was the captain of the Spaniards, so they are wont to intimate and express their own rank and dignity by the splendour of their equipments.
(3.) And the same trait, which had been so often noticed in Savages, may be observed also, though in a less degree, among the uneducated classes in civilized communities. In persons of refinement, the original tendency to receive pleasing emotions from the contemplation of colours seems to have, in a measure, lost its power,
in consequence of the developement of tendencies to receive pleasure from other causes. In those, on the contrary, who have possessed less advantages of mental culture, and whose sources of pleasure may in consequence be supposed to lay nearer to the surface of the mind, this tendency remains undiminished. Coloured objects generally affect them with a high degree of pleasure; so much so that the absence of colour is not, in their estimation, easily compensated by the presence of any other qualities. We cannot well suppose that there is any intermediate influence between the beautiful object and the mind, of which this pleasure is the product, but must rather conclude, in the circumstances of the case, that the presence of the object, and that only, is the ground of its existence. It is this view of the subject which seems to be taken in a passage of Akenside, that is interesting for its poetical merit as well as its philosophical truth.
" Ask the swain,
Ø 31. Further illustrations of the original beauty of colours. We
may derive additional proof of the fact, that colours are of themselves fitted to cause emotions of beauty, from what we learn in the case of those persons who have been blind from birth, but in after life have suddenly been restored by couching, or in some other way._"I have couched,” says Dr. Wardrop, * speaking of James Mitchell, one of his eyes successfully; and he is much amused with the visible world, though he mistrusts information gained by that avenue. One day I got him a new and gaudy suit of clothes, which delighted him beyond description. It was the most interesting scene of sensual gratification I ever beheld.”
* As quoted by Mr. Stewart in his account of Mitchell.
But this person, it appears, had some faint notions of light and colours previous to the operation by which his powers of vision were more fully restored.
And the facts, stated in connexion with his exercise of this imperfect vision, are equally decisive in favour of the doctrine under consideration. The statements to which we refer are as follows.—“At the time of life when this boy began to walk, he seemed to be attracted by bright and dazzling colours; and though everything connected with his history appears to prove that he derived little information from the organ, yet he received from it much sensual gratification. He used to hold between his eye and luminous objects such bodies as he found to increase by their interposition the quantity of light; and it was one of his chief amusements to concentrate the sun's rays by means of pieces of glass, transparent pebbles, or similar substances, which he held between his eye and the light, and turned about in various directions. These, too, he would often break with his teeth, and give them that form which seemed to please him most. There were other modes by which he was in the habit of gratifying this fondness for light. He would retire to any outhouse or to any room within his reach, shut the windows and doors, and remain there for a considerable time, with his eyes fixed on some small hole or chink which admitted the sun's rays, eagerly watching them. He would also, during the winter nights, often retire to a dark corner of the room and kindle a light for his amusement. On these occasions, as well as in the gratification of his other senses, his countenance and gestures displayed a most interesting avidity and curiosity.”
The conclusion which we deduce from these sources of proof is, that colours are fitted, from our very constitution, to produce within us emotions of beauty.
$ 32. Of sounds considered as a source of beauty. We next propose to inquire into the application of these principles in respect to sounds. And here also we have reason to believe that they hold good to a certain extent; in other words, that certain sounds are pleasing of themselves; and are hence, agreeably to views already expressed, termed BEAUTIFUL.— In proceeding, however, to the consideration of beauty as it exists in connexion with sounds, it may be proper to recur to the remark which was made near the commencement of the chapter, that the sources or grounds of beauty, although the emotions they excite within us are all of essentially the same kind, are very various. In view of what was there said, we do not feel at liberty to doubt, as some may be disposed to do, whether there is beauty in sounds, merely because sounds are obviously altogether different from some other objects which constitute sources of beauty, such as colours or forms. It is not the intention of nature that the empire of the beautiful shall be limited in this manner.
On the contrary, if certain sounds have something within them, which, from its very nature, is calculated to excite pleasing emotions, they are obviously distinguished by this circumstance from other sounds, and furnish a sufficient reason for our regarding them and speaking of them as BEAUTIFUL.
(I.) In asserting, however, that there is an original beauty in sounds, we do not wish to be understood as saying that all sounds, of whatever kind, possess this character. There are some sounds which, in themselves considered, are justly regarded as indifferent, and others are positively disagreeable. No one would hesitate in pronouncing the discordant creaking of a wheel, the filing of a saw, the braying of the ass, the scream of a peacock, or the hissing of a serpent, to be disagreeable. There are other sounds, such as the bleating of the lamb, the lowing of the cow, the call of the goat, and other notes and cries of animals, which appear to be, in themselves, entirely indifferent. We are aware that they are sometimes spoken of as beautiful, nor is it necessary to deny that they are sometimes heard with a high degree of pleasure. But we regard the beauty in this case as