Imatges de pÓgina
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beauty that is left, is sunk in its grandeur. Hence it is, that a towering hill is delightful, if it have but the slightest resemblance of a cone; and a chain of mountains no less so, though deficient in the accuracy of order and proportion. We require a small surface to be smooth; but in an extensive plain, considerable inequalities are overlooked. In a word, regularity, proportion, order, and colour, contribute to grandeur as well as to beauty; but with a remarkable difference, that, in passing from small to great, they are not required in the same degree of perfection. This remark serves to explain the extreme delight we have in viewing the face of nature, when sufficiently enriched and diversified with objects. The bulk of the objects in a natural landscape are beautiful, and some of them grand : a flowing river, a spreading oak, a round hill, an extended plain, are delightful; and even a rugged rock or barren heath, though in themselves disagreeable, contribute by contrast to the beauty of the whole: joining to these, the verdure of the fields, the mixture of light and shade, and the sublime canopy spread over all; it will not appear wonderful, that so extensive a group of splendid objects should swell the heart to its utmost bounds, and raise the strongest emotion of grandeur. The spectator is conscious of an enthusiasm, which cannot bear confinement, nor the strictness of regularity and order: he loves to range at large; and is so enchanted with magnificent objects, as to overlook slight beauties or deformities.

The same observation is applicable in some measure to works of art: in a small building, the slightest irregularity is disagreeable; but, in a magnificent palace, or a large Gothic church, irregularities are less regarded; in an epic poem we pardon many negligencies that would not be permitted in a sonnet or epigram. Notwithstanding such exceptions, it may be justly laid down for a rule, That in works of art, order and regularity ought to be governing principles : and hence the observation of Longinus,* “In works of art we have regard to exact propor“tion; in those of nature, to grandeur and magnificence.”

The same reflections are in a good measure applicable to sublimity; particularly, that, like grandeur, it is a species of agreeableness ; that a beautiful object placed high, appearing more agreeable than formerly, produces in the spectator a new emotion, termed the emotion of sublimity; and that the perfection of order, regularity, and proportion, is less required in objects placed high, or at a distance, than at hand.

The pleasant emotion raised by large objects, has not escaped the poets :

-He doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus ; and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs. Julius Cæsar, Act I. Sc. 3.

Cleopatra. I dreamt there was an Emp'ror Antony;
Oh such another sleep, that I might see
But such another man !
His face was as the heavens : and therein stuck
A sun and moon, which kept their course, and lighted
The little O o! the earth.
His legs bestrid the ocean, his rear'd arm
Crested the world. Anthony and Cleopatra, Act V. Sc. 3.

-Majesty
Dies not alone, but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it with it. It's a massy wheel
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount;
To whose huge spokes, ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd; which when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,

Attends the boist'rous ruin. Hamlet, Act. III. Sc. 8. The poets have also made good use of the emotion produced by the elevated situation of an object :

* Chapter XXX

Quod si me lyricis vatibus inseres,
Sublimi feriam sidera vertice.

Horat. Carm. l. I. ode 1.

Oh thou ! the earthly author of my blood,
Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up,
To reach at victory above my head.

Richard II. Act I. Sc. 4.

Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal
The mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne.

Richard II. Act. V. Sc. 2,

Antony. Why was I raised the meteor of the world,
Hung in the skies, and blazing as I travellid,
Till all my fires'were spent ; and then cast downward ;
To be trod out by Cæsar ? Dryden, All for Love, Act. 1.

The description of Paradise in the fourth book of Paradise Lost, is a fine illustration of the impression made by elevated objects:

So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious Paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her inclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champain head
Of a steep wilderness; whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access deny'd ; and overhead up grew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene; and as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verd'rous wall of Paradise up sprung ;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his nether empire neigh’bring round.

And higher than that wall a circling row
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of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear’d with gay enamellid colours mix'd.

'B. iv. l. 131.

Though a grand object is agreeable, we must not infer that a little object is disagreeable: which would be unhappy for man, considering that he is surrounded with so many objects of that kind. The same holds with respect to place: a body placed high is agreeable; but the same body placed low, is not by that circumstance rendered disagreeable. Littleness and lowness of place are precisely similar in the following particular, that they neither give pleasure nor pain. And in this may visibly be discovered peculiar attention in fitting the internal constitution of man to his external circumstances : were littleness and lowness of place agreeable, greatness and elevation could not be so : were littleness and lowness of place disagreeable, they would occasion perpetual uneasiness.

The difference between great and little with respect to agreeableness, is remarkably felt in a series, when we pass gradually from the one extreme to the other. A mental progress from the capital to the kingdom, from that to Europe-to the whole earth to the planetary system—to the universe, is extremely pleasant: the heart gwells and the mind is dilated, at every step. The returning in an opposite direction is not positively painful, though our pleasure lessens at every step, till it vanish into indifference : such a progress may sometimes produce pleasure of a different sort, which arises from taking a narrower and narrower inspection. The same observation þolds in a progress upward and downward. Ascent is pleasant because it elevates us: but descent is never painful; it is for the most part pleasant from a different cause, that it is according to the order of nature. The fall of a stone from any height is extremely agreeable by

its accelerated motion. I feel it pleasant to descend from a mountain, because the descent is natural and easy. Neither is looking downward painful; on the contrary, to look down upon objects makes part of the pleasure of elevation : looking down becomes then only painful when the object is so far below as to create dizziness; and even when that is the case, we feel a sort of pleasure mixed with the pain, witness Shakspeare's description of Dover cliffs :

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How fearful
And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs, that wing the midway-air,
Shew scarce so gross as beetles. Half-way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire ; dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head.
The fishermen that walk

upon

the beach,
Appear like mice; and yon tall anchoring bark
Diminished to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight. The murmuring surge,
That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high.

I'll look no more,
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong. King Lear, Act IV.Sc. 6.

A remark is made above, that the emotions of grandeur and sublimity are nearly allied. And hence it is, that the one term is frequently put for the other: an increasing series of numbers, for example, producing an emotion similar to that of mounting upward, is commonly termed an ascending series : a series of numbers gradu. ally decreasing, producing an emotion similar to that of going downward, is commonly termed a descending series : we talk familiarly of going up to the capital, and of going down to the country: from a lesser kingdom we talk of going up to a greater; whence the anabasis in the Greek language, when one travels from Greece to Persia. We

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