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variety of natural objects, than of objects in a picture : and a greater variety in a picture, ihan in a description. A real object presented to view, makes an impression more readily than when represented in colours, and much more readily than when represented in words. Hence it is, that the profuse variety of objects, in some natural landscapes, neither breed confusion nor fatigue; and for the same reason, there is place for greater variety of ornament in a picture than in a poem. A picture, however, like a building, ought to be so simple as to be comprehended in one view. Whether every one of Le Brun's pictures of Alexander's history will stand this test, is submitted to judges.
From these general observations, I proceed to particulars. In works exposed continually to public view, variety ought to be studied. It is a rule accordingly in sculpture, to contrast the different limbs of a statue, in order to give it all the variety possible. Though the cone, in a single view, be more beautiful than the pyramid; yet a pyramidal steeple, because of its variety, is justly preferred. For the same reason, the oval is preferred before the circle; and painters, in copying buildings or any regular work, give an air of variety, by representing the subject in an angular view : we are pleased with the variety, without losing sight of the regularity. In a landscape representing animals, those especially of the same kind, contrast ought to prevail : to draw one sleeping, another awake; one sitting, another in motion; one moving toward the spectator, another from him, is the life of such a performance.
In every sort of writing intended for amusement, variety is necessary in proportion to the length of the work. Whet of variety is 11. sensibly felt in Davila's history of the civil wars of France; the events are indeed important and various : but the reader languishes by a tiresome monotony of character, every person engaged being figured a consummate politician, governed by interest only. It is hard to say, whether Ovid disgusts more by too great variety, or too great uniformity: his stories are all of the same kind, concluding invariably with the transforınation of one being into another; and so far he is tiresome by excess in uniformity: he is not less fatiguing by excess in variety, hurrying his reader incessantly from story to story. Ariosto is still more fatiguing than Ovid, by exceeding the just bounds of variety: not satisfied, like Ovid, with a succession in his stories, he distracts the reader, by jumbling together a multitude of them without any connexion. Nor is the Orlando Furioso less tiresome by its uniformity than the Metamorphoses, though in a different manner; after a story is brought to a crisis, the reader, intent on the catastrophe, is suddenly snatched away to a new story, which makes no impression so long as the mind is occupied with the former. This tantalizing method, from which the author never once swerves during the course of a long work, beside its uniformity, has another bad effect; it prevents that sympathy, which is raised by an interesting event when the reader meets with no interruption.
The emotions produced by our perceptions in a train have been little considered, and less understood ; the subject therefore required
an elaborate discussion. It may surprise some readers to find variety treated as only contributing to make a train of perceptions pleasant, when it is commonly held to be a necessary ingredient in beauiy of whatever kind; according to the definition, " That beauty consists in uniformity amid variety." But after the subject is explained and illustrated as above, 1 presume it will be evident, that this definition, however applicable to one or other species, is far from being just with respect to beauty in general; variety contributes no share to the beauty of a moral action, nor of a mathematical theorem: and nunberless are the beautiful objects of sight that have little or no variey in them; a globe, the most uniform of all figures, is of all the most beautiful; and a square, though more beautiful than a trapezium, hath less variety in its constituent parts. The foregoing definition, which at best is but obscurely expressed, is only applicable to a number of objects in a group or in succession, among which indeed a due mixture of uniformity and variety is always agreeable; provided the particular objects, separately considered, be in any degree beautiful, for uniformity amid variety among ugly objects, affords no pleasure. This circumstance is totally omitted in the definition ; and indeed to have mentioned it would, at the very first glance, have shewn the definition to be imperfect : for, to define beauty as arising from beautiful objects blended together in a due proportion of uniformity and variety, would be too gross to pass current; as nothing can be more gross than to employ in a definition the very term that is to be explained.
APPENDIX TO CHAP. IX.
CONCERNING THE WORKS OF NATURE, CHIEFLY WITH RESPECT TO
UNIFORMITY AND VARIETY.
In things of Nature's workmanship, whether we regard their internal or external structure, beauty and design are equally conspicuous. We shall begin with the outside of nature, as what first presents itself.
