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beauty. But, until the work of creation be over, and the conception be complete, do not let rule sensibly obtrude itself, or analysis intermeddle. The mind is in a very different state when creating, and when criticising. In the former she is melting all her ideas into one golden stream, which she pours forth with a joy that takes note of nothing but itself; in the other she dissolves the parts again, to see what they are and how they harmonise. In the one case, she merely feels, as it were electrically, the quality of the glowing ores that are gushing through her; in the other, she puts them into a crucible, and tests them one by one. I am very far, therefore, from over-estimating the value of rules. Nevertheless in the present temper of the times, when artistic license (thanks to the philosophers ) has been running riot, I desire to rescue the fundamental principles of Art from the fatal neglect into which they have fallen. Rules, in fact, are just a statement of certain processes by which Nature works within us and without, and the more of these subtle Protean principles that we can spy out and lay hold of the better. It was a maxim of Sir Joshua Reynolds, that “every opportunity should be taken to discourage the false and vulgar opinion that rules are the fetters of genius;” and every true artist will coincide with the remark. Great mischief, indeed, has been done by a frigid idolatry of rules; and it appears to me that in that very error, especially as exemplified in Poetry, - which last century became temporarily fossilised from a slavish worship, not indeed of artprinciples, but of antiquated models, lies the main cause of the present erroneous reaction. The greatest objection that has arisen, or which can arise, to rules has been from not knowing the right use of them; and I believe that the true way of reinstating them in their rightful authority is to show what is their proper province—what they can do, and what they cannot. Even in criticism, I incline to think that men often err from a misapprehension of the true use of rules; and

that one-half the blunders of good critics (of bad ones I need not speak) proceed from giving at the outset exclusive sway to the analytic power of the mind, instead of making it subsidiary or posterior to the action of our sensational nature. When men set themselves to judge of a statue or of a poem, for example, they frequently commence the work of criticism at the very first glance or the very first line,—without previously allowing their minds to get a correct idea of the general scope of the work, or a natural impress of its qualities. The result of this inverted process of criticism is, that the critic is most likely never to feel the true spirit of the piece, and to be warped in his judgment of its general merits in consequence of fixing prematurely, in praise or in censure, upon some of its details. Were I to venture an opinion upon a point of so much delicacy, I should say that the true way of judging of a work of art is, first of all, to aim at obtaining a correct general impress of the object, by presenting the mind to it in a state of repose, free from introspection, and as nearly as possible in a purely sensational state—a mirror without dust or flaw, a blank sheet of paper, upon which the object may reflect or calotype itself in its natural aspect and proportions. Then, but not till then, let the analytic or critical power be applied (which manifests its operation by at once withdrawing the eye from the general surface and outline of the object contemplated, and, concentrating its gaze, sets it a travelling from part to part), in order to test the correctness of the idea previously obtained through sensation, and to see why certain parts offend and certain others delight us. The former of these processes is the emotional or natural one; the latter is the intellectual or acquired. The former can of itself convey to us a thoroughly correct estimate of the object contemplated, but it is an estimate that can be felt only, not expressed, a testimony sufficient for the individual who experiences it, but worthless for others. The true critic, therefore, must be able to employ both processes of judgment; in order that he may test the verdict of his Feelings

by the judgment of his Intellect; and so be not only doubly sure of the accuracy of his verdict, but also be able to justify it to others, by giving the grounds upon which it rests. One word in conclusion. While a knowledge of the principles of the Beautiful is thus useful to the Artist, as aiding him in his work, and interesting to the Philosopher as leaving one mystery the less in creation, it may also be a boon and source of happiness to mankind in general. When possessed of such a knowledge, observation acquires new quickness and power; beauties hitherto unseen spring to light, whether in Art or Nature; and we verify for ourselves the exclamation of Cicero—Quam multa vident pictores qua nos mon videmus t Our enjoyment of the beautiful would likewise be made more permanent. It is only when a thing is understood that it can be kept definitely, and for any time, in the memory; so that it is as difficult for one ignorant of the principles of beauty to preserve a mental vision of a work of art as it is to commit to memory a song in an unknown tongue. Finally, the power of analysing the phenomena of the Beautiful is greatly to be coveted, because, by so transferring the emotion of the Beautiful from the sphere of mere Feeling into that of the Understanding also, we filter the emotion of its disturbing qualities, and render ourselves longer sensitive to its delightful influence. We purge it from that agitation which always accompanies an uncomprehended emotion—which is, in fact, nothing else than the struggle of the mind to analyse its sensations, and which in certain temperaments assumes the form of a morbid sensibility. It has been said, indeed,

