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All around, he beholds a tinted mass : has felt before, when listening to the earth and sky, land and water, are strains of music, or when some loveseen by him only as expanses of born joy has set the chords of his varied colour. Everything is colour heart a-vibrating. It is a joyous exed, and the forms of nature are to citement,-he nor any man can tell him but tinted surfaces, whose out- you no more ; but he knows from line consists simply of the bordering previous experience that it is a sign of one colour upon another. Below of the soul having found something and around him is a far-reaching in rare harmony with itself. expanse of green,- above him, a garden-or those graceful crystal mighty canopy of blue; and he feels pavilions which are now devoted to that nothing could suit so well, for the culture and display of fine exotic wide and permanent beholding, as this plants and flowers-is the place where lively green of the earth, and the cool beauty of colour may. be seen in its calm azure of the skies.* But varic- greatest variety and perfection. There gating those vast surfaces of blue and colour is seen in peculiar gorgeousgreen, he sees spots and shadings ness, and combined with so much of all diverse hues: the purple of the else that is attractive, as to constitute heath-clad mountains, the golden Flowers but another name for the bloom of the furze upon their lower beautiful. The most distinguished slopes, the rich mosaic of the autum- of Transatlantic writers, † in a burst nal woods, the grey of rocks and of enthusiasm, styles them “ Earth's ruins, or the yellow of the waving corn- raptures and aspirations-her better fields. Above, by night, he sees the moments—her lucid intervals." Cerdark-blue expanse sparkling all over tainly they are the lovely offspring of with the light of stars, or decked with earth's brightest hours; and so ravisha silvery veil by the radiance of the ing are they, from the blended charms moon ;-by day, he sees it checkered of brilliant colour, graceful form, and and sailed over by clouds, ever-chang- exquisite odour, that no one need ing in aspect, and at length bursting wonder that they should be chosen into the gorgeous magnificence of sun- for so many sweet purposes of life, or set, when clouds and sky are alike to symbolise in the poetic regions of filled with richest colouring, with the South the language and emotions brilliant ever-shifting hues which at of mankind. “The greatest men have once dazzle and mock the gaze. All always thought much of flowers. Luthis is new to him. He has walked ther always kept a flower in a glass, the earth for years, tasted its fruits, on his writing-table ; and when he felt and understood many of its forms, was waging his great public contro
- he has known how useful it is, but versy with Eckius, he kept a flower not till now does he comprehend its in his hand. Lord Bacon has a beaubeauty. He stands amazed at the tiful passage about flowers. As to spectacle which his new-born vision Shakespeare, he is a perfect Alpine reveals to him ;-the sights are all valley, -he is full of flowers; they strange, but not so the emotion which spring, and blossom, and wave in they produce in him. The same every cleft of his mind. Witness nameless pleasure, the same inde. the Midsummer Night's Dream. Even scribable sensation of enjoyment, which Milton, cold, serene, and stately as now swells and thrills within him, he he is, breaks forth into exquisite
* Lord Jeffrey held that mankind liked blue and green simply because we see them everywhere in nature-instead of perceiving the great truth, that it is because these colours are agreeable to man's nature that the Creator has clothed with them the earth and sky. Jeffrey's idea of cosmogony evidently was, that the earth is a haphazard creation, made without any particular regard to the tastes of its tenant Man, and to whose phenomena we get accustomed by sheer dint of habit; instead of perceiving (what would knocked his fallacious theory of Beauty to pieces) that earth and man are made expressly for each other, and that our beneficent Maker has caused the general aspect of the world around us to give us pleasure by being in harmony with our physical and mental constitution,
+ Mrs H. B. Stowe.
