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is pleasant, even when she destroys. It is a grateful homage to common sense, to see those productions hastening to that oblivion, in their progress to which they should never have been retarded. But it is much more pleasant to witness the power of taste in the work of preservation and lasting praise;―to think that, in these fleeting and evanescent feelings of the beautiful and the sublime, men have discovered something as fixed and as positive, as if they were measuring the flow of the tides, or weighing the stones on which they tread;-to think that there lives not, in the civilized world, a being who knows he has a mind, and who knows not that Virgil and Homer have written, that Raffaelle has painted, and that Tully has spoken. Intrenched in these everlasting bulwarks against barbarism, Taste points out to the races of men, as they spring up in the order of time, on what path they shall guide the labours of the human spirit. Here she is safe; hence she never can be driven, while one atom of matter clings to another, and till man, with all his wonderful system of feeling and thought, is called away to Him who is the great Author of all that is beautiful, and all that is sublime, and all that is good!
INCENTIVES OF THE BEAUTIFUL.*
WHAT are half the crimes in the world committed for? What brings into action the best virtues? The desire of possessing. Of possessing what?-not mere money, but every species of the beautiful which money can purchase. A man lies hid in a little, dirty, smoky room for twenty years of his life, and sums up as many columns of figures as would reach round half the earth, if they were laid at length; he gets rich; what does he do with his riches? He buys a large, well-proportioned house: in the arrangement of his furniture, he gratifies himself with all the beauty which splendid colours, regular figures, and smooth surfaces, can convey; he has the beauties of variety and association in his grounds: the cup out of which he drinks his tea is adorned with beautiful figures; the chair in which he sits is covered with smooth, shining leather; his table-cloth is of the most beautiful damask; mirrors reflect the lights from every quarter of the room; pictures
*From the Lectures on the Beautiful.-Part II.
of the best masters feed his eye with all the beauties of imitation. A million of human creatures are employed in this country in ministering to this feeling of the beautiful. It is only a barbarous, ignorant people that can ever be occupied by the necessaries of life alone. If to eat, and to drink, and to be warm, were the only passions of our minds, we should all be what the lowest of us all are at this day. The love of the beautiful calls man to fresh exertions, and awakens him to a more noble life; and the glory of it is, that as painters imitate, and poets sing, and statuaries carve, and architects rear up the gorgeous trophies of their skill— as everything becomes beautiful, and orderly, and magnificent—the activity of the mind rises to still greater, and to better objects. The principles of justice are sought out; the powers of the ruler, and the rights of the subject, are fixed; man advances to the enjoyment of rational liberty, and to the establishment of those great moral laws, which God has written in our hearts, to regulate the destinies of the world.
SONNET ON THE SABBATH.
THE first reason, then, why poetry is beautiful, is, because it describes natural objects, or moral feelings, which are themselves beautiful. For an example, I will read to you a beautiful sonnet of Dr. Leyden's upon the Sabbath morning, which has never been printed :
"With silent awe I hail the sacred morn,
Which slowly wakes while all the fields are still;
The skylark warbles in a tone less shrill.
The sun, a placid yellow lustre shows;
*This and the following passage is from the Lecture on the Beautiful.— Part III.
Now, there is not a single image introduced into this very beautiful sonnet, which is not of itself beautiful; the soothing calm of the breeze, the noise of the rill, the song of the linnet, the hovering rack of clouds, and the airy drove of rooks floating by, are all objects that would be beautiful in nature, and, of course, are so in poetry. The notion that the whole appearance of the world is more calm and composed on the Sabbath, and that its sanctity is felt in the whole creation, is unusually beautiful and poetical. There is a pleasure in imitation-this is exactly a picture of what a beautiful placid morning is, and we are delighted to see it so well represented.
A BEAUTIFUL ACTION.
