Imatges de pÓgina

reprefentations following each other in the quickeft fucceffion: oppofite emotions are best felt in fucceffion; but each emotion separately fhould be raised to its due pitch, before another be introduced.


What is above laid down, will enable us to determine a very important queftion concerning emotions raised by the fine arts, viz. Whether ought fimilar emotions to fucceed each other, or diffimilar? The emotions raised by the fine arts, are generally too nearly related to make a figure by resemblance; and for that reason, their fucceffion ought to be regulated as much as poffible by contraft. This holds confeffedly in epic and dramatic compofitions; and the best writers, led perhaps by a good taste more than by reasoning, have generally aimed at this beauty. It holds equally in mufic: in the fame cantata, all the variety of emotions that are within the power of mufic, may not only be indulged, but, to make the greatest figure, ought to be contrafted. In gardening there is an additional reafon for the rule the emotions raised by that art, are at best fo faint, that every artifice fhould be employ'd to give them their utmost vigour : a field may be laid out in grand, fweet, gay, neat, wild, melancholy fcenes; and when these are viewed in fucceffion, grandeur ought to be contrasted with neatnefs, regularity with wildnefs, and gaiety with melancholy, fo as that each emotion may fucceed its oppofite: nay it is an improvement


to intermix in the fucceffion, rude uncultivated fpots as well as unbounded views, which in themselves are difagreeable, but in fucceffion heighten the feeling of the agreeable objects; and we have nature for our guide, who in her most beautiful landscapes often intermixes rugged rocks, dirty marshes, and barren ftony heaths. The greatest mafters of mufic, have the fame view in their compofitions: the fecond part of an Italian fong, feldom, conveys any fentiment; and, by its harshness, feems purpofely contrived, to give a greater relish for the interesting parts of the compofition.

A fmall garden comprehended under a fingle view, affords little opportunity for this embellishment. Diffimilar emotions require different tones of mind; and therefore in conjunction can never make a good figure *: gaiety and fweetness may be combined, or wildnefs and gloominefs; but a compofition of gaiety and gloominess is diftafteful. The rude uncultivated compartment of furze and broom in Richmond garden, hath a good effect in the fucceffion of objects; but a spot of this nature would be infufferable in the midft of a polished parterre or flower-plot. A garden therefore, if not of great extent, admits not diffimilar emotions; and in ornamenting a small garden, the fafeft courfe is, to confine it to a fingle expreffion. For the fame rea

See chap. 2. part 4.


fon, a landscape ought alfo to be confined to a fingle expreffion; and accordingly it is a rule in painting, That if the fubject be gay, every figure ought to contribute to that emotion.

It follows from the foregoing train of reafoning, that a garden near a great city, ought to have an air of folitude. The folitariness again of a waste country, ought to be contrafted in forming a garden; no temples, no obfcure walks; but jets d'eau, cafcades, objects active, gay, and fplendid. Nay fuch a garden fhould in fome meafure avoid imitating nature, by taking on an extraordinary appearance of regularity and art, to fhow the bufy hand of man, which in a waste country has a fine effect by contrast.

It may be gathered from what is faid above *; that wit and ridicule make not an agreeable mixture with grandeur. Diffimilar emotions have a fine effect in a flow fucceffion; but in a rapid fucceffion, which approaches to coexiftence, they will not be relished in the midst of a laboured and elevated defcription of a battle, Virgil introduces a ludicrous image, which is certainly out of its place:

Obvius ambuftum torrem Chorinæus ab ara
Corripit, et venienti Ebufo plagamque ferenti
Occupat os flammis: illi ingens barba reluxit,
Nidoremque ambufta dedit.


Chap. 2. part 4.

En. xii. 298.


The following image is not lefs ludicrous, nor E lefs improperly placed.

Mentre fan quefti i bellici ftromenti
Perche debbiano tofto in uso porse,
Il gran nemico de l'humane genti,
Contra i Chriftiani i lividi occhi torfe:
E lor veggendo à le bell' opre intenti,
Ambo le labra per furor fi morfe :
E qual tauro ferito, il fuo dolore
Verfo mugghiando e fofpirando fuore.
Gierufal. cant. 4. ft. 1.


It would however be too auftere, to banish altogether ludicrous images from an epic poem. This poem doth not always foar above the clouds: it admits great variety; and upon occafions can defcend even to the ground without finking. In its more familiar tones, a ludicrous fcene may be introduced without impropriety. This is done by Virgil in describing a foot-race; the circumstances of which, not excepting the ludicrous part, are copied from Homer †. After a fit of merryment, we are, it is true, the lefs disposed to the serious and fublime: but then, a ludicrous scene, by unbending the mind from fevere application to more interefting fubjects, may prevent fatigue, and preferve our relish en


* En. lib. 5.


+ Iliad, book 23. 1. 879.







HEN one attempts to explain uniformity and variety, in order to show how we are affected by thefe circumstances, it appears doubtful what method ought to be followed. I forcfee feveral difficulties in keeping close to the text; and yet by indulging a range, fuch as may be neceffary for a clear view, I fhall certainly incur the cenfure of wandering. Be it fo the dread of cenfure ought never to make us deviate from what is right the collateral matters, befide, that will be introduced, are curious, and not of flight importance in the fcience of human nature.

[ocr errors]

The neceffary fucceffion of perceptions may be examined in two different views; one with refpect to its order and connection, and one with respect to its uniformity and variety, It merits examination in both views, for the purpose of explaining the impreffions made upon the mind by the particulars mentioned. In the firft view it is handled above*: and I now proceed to the fecond. The world we inhabit is replete with

Chap. I.

« AnteriorContinua »