“Men mar the beauty of their dreams
By tracing their source too well.”

But Beauty is not a dream ; and with all deference to the popular belief, I must maintain that, though ignorance may prolong the excitement, it does not add to the enjoyment. I would rather say, with one who is as much a philosopher as a connoisseur of art, that “when there is only a vague sensibility to beauty, without any intelligible ideas about it to awake a flow of ideas during the time of contemplation, such contemplation, what is it but mere staring” This much at least must be acknowledged, that by giving the emotion of the beautiful a place in the inner shrine of the Intellect in addition to its primal place in the sphere of Sensation, we render ourselves in a great measure independent of that sensuous susceptibility upon which the enjoyment of Beauty so much depends. He who feels beauty, but cannot intellectually recognise it, is ever dependent for this most joyous of emotions upon the vernal freshness of his senses; and as these grow dull, as youth flits past, the emotion of the beautiful gradually becomes a thing unknown. It is only through Feeling that aesthetic emotion can touch such an one; and how soon, alas ! does this medium between Man and Nature, between the soul and external things, grow sluggish and torpid But with him who has learnt to know as well as to feel—whose soul is one clear sky of intelligence—the case is far otherwise. Intellect brightens as the senses grow dull: and though the sensuous imagination pass into the yellow leaf as the autumn of life draws on, still will the Beautiful, having secured for itself a retreat in the Intellect, naturally pass into immortality along with it. Were this more generally the case, as Dr Macvicar finely observes, we should not hear poets closing up the bright song of genius at thirty, with strains such as those with which Byron closed Childe Harold's Pilgrimage:–

“The torch shall be extinguished which hath lit

My midnight lamp—and what is writ is writ.

Would it were worthier! But I am not now

That which I have been; and my visions flit

Less palpably before me—and the glow

Which in my spirit dwelt, is fluttering faint and low.” “An old man, with closed eyes and flowing hair, would again, as in the days of Ancient Greece, form the ideal of a poet; and the taste of the age of Pericles, enlightened by modern philosophy, and purified by Christianity, might again return." Higher objects even than these might also be obtained—but are not these enough 7


“FROM a shapeless block of marble,” says M. Guizot, “a Sculptor—possibly Scopas—brings into being that divine Apollo, whose beauty surpasses the beauty of any living thing. Thus, at the call of a man has a god come forth from a stone.” Beautiful Art! Keeping in view its masterpieces, let us endeavour to note a few of its principles. And first let it be said, that of all the Fine Arts Sculpture is the one most distinguished by SIMPLICITY. Unlike Painting, it deals with Form alone,—unlike Music, it is perceived all at once. There are no accessories of scene, and but little plurality of figures. There stands the statue, a simple human figure, carved out of cold lustrous marble, if nude, so much the better, with nothing but its colourless self to tell its story, and move the soul of the beholder with the emotion of the Beautiful. What more requisite, then, than that this art, so chained to simplicity, should of all others be the most fastidious ! It has little to work with ; therefore—is it not evident?—that little should be first-rate. It has no incidents to move us, like Painting, no brilliant vicissitudes to charm with, like Music, no associations of princely splendour to impress us, like Architecture. It has but one power—the power of pure simple Form, with which to dazzle and charm the human soul; and therefore it is pure Beauty of Form that it should seek after, beauty of the highest kind, and beauty alone. All else must be subordi

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