A LONDON merchant, who, I believe, is still alive, while he was staying in the country with a friend, happened to mention that he intended, the next year, to buy a ticket in the lottery; his friend desired he would buy one for him at the same time, which, of course, was very willingly agreed to. The conversation dropped, the ticket never arrived, and the whole affair was entirely forgotten, when the country gentleman received information that the ticket purchased for him by his friend, had come up a prize of twenty thousand pounds. Upon his arrival in London, he inquired of his friend where he had put the ticket, and why he had not informed him that it was purchased. "I bought them both the same day, mine and your ticket, and I flung them both into a drawer of my bureau, and I never thought of them afterward." "But how do you distinguish one ticket from the other? and why am I the holder of the fortunate ticket, more than you?" "Why, at the time I put them into the drawer, I put a little mark in ink upón the ticket which I resolved should be yours; and upon re-opening the drawer, I found that the one so marked was the fortunate ticket." Now this action appears to me perfectly beautiful; it is le beau ideal in morals, and gives that calm, yet deep emotion of pleasure, which every one so easily receives from the beauty of the exterior world.
A SUBLIME EMPEROR.
A MIXTURE of wonder and terror almost always excites the feeling of the sublime. Extraordinary power generally excites the feeling of the sublime by these means-by mixing wonder with terror. A person who has never seen anything of the kind but a little boat, would think a sloop of eighty tons a goodly and somewhat of a grand object, if all her sails were set, and she were going gallantly before the wind; but a first-rate man-of-war would sail over such a sloop, and send her to the bottom, without any person on board the man-of-war perceiving that they had encountered any obstacle. Such power is wonderful and terrible—therefore, sublime. Everybody possessed of power is an object either of awe or sublimity, from a justice of peace up to the Emperor Aurungzebe-an object quite as stupendous as the Alps. He had thirty-five millions of revenue, in a country where the products of the earth are at least six times as cheap as in England: his empire extended over twenty-five degrees of latitude, and as many of longitude: he had put to death above twenty millions of people. I should like to know the man who could have looked at Aurungzebe without feeling him to the end of his limbs, and in every hair of his head! Such emperors are more sublime than cataracts. I think any man would have shivered more at the sight of Aurungzebe, than at the sight of the two rivers which meet at the Blue Mountains in America, and, bursting through the whole breadth of the rocks, roll their victorious and united waters to the Eastern Sea.
SUBLIMITY OF ECONOMY.
I AM going to say rather an odd thing, but I can not help thinking that the severe and rigid economy of a man in distress, has something in it very sublime, especially if it be endured for any length of time serenely and in silence. I remember a very striking instance of it in a young man, since dead. He was the son of a country curate, who had got him a berth on board a man-of-war, as midshipman. The poor curate made a great effort for his son; fitted him out well with clothes, and gave him fifty pounds in money. The first week, the poor boy lost his chest, clothes,
*This and the following passage are from the Lecture on the Sublime.
money, and everything he had in the world. The ship sailed for a foreign station; and his loss was without remedy. He immediately quitted his mess, ceased to associate with the other midshipmen, who were the sons of gentlemen; and for five years, without mentioning it to his parents- -who he knew could not assist him -or without borrowing a farthing from any human being, without a single murmur or complaint, did that poor lad endure the most abject and degrading poverty, at a period of life when the feelings are most alive to ridicule, and the appetites most prone to indulgence. Now, I confess I am a mighty advocate for the sublimity of such long and patient endurance. If you can make the world stare and look on, there, you have vanity, or compassion, to support you; but to bury all your wretchedness in your own mind-to resolve that you will have no man's pity, while you have one effort left to procure his respect to harbour no mean thought in the midst of abject poverty, but, at the very time you are surrounded by circumstances of humility and depression, to found a spirit of modest independence upon the consciousness of having always acted well; this is a sublime, which, though it is found in the shade and retirement of life, ought to be held up to the praises of men, and to be looked upon as a noble model for imitation.
INSTINCT AND TALENT. *
ALL the wonderful instincts of animals, which, in my humble opinion, are proved beyond a doubt, and the belief in which has not decreased with the increase of science and investigation-all these instincts are given them only for the combination or preservation of their species. If they had not these instincts, they would be swept off the earth in an instant. This bee, that understands architecture so well, is as stupid as a pebblestone, out of his own particular business of making honey: and, with all his talents, he only exists that boys may eat his labours and poets sing about them. Ut pueris placeas et declamatio fias. A peasant-girl of ten years old puts the whole republic to death with a little smoke; their palaces are turned into candles, and every clergyman's wife makes mead-wine of the honey; and there is an end of the glory and *This and the following passage are from the Lecture on the Faculties of Animals and of Man.