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1. THE pleasures enjoyed by the man of true laste, (says a modern author) delight the mind without exhausting the spirits. For his gratification are displayed the various Works of nature and art-the charms of poetry, the graces of painting, and the melodious strains of inusic. Не whose mind is thus gifted by nature, and refined by educa. tion, has one faculty of enjoyment more than the illiterate and vulgar, and may be said to possess an additional sense. The cabinets--galleries-palaces--and parks of others administer to his pleasure ; and he finds an agreeable companion in every picture, statue, and medal. An intimate acquaintance with the works of genius, nature, and art, as displayed in their most sublime and beautiful forms, has an immediate tendency to expand the faculties of the niind, and to give the most engaging views of mankiud, and of Providence.
2. There is no word used in a more undetermined sense than beauty. It is applied to almost every external object which pleases the eye or the ear; tò many of the graces of writing, and to some dispositions of the mind; as, a beautiful' tree, or flower, a beautiful poem, a beautiful cha. racter. Among the different productions of nature, which give universal pleasure, are particular colours. Colour af. fords the simplest instance of beauty, and association of ideas, has, no doubt, considerable influence on the pleasure which we receive from colours.
Green appears more beautiful by being connected in our ideas with rural scenes and prospects; white, with spotless innocence; blue, with the serenity of the sky. Akenside has beautifully described this disposition of the mind to identify the pleasures it enjoys, with the perceptions of seeing and hearing:
So, while we taste the fragrance of the rose,
With sweeter music, murmur as they tow?
cite a high degree of pleasure. Of this kind, are the prismatic colours, displayed by the rainbow, and the fine va. riety of tints exhibited by the clouds, at the rising and setting of the sun.
3. Ferm, or figure, is the next source of beauty. Straight lines are best adapted to convenience in works of art; but, nature, ever graceful, delights in the flowing line with varied flexures: this, Hogarth has significantly termed, the line of beauty. Cabinets, doors, and windows, are made after a regular form, with an exact proportion of parts : these please the eye, because by their figure, they are better adapted to the purposes for which they were designed; and are rather convenient, than beautiful objects. Yet plants, flowers, and trees are full of diversity. A straight eanai is an insipid figure, when compared with the meander of a river. The waves of the sea possess a very high degree of beauty. From this circumstance only, cones and pyramids are, in themselves, beautiful: but, when a tree is deprived of its native wildness, and is made to assume the adventitious form of a code, or a pyramid; dişgust, not pleasure, is the necessary consequence,
4. Motion is the third source of beauty. Gentle motion only belongs to the beautiful. The motion of a bird gliding through the air, is exquisitely beautiful, but the swiftness with which lightuing darts through the sky, is magnificent and astonishing. Thus, a gently-running stream is one of the most beautiful objects in nature: but, as it swells gradually into a great river, or is forced by obstacles, inte cascades and water-falls, the beautifni, by degrees, is lost in the sublime. A youug tree is a beautiful object;-a spreading antient oak is a venerable and sublinie one. Colour, figure, and motion, though distinct principles of beauty, yet, they meet together in many beautiful objects, and thus render the beauty greater, and more complex: as in flowers, trets, and animals, we are at the same time entertained with the delicacy of the colour, with the gracefulness of the figure, and, sometimes, with the motion of the object.
5. Beauty of writing is characterised by a certain grace and amenity, in the turn, either of style or sentiinent. This sort of composition excites in the mind of the reader, an emotion of the gently pleasing kind, resęınbling that
which is raised by the contemplation of beautiful objects in nature; and diffusés uver the mini, an agreeable and complaceut serenity. Mr. Addison is an einment example of this style.
6. The acuteness of taste depends upon the gifts of nature; its correctness upon tliose of ant; sensibility will produce the former, and jungment the late. A relish for those beauties which strike the sens-, 131, be eliciied only by sensibility: but to forin a just opinion of a work of genius, sound judgment, and enlarged experience are essential acquirements. Tasie is capable of very high improve ment, and owes much to habit.
A person unased to nusic, when he hears one of landel's subliziet pierry, bowever pleased he may be with the general ztici, will be totally unable to discriminate the beauties of each part, and their masterly arrangement. The man who su: vegy ole of Rubens', or Raphael's pictures, may admire them brilisey of colouring, and be surprised and pieased with the tit: but accurate and constant inspection alone can make him acquainted with that nice adijustment of light and shadev, which produces the grand and beauntal whole. Ani so of sculpture. The poetry of Homer, of Virvil, and of Milton, will always piease from its intrinsic beauty; but the casual reader of these sublime productious, perceives not half their excellencies. This retineil enjoyment is reserved for those, who possess by natuir, tie puber of discerning, and acquire by art the faculty of appreciating their several beauties. Taste, then, whether we apply it to music, painting, sculpture, poetry, or any other art, is that harmony between the fancy and the judgment, which causes beauties to be viewed with pleasure, and defects with dislike.
