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Cease, cease to chide,' rejoin'd the lovely saint, ..
In mournful accent musically faint;
And sure all gentle souls with pity's tear
'Tis gone. Come near—yet closer -Oh farewel !'” In these extracts, which are all our limits will allow, were we fastidious, we might Uwell upon several bad lines and inelegant expressions. " Dark villain! what may this de. note?” is not a very appropriate exclamation to a man who was about to stab' the wife of the person employing it; tool of guilt is very objectionable as applied to a poignard ; and the description of Isabel with her lips glued around the cankered wound of her husband, is positively disgusting. It is, however, the lowest and the last duty of criticism, to point out such defects as will be corrected by the improving taste of a young man, especially where they are compen sated by beauties of no ordinary or vulgar kind.
· Art, VII.-Theory on the Classification of Beauty and
5 Deformity, and their correspondence with Physiognomic · Expressjon, exemplified in various Works of Art and Na
tural Objects, and illustrated with four general charts and
thirty-eight copper-plates. By MARY ANNE SCHIMMEL"PENNINCK, London, Arch, 1815. Ato. pp. 431. BEAUTY, the delight and torment of mankind, is the subject of this work. That which some authors have considered to be so mysterious in its character as not to be unveiled by human art, is here presented to us in the pages of a ponderous quarto, dissected and exposed in all the divisions and subdivisions, the classes, orders, genera, species, and varieties of the Swedish naturalist; and by the hand of a didactic lady. It may appear a formidable un. dertaking for recluse critics to enter into any discussion with such a competitor on beauty, the influence of which she is so well acquainted with wherever she turns, and we should abandon the attempt if it were not discovered to be common to human nature, in both sexes, to be least acquainted with those qualities they themselves possess ;not that any woman is insensible to the power of her own charms, but she can see the effect in real life, and the cause only in her mirror.
Some writers have the vanity to attach to their works their own portrait, and it is frequently convenient, as that production may find a sale from the skill of the artist, which would meet with none from the science of the author; but on this occasion we should have been gratified from better motives if a thirty-ninth copper-plate had been added, exhibiting the lady in propria persona, as the best illustration of her own theory.
Reid, in his Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man, says, that beauty is found in things so various, and so very different in nature, that it is difficult to say wherein it consists, or what can be common to all the objects in which it is found. Why then, he inquires, should they be called by the same name? They please, he proceeds, and are denominated beautiful; not in virtue of any one quality common to themselves, but by means of several different principles in human nature. Our author disagrees with this metaphysician; and venturing to analyze the constituent principle both of beauty and deformity, she points out the sources and distinctions of that agreeable or disagreeable expression which pleases or offends the taste, whether in art or nature. She further aspires to reduce all the varieties of expression to a fixed and determinate classification, and to distinguish the signs which characterize the classes, with the undeviating laws by which they severally find utterance through the medium of sensation. • Beauty, which Theophrastus denominates a silent fraud, and Socrates a short-lived tyranny, is here not merely the subject of an epithet, but is most learnedly defined in different ways, but all reducible to this short form, as being that which gives pleasure to the mind in objects of sense. Dr. Hutchison, in his Inquiry concerning Beauty, says, that the word signifies the idea raised in us, and that the sense of beauty is the power of receiving this idea- The idea itself he denominates an internal sense. • Having settled her definition as was proper in such re. galar advances, she next observes, that beauty may be reduced to a fixed standard, in its own nature essentially distinct from deformity; and that this standard includes not one, but several species, distinct in their constituent parts, as well as in the objects to which they are applicable. Dr. Sayer, in his Disquisitions Metaphysical and Literary, has given us a new analysis of beauty, and says, that object may be justly esteemed a standard of beauty, with the whole appearance, or with the component parts of which all the excellencies of it can be universally asso. ciated. This writer adopts the Hartleyan theory applied by Dr. Priestly, in his Lectures on Oratory and Criticism, and by Mr. Allison in his Essays on Taste. • Thus beauty, having been by our author defined to be that which gives pleasure to the mind through the medium of the senses, she next inquires, What that is which gives this pleasure? Is it any thing in form, colour, hearing, touch, taste, or smell? Here a wide range of examination is pursued, as to the answer that would be given by the ancient feudatory, the Swiss mountaineer, the modern Pe. ruvian, the historian, and the poet, and from the general review of the peculiarities of these different characters, she assuines, that beauty consists not in mere form, colour, and other sensible qualities, but that form, colour, &c. only become beautiful as being the vehicle by which mind is expressed.