gushes of tenderness and fancy when standing the feeling of repose which he marshals the flowers, as in Lycidas symmetry tends to produce in the and Comus."*
beholder, he roundly charges Greek Whatever be the subsidiary sources architecture, which is of all others of attraction in flowers, Colour un- most symmetrical, with being "dead" questionably is the supreme one. and “atheistic" in its spirit; while Men often talk disparagingly of this Gothic architecture, which is eminent. kind of beauty, as if it were some- ly irregular and expressive in its style, thing far lower in its nature than he quite as absurdly discovers to be the beauty of Form and Sound, and symbolic of all the Christian graces. indeed hardly worthy of our regard In the sentences upon Colour which at all. This is a great mistake, and we have quoted, he falls into a simiis owing to the circumstance either lar error. In speaking of the " sathat the vast majority of mankind credness" and "holiness" of colour, are little sensitive to any kind of and in expressing his conviction that beauty, or because a certain fashion all artists who were fine colourists, of speaking has led them insensibly (i. e., dealing in pure and bright colto disregard this particular manifes- ours), were good religious men, he tation of it. " Such expressions," falls into another of his fantastic missays Mr Ruskin, " are used for the takes, although in this case bis mismost part in thoughtlessness; and interpretation of his feelings does not if such disparagers of colour would lead him very wide of the mark. Giftonly take the pains to imagine what ed with a fine sensibility, he feels, the world and their own existence when pure bright colours are harwould become if the blue were taken moniously presented to his eye, a from the sky, and the gold from the thrill of elevated pleasure,-calm and sunshine, and the verdure from the pure, because free from all tincture of leaves, and the crimson from the blood passion, and felt all the more divine which is the life of man, the flush from because nameless, indefinite, and mysthe cheek, the darkness from the eye, terious,-because baffling language to the radiance from the hair,-if they describe, or the mind to analyse it. could but see for an instant white hu- But this sensation is not occasioned man creatures living in a white world, by the “holiness" of colour,-it is they would soon feel what they owe produced by its beauty. True, the to colour. The fact is, that, of all emotion of the beautiful is in one God's gifts to the sight of man, colour sense sacred and holy; because it is the holiest, the most divine, the arises from our being brought face to most solemn. We speak rashly of face with perfection,—with objects gay colour and sad colour, for colour which bear most deeply impressed cannot at once be good and gay. All upon tbem the signet-mark of their good colour is in some degree pensive, Maker, and which the soul, made in the loveliest is melancholy; and the that Maker's image, yearns towards purest and most thoughtful minds are and welcomes with delight. It is a those which love colour the most." noble and divine feeling, but not the
Mr Ruskin is not a correct thinker. one for which Ruskin bere mistakes Eminently sensitive to the impressions it. It is physical beauty, nct the of external nature and art, he is des- "beauty of holiness," which charms titute of the analytic power to ascer- us in Colour,- just as it does in tain the real character of those im- music or the chefs-d'œuvre of Form. pressions. He lacks the turn of mind And when Ruskin goes on to say, by which a man is enabled to “know that colour “cannot be at once good himself;" and hence, when he comes and gay," that “all good colour is to expound his views, founded upon pensive, and the loveliest melancholy," those impressions, he not seldom ar- he is again treading upon ground wbich rives at most absurd conclusions. he does not fully understand. He Right as to bis feelings, he is far enunciates only a balf-truth. In so wrong as to the inferences he draws far as his remark is true, it refers not from them. Thus, instead of under- to colour only, but to every other em
bodiment of the beantiful. For we in its native purity and brilliance, even have ever felt ourselves--and believe Flowers must be put aside as too gross that the feeling is common to all per- and earthy in their structure. Wemust sons of ordinary sensibility that the turn to gems, and fire, and light itbeholding of high beauty, whether in self. Throw a few grains of chemi. nature or art, excites a sentiment of cal stuff into a brigbt-burning fire, joy which is ever mingled with pen- and see how the flame shoots aloft in siveness, if not with melancholy. It a wavy pyramid of purest emerald,is not a depression—on the contrary, or change the substance, and lo! unit is an elation of spirits. It is not dulating spires of loveliest ruby or painful, but pleasing. The heart clings amethyst,-burning with so celestial to it, and feels as if elevated and puri- a brilliance and transparency as if fied by its presence. It is “a divine freed from every tinge of earthy matsadness, "--occasioned by the presence ter, and re-shiping with the splendour of some object so beautiful, so divine- of its native skies. Or take the living ly perfect, so native in character to light itself, and refract it through the soul, yet so rarely met with, that prisms of crystal, and see how the the spirit yearns towards it as to a dissevered tremors of the ray reappear visitor from a higher sphere from on the screen in a band of many-hued which we are exiles,--and for which, light, -red, blue, orange, green, yelin such moments, our heart is pining, low, and violet, blending into each it may be unconsciously, as does the other by most delicate gradations, wandered mountaineer for his native and all glowing with a richness which hills. It is this perfect harmony be- no mortal pencil can copy. Substitween beautiful objects and the soul, tute for this crystal prism, one of -it is this strange tender delight at diamond,-suppose the Koh-i-noor, the presence of anything supremely that “mountain of light," used as lovely, that made Plato account for a refractor of the sunbeams-as a earthly love by the romantic theory breaker-up of the symmetry of the of Reminiscence, by the supposition solar ray,--and then imagine how that lovers, and especially lovers at brilliant would be the spectral colours first sight, are attracted to each other thus produced. The lastre of the not, as is really the case, by a con- diamond, the topaz, the ruby, the geniality of nature, on the world-wide emerald, the amethyst, is well known, principle of “like draws to like," but --but how comes that lustre which because their souls existed together so distinguishes them from other subas twins in a prior and higher state of stances ? It is because they, of all existence, and long to reunite and earthly substances, are the most blend themselves together again when ethereal in their structure, and hence they happen to meet on earth. A vibrate and sparkle most readily fancy so beautiful that we willingly in unison with the solar rays. Take say with Cicero, “ Malim cum Platone a diamond out of the sunlight into a errare quam desipere aliis !”