7. The author of Philosophical Essays' combats with spirit, the opinion, that the pleasures of the imagination can only be enjoyed in full perfection, in youth : and eucourages those who have hitherto neglected hem. Nothing can be more captivating than his description of the new and charming scenes, which this faculty opens to the view. Instances have frequently occurred (says Mr. Stewart) of individuals, in whom the power of imagination, has, at a more advanced period of life, been found susceptible of culture, to a wonderful degree. In such men, what an accession is gained to their most refined pleasures! What enchantments are added to their most ordinary perceptions! The mind, awakening, as if from a trance, to a new existence, becomes habituated to the most interesting aspects of life and nature; the intellectual eye is 'purged of its film;' and things the most familiar and unnoticed, disclose charnis invisible before. The same objects and events which were lately beheld with indifference, occupy now all the powers
and capacities of the soul; the contrast between thie present and the past serving only to enhance and to endear so un-looked for an acquisition. What Gray bas so finely said of the pleasures of vicissitude, conveys but a faint image of what is experienced by the man who, after having lost in vulgar occupation, and vulgar amusements, his earliest and most precious years, is tbus introduced at last to a new heaven and a new earth:
"The meanest floweret of the vale,
Select Books on Taste.
Gerard and Kvight on Taste. Stewart, in his Philosophical Es' says, 4to. Burke on the Sublime and Beautiful. Alison's Essay on Taste, 2 vols. 8vo. and the writers on Rhetoric, and the Belles Lettres, named at the end of chap. v. sect. 2. p. 44.
CHAP. VIII. ANTIENT PHILOSOPHY and PHILOSOPHERS. ANTIENT philosophy, or the principles asserted and propagated by antient philosophers, may be divided into Pytbagorean, Aristotelian, Peripatetic, Socratic, Platonic, Academic, Cyrenaic, Epicurean, Stoic, Cynic, and Sceptic,
J. Pythagorean Philosophy was taught by the philosophers who adhered to the doctrines of Pythagoras, who Hourished about 500 years before Christ. They taught ibat there is one God, an incorruptible and invisible Being, and therefore only to be worshipped with a pure mind; and that there is a relationship between the gods and man, which is supposed to have been borrowed from the Christian doctrine of Providence. They asserted a transmigration of
souls, and therefore the immortality of the soul. They taught that virtue is harmony, health, and every good thing, and inculcated in an impressive manner the duties of children towards their parents. The disciples of this school were exhorted to cherish sentiments honourable to the female sex.
2. Aristotelian Philosophy. This was taught by Aristotle, and maintained by his followers; it was also called periputetic. Aristotle was a disciple of Plato, but his system differed greatly from that of his master. Without enumerating his principles, it may be observed that most of them were false, and his reasonings inconclusive.
3. Peripatetic Philosophy, so called from a sect of philosophers the followers of Aristotle. Cicero tells us that Plato left twn excellent disciples Xenocrates and Aristotle, who founded two sects, who differed in name. The former called acadensics, because they held their conferences in the academy: the latter who followed Aristotle, were called peripatetics, or walkers, because they disputed walking in the lyceum or school.
4. Socratic Philosophy. This comprised the doctrines and opinions with regard to morality and religion, maintained and taught by Socrates about 400 years before Christ. Socrates was one of the best and wisest persons in the heathen world. The first introduction of moral philosophy is ascribed to him. He it was that led men from the contemplation of the heaveus to consider themselves, their own passions, opinions, faculties, duties, and actions. It was he wbo, when all the other philosophers boasted that they knew all things, first owned that he knew nothing but this, that he knew nothing. Socrates wrote nothing himself, yet almost all the sects of Greece refer their origin to his discipline. The genuine principles of his philosophy are stated in the Memorabilia of Xenophon: Plato by attributing to his master conceptions, sublime indeed, but evidently borrowed from, and embellished with the mythology of, the Pythagorean school, has rendered his writings on this point apocryphal.
5. Platonic Philosophy. This was founded by Plato, who lived about 350 years before Christ. It appears to have been drawn from traditions founded upon early revelations : * from scattered fragments of the ancient patriar