The figure of an organic body is generally regular. The trunk of a tree, its branches, and their ramifications are nearly round, and form a series regularly decreasing from the trunk to the smallest fibre. Uniformity is nowhere more remarkable than in the leaves, which, in the same species, have all the same colour, size, and shape; the seeds and fruits are all regular figures, approaching for the most part to the globular form. Hence a plant, especially of the larger kind, with its trunk, branches, foliage, and fruit, is a charming object.
In an animal, the trunk, which is much larger than the other parts, occupies a chief place. Its shape, like that of the stem of plants, is nearly round, a figure which of all is the most agreeable ; its two sides are precisely similar : several of the under parts go off in pairs, and the two individuals of each pair are accurately uniform. The single parts are placed in the middle; the limbs, bear
ing a certain proportion to the trunk, serve to support it, and to give it a proper elevation. Upon one extremity are disposed the neck and head, in the direction of the trunk; the head, being the chief part, possesses with great propriety the chief place. Hence, the beauty of the whole figure is the result of many equal and proportional parts orderly disposed; and the smallest variation in number, equality, proportion, or order, never fails to produce a perception of deformity.
Nature in no particular seems more profuse of ornament, than in the beautiful colouring of her works. The flowers of plants, the furs of beasts, and the feathers of birds, vie with each other in the beauty of their colours, which, in lustre as well as in harmony, are beyond the power of imitation. Of all natural appearances, the colouring of the human face is the most exquisite ; it is the strongest instance of the ineffable art of nature, in adapting and proportioning its colours to the magnitude, figure, and position of the parts. In a word, colour seems to live in nature only, and to languish under the finest touches of art.
When we examine the internal structure of a plant or animal, a wonderful subtility of mechanism is displayed. Man, in his mechanical operations, is confined to the surface of bodies; but the operations of nature are exerted through the whole substance, so as to reach even the elementary parts. Thus the body of an animal, and of a plant, are composed of certain great vessels ; these of smaller ; and these again of still smaller, without end, as far as we can discover. This power of diffusing mechanism through the most intimate parts, is peculiar to nature, and distinguishes her operations, most remarkably, from every work of art. Such texture, continued from the grosser parts to the most minute, preserves all along the strictest regularity. The fibres of plants are a bundle of cylindrical canals, lying in the same direction, and parallel or nearly parallel to each other. In some instances, a most accurate arrange. ment of parts is discovered, as in onions, formed of concentric coats, one within another, to the very centre. An animal body is still more admirable, in the disposition of its internal parts, and in their order and symmetry : there is not a bone, a muscle, a blood-vessel, a nerve, that hath not one corresponding to it on the opposite side ; and the same order is carried through the most minute parts. The lungs are composed of two parts, which are disposed upon the sides of the thorax: and the kidneys, in a lower situation, have a position no less orderly. As to the parts that are single, the heart is advantageously situated near the middle; the liver, stomach, and spleen, are disposed in the upper region of the abdomen, about the same height; the bladder is placed in the middle of the body, as well as the intestinal canal, which fills the whole cavity with its convolutions.