dark room, and you will see it still In point of richness and gorgeous. lustrous for a few moments, because ness of colour, flowers are unrivalled. its particles are still vibrating. All If we may be allowed the simile, the substances — air, water, wood, and ethereal phenomenon of colour in them rock-consist of identically the same gains as much by a union with earthly atoms, only variously arranged ; each substance, as the spiritual nature of possessing different qualities accordman is rendered more rich and beau- ing to the closeness and form in which tiful by the action of the sensuous the particles of their molecules aremotions. But if we would see colour range themselves.* Thus carbon,
* We do not think that the truth of the Atomic Theory admits of argument. It is irrefragably demonstrable by the pure light of reason, and it has now been all but demonstrated according to the Baconian system of experiment. Already some of our most positive and practical inquirers confess themselves within an ace of accepting the doctrine. Professor Faraday says :—“ The philosopher ends by asking himself these questions, In what does chemical identity consist !--whether the so-called chemical elements may not be, after all, mere allotropio conditions of purer univer
when in its amorphous state, is char- like-give off a subtle light of theirown, coal; when crystallised in prisms, it which becomes visible in a dark room becomes black and opaque graphite; to persons of a sensitive nervous orand when crystallised in octohedrons, ganisation. We certainly know that it is etherealised into the limpid and the Earth radiates a light of its own, transparent diamond. Gems, in truth, as exhibited in the beautiful corrusare of all earthy substances the most cations of the aurora-borealis and the similar in atomic structure to the zodiacal light ; – the explanation of ether,-to that pure and subtle fluid this phenomenon being, that our planet pervading all space, which gives birth is a large magnet, through which, as to the lightning, and whose vibrations in all polarised bodies, there is a conare Heat and Light. They are form- stant passage to and fro of electrical ed in the veins of the rock by the currents, which ray off in light from slow and continuous action of electric the poles. It will ere long be discurrents, which, in the lapse of ages, covered that every planet is luminous, gradually alter the arrangement of although its light may be overpowerthe ultimate atoms of the rock, crys- ed by that of some larger orb, —even tallising them in forms congenial to as a taper's light is unnoticed in the their own ethereal structure.
full blaze of the sunlight ;* and one of Science can imitate in some degree the most fundamental canons in optics this rarest and most beautiful of nature's will be, that every body radiates more processes. “There is strong presump- or less of light when its particles are tive evidence," says Mrs Somerville, in a state of electrical vibration. The " of the influence of the electric and sun and its planets being in opposite magnetic currents on the formation states of polarity, a constant magnetic and direction of the mountain-masses efflux is flowing from each to the other, and mineral veins; but their slow this efflux occasions a thrill, or vipersevering action on the ultimate brating motion, in the ether which fills atoms of matter has been placed be- the interstellar spaces, and the result yond a doubt by the formation of of this vibratory motion on the eye is rubies and other gems, as well as other Light; just as a spark, or continuous mineral substances, by voltaic electri- stream of light, is the concomitant city." What flowers are to the vege- of a similar flux from an electrictable world, gems are to the mineral, machine. Both of them are embodiments of the Under the full blaze of the sunlight, beautiful, — but the latter are of a the Earth throbs as with a million purer substance, and, if slower of pulses. Those substances which are growth, only the more imperishable. most ethereal in their atomic structure,
A science of Colour must be based such as glass and crystals, vibrate upon a correct theory of Light. We most readily and most powerfully; believe the foundations of such a but all things, even the most amortheory already exist. The carefully- phous in structure, join more or less conducted though much-contested ex in the electrical pulsation, transmite periments of Von Reichenbach tend ting, reflecting, and modifying into to show that all polarised bodies — colours, the limpid light which streams such as magnets, crystals, and the from the sunny skies.f When the
sal essences whether, to renew the speculations of the alchemists, the metals may be only so many mutations of each other, by the power of science naturally convertible? There was a time when this fundamental doctrine of the alchemists was opposed to known [fancied ?] analogies ; it is now no longer opposed to them, but only some stages beyond their present development.”—Lectures, p. 105-6.