Some have considered beauty as extended to every thing that pleases; others have restricted it to objects of sight, comprehending however not only those which are the im. mediate subjects of vision, but also those which may be remembered or imagined. Certain it is that persons blind from their birth may be competent judges of the beauty of sound, composition, character, affection, conduct: all that belongs to the honestum (dixason) as distinguished from the pulchrum (nader) in its most limited construction. Con. sistently with these latter distinctions, Dr. Price, in his Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas, explains the difference between those of beauty and deformity, and of right and wrong, and in allusion to the popular errors on the subject, shews that right and pleasure, and wrong and pain, stand in the precise relation of cause and effect. Our author resumes, • " Mind alone can give emotion to mind. Where there is no mind or character expressed, there can be no beauty.” (p. 14.) - Plato and Xenophon among the ancients, and Shaftsbury
and Akenside among the moderns, considered that beauty
The living fountain in itself contains
AKENSIDE. The argumentative arithmetic of the lady in the following passage is not, to our judgment, in the most satisfactory form; inasmuch as we can discover no similarity between the positive and negative in the medium of comparison, and the two positives in the subject compared.
« Inconsistency of expression destroys character. On the same principle by which in algebra a plus two added to a minus tuo destroy each other, and leave nothing; so in matters of taste, a positive beauty of one sort, added to a positive beauty of equal force, of a contrary description, as certainly destroy each other, and leave nothing but a complete blank of expression." (p. 14–15.)
Nor are we pleased with the butchers' shops into which our author would thrust some of our best novelists, or the connection given to the facetious knight and the monster Caliban in the subsequent remarks.
" In the intellectual tastes the same rule obtains.
“ Hence statues of Silenus, pictures of butchers' shops, novels like those of Fielding and Smollett, or the character of Falstaff or Caliban, have obtained a value and currency, not from their beauty, but from the pleasure which is given to some minds even by a cou. sistent deformity." (p. 17.) · Our readers are not prepared (and cannot be in our cur. sory view of the work) for all the minute distinctions of the author: otherwise instead of referring to it, we would obe serve upon a classification of the best writers of ancient and modern times, (in page 380), where we have an ar. rangement of poets into the passive and active, the sublime, the sentimental, the sprightly, with the interchanges and intermixtures of these in all the permutations of quantity.
Mr. Burke speaking of beauty, says, “I mean that qua. lity or those qualities of bodies by which they cause love or
some passion similar to it. I confine,” he continues, “this definition to the merely sensible qualities of things, for the sake of preserving the utmost simplicity in a subject which must always distract us, whenever we take in those various cases of sympathy which attach us to any persons or things from secondary considerations, and not from the direct force which they have merely on being viewed.” (Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.) The same writer excludes from the number of real causes of beauty, utility, which with others, is the sole foundation of beauty. Hogarth, in his Analysis of Beauty, enumerates, as the elementary principles, fitness, variety, uniformity, simplicity, intricacy, and quantity.
The first part of the work having for its purpose to ex« plain the radical constituent principle which distinguishes beauty from deformity in general, and the principles which characterize each distinct genus of beauty and deformity ip particular, the author proceeds to treat of the external signs by which each of these constituent internal principles are manifested through the medium of objects of sense and perception. Yet she does not hastily develop this important subject; but finding the doctrine of association in her way, nearly 200 pages are employed in the disposal of it. The design of this episodical deviation is to shew that the constituent principles of beauty and deformity are expressed by that modification of sensible objects, which has been associated with the principles of each peculiar genus of beauty and deformity; and that on very different principles such associations may have been established.. : The third part opens with a long catalogue of mathema. tical definitions and axioms as to right and curved lines, bases, perpendiculars, obelisks, pyramids, parallelogrammatic forms, &c. &c., and having so prepared her pupil, she applies the expression of inanimate material objects, to the animated human figure and countenance, to prove that the association of strong and powerful passions with perpendicular lines and strong arches, is not fanciful, but founded on truth and nature. The great artist we have named observes that figures bounded by curve lines are in general more beautiful than those bounded by right lines and angles; and he distinguishes two lines, the one re.. sembling the figure 8, noticed in shells and flowers, and the other he calls the line of grace, or the same connected with some solid body, as the serpent entwining round a tree, the twisted horn, and the like.