The mechanical power of nature, not confined to small bodies, reacheth equally those of the greatest size; witness the bodies that compose the solar system, which, however large, are weighed, measured, and subjected to certain laws, with the utmost accuracy. Their places round the sun, with their distances, are determined by
a precise rule, corresponding to their quantity of matter. The supe. rior dignity of the central body, in respect to its bulk and lucid appearance, is suited to the place it occupies. The globular figure of These bodies is not only in itself beautiful, but is above all others fitted for regular motion. Each planet revolves about its own axis in a given time, and each moves round the sun, in an orbit nearly circular, and in a time proportioned to its distance. Their velocities, directed by an established law, are perpetually changing by regular accelerations and retardations. In fine, the great variety of regular appearances, joined with the beauty of the system itself, cannot fail to produce the highest delight in every one who is sensible of design, power, or beauty
Nature hath a wonderful power of connecting systeins with each other, and of propagating that connexion through all her works. Thus the constituent parts of a plant, the roots, the stem, the branches, the leaves, the fruit, are really different systems, united by a mutual dependance on each other. In an animal, the lyınphatic and lacteal ducts, the blood-vessels and nerves, the muscles and glands, the bones and cartilages, the membranes and bowels, with the other organs, form distinct systems, which are united into one whole. There are, at the same time, other connexions less intimate : every plant is joined to the earth by its roots; it requires rain and dews to furnish it with juices; and it requires heat to preserve these juices in fluidity and motion. Every animal, by its gravity, is connected with the earth, with the element in which it breathes, and with the sun, by deriving from it cherishing and enlivening heat. The earth fur: nishes aliment to plants, these to animals, and these again to other animals, in a long train of dependance. That the earth is part of a greater system, comprehending many bodies mutually attracting each other, and gravitating all toward one common centre, is now thoroughly explored. Such a regular and uniform series of connexions, propagated through so great a number of beings, and through such wide spaces, is wonderful; and our wonder must increase when we observe these connexions propagated from the minutest atoms to bodies of the most enormous size, and so widely diffused as that we can neither perceive their beginning nor their end. That these connexions are not confined within our own planetary system, is certain : they are diffused over spaces still more remote, where new bodies and systems rise without end. All space is filled with the works of God, which are conducted by one plan, to answer unerringly one great end.
But the most wonderful connexion of all, though not the most conspicuous, is that of our internal frame with the works of nature. Man is obviously fitted for contemplating these works, because in this contemplation he has great delight. The works of nature are remarkable in their uniformity no less than in their variety ; and the mind of man is fitted to receive pleasure equally from both. Uniformity and variety are interwoven in the works of nature with surprising art : variety, however great, is never without some degree of uniformity; nor the greatest uniformity without some degree of variety. There is great variety in the same plant, by the different appearances of its stem, branches, leaves, blossoms, fruit, size,
and colour ; and yet, when we trace the variety through different plants, especially of the same kind, there is discovered a surprising uniformity. Again, where nature seems to have intended the most exact uniformity, as among individuals of the same kind, there still appears a diversity, which serves readily to distinguish one individual from another. It is indeed admirable, that the human visage, in which uniformity is so prevalent, should yet be so marked, as to leave no room, among millions, for mistaking one person for another, These marks, though clearly perceived, are generally so delicate, that words cannot be found to describe them. A correspondence so perfect between the human mind and the works of nature, is extremely remarkable. The opposition between variety and uniformity is so great, that one would not readily imagine they could both be relished by the saine palate : at least not in the same object, nor at the same time : it is however true, that the pleasures they afford, being happily adjusted to each other, and readily mixing in intimate union, are frequently produced by the same individual objects. Nay, further, in the objects that touch us the most, uniformity and variety are constantly combined ; witness natural objects, where this combination is always found in perfection. Hence it is, that natural objects readily form themselves into groups, and are agreeable in whatever manner combined. A wood with its trees, shrubs, and herbs, is agreeable ; the music of birds, the lowing of cattle, and the murmuring of a brook, are in conjunction delightful, though they strike the ear without modulation or harmony. In short, nothing can be more happily accommodated to the inward constitution of man, than that mixture of uniformity with variety, which the eye discovers in natural objects; and accordingly the mind is never more highly gratified than in contemplating a natural landscape.
CONGRUITY AND PROPRIETY.
Man is superior to the brute, not more by his rational faculties than by his senses. With respect to external senses, brutes probably yield not to men; and they may also have some obscure perception of beauty ; but the more delicate senses of regularity, order, uniformity and congruity, being connected with morality and religion, are reserved to dignify the chief of the terrestrial creation. Upon that account, no discipline is more suitable to man, nor more congruous to the dignity of his nature, than that which refines his taste, and leads him to distinguish, in every subject, what is regular, what is orderly, what is suitable, and what is fit and proper *
Nec vero illa parva vis naturæ est rationisque, quod unum hoc animal sentit quid sit ordo, quid sit quod deceat in factis dictisque, qui modus. Itaque eorum ipsorum, quæ aspectu sentiuntur, nullum aliud animal, pulcritudinem, venustatem, convenientiam partium sentit. Quam similitudinem natura ratioque ab oculis ad animum transferens, multo etiam magis pulcritudinem,