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That ye may find yourselves on my throne;
Among the religious customs of the dervises, it seems, is an astronomical dance, in which the dervis imitates the movements of the heavenly bodies by spinning on his own axis, whilst, at the same time, he revolves around the sheikh in the centre, representing the sun; and as he spins, he sings the song of Seid Nimetollah of Kuhistan:
' Spin the ball! I reel, I burn,
“I am seeker of the stone,
Ask not me, as Muftis can,
“Lo! the God's love blazes higher,
Till all difference expire.
What are Moslems? what are Giaours?
THERE are few lives of eminent men that are harmonious; few that furnish, in all the facts, an image corresponding with their fame. But all things recorded of Michael Angelo Buonaroti agree together. He lived one life; he pursued one career. He accomplished extraordinary works; he uttered extraordinary words; and in this greatness was so little eccentricity, so true was he to the laws of the human mind, that his character and his works, like Sir Isaac Newton’s, seem rather a part of nature than arbitrary productions of the human will. Especially we venerate his moral fame. Whilst his name belongs to the highest class of genius, his life contains in it no injurious influence. Every line in his biography might be read to the human race with wholesome effect. The means, the materials of his activity, were coarse enough to be appreciated, being addressed for the most part to the eye; the results, sublime and all innocent. A purity severe and even terrible goes out from the lofty productions of his pencil and his chisel, and still more from the more perfect sculpture of his own life, which heals and exalts. “He nothing common did, or mean," and dying at the end of near ninety years,
had not yet become old, but was engaged in executing his grand conceptions in the ineffaceable architecture of St. Peter's.
Above all men whose history we know, Michael Angelo presents us with the perfect image of the artist. He is an eminent master in the four fine arts, 1 Painting, Sculpture, Architecture and Poetry. In
three of them by visible means, and in poetry by words, he strove to express the Idea of Beauty. This idea possessed him, and determined all his activity. Beauty in the largest sense, beauty inward and outward, comprehending grandeur as a part, and reaching to goodness as its soul, this to receive and this to impart, was his genius.
It is not without pleasure that we see, amid the falsehood and griefs of the human race, a soul at intervals born to behold and create only beauty. So shall not the indescribable charm of the natural world, the great spectacle of morn and evening which shut · and open the most disastrous day, want observers. The ancient Greeks called the world kóduos, Beauty; a name which, in our artificial state of society, sounds fanciful and impertinent. Yet, in proportion as the mind of man rises above the servitude to wealth and a pursuit of mean pleasures, he perceives, that what is most real is most beautiful, and that, by the contemplation of such objects, he is taught and exalted. This truth, that perfect beauty and perfect goodness are one, was made known to Michael Angelo; and we shall endeavor by sketches from his life to show the direction and limitations of his search after this element.
In considering a life dedicated to the study of Beauty, it is natural to inquire, what is Beauty? Is this charming element capable of being so abstracted by the human mind, as to become a distinct and permanent object? We answer, beauty cannot be defined. Like Truth, it is an ultimate aim of the human being. It does not lie within the limits of the understanding “ The nature of the beautiful,”. we gladly borrow the language of Moritz, a German critic, — "consists herein, that because the understanding in the presence of the beautiful cannot ask,
Why is it beautiful? ' for that reason is it so. There is no standard whereby the understanding can determine, whether objects are beautiful or otherwise. What other standard of the beautiful exists, than the entire circuit of all harmonious proportions of the great system of nature? All particular beauties scattered up and down in nature are only so far beautiful, as they suggest more or less in themselves this entire circuit of harmonious proportions.”
This great Whole, the understanding cannot embrace. Beauty may be felt. It may be produced. But it cannot be defined.
The Italian artists sanction this view of beauty by describing it as il più nell uno," the many in one,” or multitude in unity, intimating that what is truly beautiful seems related to all nature. A beautiful person has a kind of universality, and appears to have truer conformity to all pleasing objects in external nature than another. Every great work of art seems to take up
into itself the excellencies of all works, and to present, as it were, a miniature of nature.
In relation to this element of Beauty, the minds of men divide themselves into two classes. In the first place, all men have an organization corresponding more or less to the entire system of nature, and therefore a power of deriving pleasure from Beauty. This is Taste. In the second place, certain minds, more closely harmonized with nature, possess the power of abstracting Beauty from things, and reproducing it in new forms, on any object to which accident may determine their activity; as stone, canvass, song, history. This is Art.
Since Beauty is thus an abstraction of the harmony and proportion that reigns in all nature, it is therefore studied in nature, and not in what does not exist. Hence the celebrated French maxim of Rhetoric, Rien