* The great Herschel expressly admits the correctness of this important and selfobvious, though little-thought-of truth, when, speaking of the systems of Double Stars, and of the revolution of sun round sun, he says—“ Each accompanied with its train of planets and their satellites, closely shrouded from our vier by the splendour of their respective suns."-Outlines of Astronomy, chap. xvi. 8 847.
+ This vibratory action is indispensable to the process of vegetation ; and, in regard to the prodigious effect of this vibratory influence of the solar rays, Professor Gregory says: “ It has been calculated that the mechanical force exerted by the sun upon the amount of wood growing on one square foot of surface, in the course of
sun sets, this vibratory motion of the sun in its noontide splendour is an the earth's surface to a great de- invisible spot in the sky; and “ dark gree ceases, is feebly kept up by from excessive bright," is a phrase not the cold radiance of the moon, or more poetic than true. Since, then, our fades into almost quiescence beneath range of vision is thus limited, let us the tremulous light of the stars. beware of dogmatising as if light were Put out the stars, and all seems ab- a word of absolute instead of relative solute darkness. But is it so? We significance ;-and although we may trow not. Draw the thickest curtain not be able to see what Reichenbach's of cloud over the sky,-let neither sensitives saw, still less to walk by the moon nor star, nor feeblest glimmer of feeble rays which suffice for the lower the violet-coloured skies of night, break creation, let us confess that the auroral the darkness; and yet, while men and zodiacal lights, as well as all sound grope and stumble, and call to their reasoning, show that Earth has a light aid the appliances of luciferous art, of her own, by which it is as seemly myriads of the lower creation-birds that some orders of creatures should of the air, fish of the sea, and prowl. walk, as we, children of light and of ing and creeping things without num- the day, by the nobler radiance of the ber, ply their life as easily as if with sun. them it were not night but day. What It is known to men of science that does this show, but that Light and every part of nature, even the hardest Darkness are but relative terms, and most solid, is in a state of mole. that what is Night for man is Day cular motion,-so subtle, as in most for other creatures ;—and that even in cases to defy ocular scrutiny, yet induthe night-time the surface of the earth bitably revealing itself in its effects. * is vibrating, far too feebly indeed to It is only when those vibrations grow excite vision in man, but sufficient for strong and frequent that they bea vastly wide range of animal life, to come perceptible to our senses; and whom eyes have been given extreme- then they do so in the form of those ly susceptible to the ethereal vibra- ether-born twins, Heat and Light. tions. The great Creator has furnish- Let us examine the spectrum, and see ed each class of his creatures with how this vibratory motion exhibits visual organs fitted for their peculiar itself in the production of Colour. To sphere of action; and man, made for the ordinary eye, the spectrum, prothe day and the sunshine, has eyes duced by refracting or breaking up whose range of discernment is limited the symmetry of the solar beam, is to the diurnal phenomena. His or- merely a series of hues, beginning with gan of sight is adapted for a certain red, brightening into yellow, and then degree of light, more or less than which fading away through violet into darktends equally to blindness. He is not ness. But if you examine it scientifimore baffled by the shadows of nightcally, you will find that those bright than by a superabundance of tbe illu- hues are produced by a series of treminating rays. Light itself may be- mors or vibrations of the broken ethecome darkness. The eagle gazes un real ray,- the strongest and slowest of dazzled on the orb of day; but to us, which vibratory rays are least refract
a year, corresponds to what would be required to raise a weight of 486,000 lb. to the height of one foot ; and this is only 1.11th of the whole effect of the sun's rays, of which only 1-5th reaches the plant, and half of that is lost."-Handbook of Organic Chemistry, p. 482.
* " Nothing can be more certain," says Mrs Somerville, “ than that the minute particles of matter are constantly in motion, from the action of heat, mutual attraction, and electricity. Prismatic crystals of salts of zinc are changed in a few seconds into crystals of a totally different form by the heat of the sun ;-casts of shells are found in rocks, from which the animal matter has been removed, and its place supplied by mineral :—and the excavations made in rocks diminish sensibly in size, in a short time, if the rock be soft, and in a longer time when it is hard : circumstances which show an intestine motion of the particles, not only in their relative positions, but in space, which there is every reason to believe is owing to electricity,-a power which, if not the sole agent, must at least have co-operated essentially in the formation and filling of mineral veins."- Physical Geography, I. chap. xv. p. 288-9.