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to his own qualities, tried according universal and unlimited, in a sort of to any intelligible standard.
widely-diffused enthusiasm, or in the To the same level may be referred internal recognition of kindred being. some of the latest tastes, which have This is what some of the German wriappeared in modern times, as to what ters have called “ holy nature;" and is the most desirable state and compo- dramatists, among them, exploring the sition of society. These tastes have same vein, have shewn that they were inclined a great proportion of mankind capable of producing a great deal of to wish to contemplate societies of such sensation, in all the theatres of Eua composition, as the uniform grey or rope. Kotzebue was one of the lowest. drab colours of the coats of Quakers, He makes his tenderness of as damp who, though they are good sort of peo- and watery a sort as possible, and conple, I think, have more likeness to hired fines himself to the most common and servants, than to prodigal sons. This unmingled elements, which may be is by way of conciliating a levelling found in any mind whatever. In the taste with order. Externally this in- dramas of the inferior German writers, clination assumes the hypocritical form there is often a transference of the of respect, for all that is most imme- scene into remote countries; and the diately useful in human nature. In persons on the stage, whether Asiareality, it is a wish to raise the price tics, Europeans, or Hottentots, brought of the homely and vulgar stuff of hu- together, are made to join in sobbings man nature, and place it in a condi- of tenderness, undisturbed by any tion of undisturbed self-conceit, inca- unseasonable discriminations of taste, pable of improvement in taste. But that would lessen the breadth of the supposing that, in one generation, by sensation. Schiller, in his Robbers, is the predominance of vulgar envy, the not in a much higher vein, but deals drab-colour were established in society, in the passions of individuals, and selit would not be easy to persuade the domer resolves into the wet universal next generation to remain contented nature of German sentiment, which, I with it, as the most beautiful of all think, must be good, in so far as it things.
conduces to the recognition of general Such are the tastes and inclinations humanity. But the fellow-feeling of a which belong to the lowest stage of common nature, or of impulses widely feeling. But here it is proper to ob- shared, cannot justly be held up as the serve, that in all fictitious narrative, ultimate aim of poetical sentiment; (to whatever stage of taste they may since, if it were acknowledged as such, belong,) a sympathy with the personal it would swallow up all distinctions feelings and fortunes of some parti- of better or worse, or beauty and decular character must be created, for the formity. The aim of tragedy or nopurpose of engaging the reader's at- vel-writing, is not like the figure of tention, and carrying him on, and this the kneeling African, on the medal must be the stock, whatever other struck in reference to the abolition of things may be grafted upon it. There- slavery, saying, “ Am I not a man fore, although a strong personal in- and a brother?" If one of the chaterest, awakened by a fictitious narra. racters in Kotzebue'splays were making tive, is not a feeling of any high grade, the same appeal, the reply might be, yet it does, on that account, make the “ You are a man and a brother by work referable to this or that stage of common origin, but you are not a pertaste.
son with whom we would think it any Having said thus much, Mr North, honour to sympathize from taste, howon the first stage of feeling, I shall ever much we may desire your welnow inquire what is the next. To the fare." Among the English poets, CowSecond Stage, I think, may be referred per, from humanity and humility, and all recognitions of a common huma- from wishing to exercise the office of nity, extending through different in- a Methodist preacher in verse, sought dividuals, and shewn in the natural for this sense of universal kindred, and affections of mankind. Although not rejoiced in the participation of common lofty, this is at least deeply moving, affections. He has the following pasand resolves the self-interested pas- sage on the subject :sions of individuals into something
'Twere well, says one, sage, erudite, profound,
But it is here evident that Cowper on the stage. The later poets of Enga considered common affection as a me- land have sought for it more in genedium through which he might plead ral impulses diffused through a mulfor a hearing of his Expostulations. It titude. This cannot be more striking. must, at the same time, be acknow- ly exemplified than by Lord Byron's Jedged, that the internal recognition of verses on the English troops being general nature is itself a feeling highly called away from the ball at Brussels, deserving of being called poetical. It is previous to the battle of Waterloo always found, and confessed to be such, The verses are well known, but it is in the enthusiasm of strong emotions worth while to quote part of them widely shared. The German drama- here, to shew what I mean by strong tists sought for nature in the situa- natural emotions widely shared. tions of a few individuals brought up
“ And then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness ;
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs,
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
While throng’d the citizens, with terror dumb,
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers
The stirring memory of a thousand years,
“ And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with Nature's tear-drops, as they pass,
Over the unreturning brave. Alas!
While now beneath them; but above shall grow
Of living valour, rolling on the foe, And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.” These verses, so much admired and turn; time sports, life passes on, yet so popular, are a good example of the wind of expectation continues unemotions which are the means of re- restrained. cognizing that community of element- “ To dwell under the mansion of ary nature, which exists in multi- the high Gods, at the foot of a tree; tudes. Passing beyond the interests to have the ground for a couch, and of individuals, these emotions extend hide for vesture; to renounce all exinto the knowledge of something ab- trinsic enjoyments-whom doth not solute and unlimited, which is called such devotion fill with delight? “ Nature," but which is not high or. “Place not thy affections too stronglow in relation to sentiment, but only ly on foe or friend-on a son or a kinsgeneral. And literary works which man, in war or in peace. Be thou inake use of such means for affecting even-minded towards all, if thou dethe mind, may be referred to the Se- sirest speedily to attain to the nature cond Stage of taste. The works of of Vishnu. many of the German writers are re- “ Eight original mountains and seferable to this class; and it is proba- ven seas, Brahme, Indra, the Sun, and ble that in Europe they have been of Rudra,- not thou, not I, not this or much use, in preparing the way for that people; wherefore, then, should other things, by accustoming litera- anxiety be raised in our minds ? ture more to the expression of feel- “ In thee, in me, in every other beings, which resolve themselves into ing, is Vishnu; foolishly art thou ofthe unlimited and unpersonal-al- fended with me, not bearing my apthough it were no more than common proach ; see every soul in thy own nature, melting into watery and tear- soul; in all places lay aside a 'notion ful sentiment, or in those works which of diversity.” are meant to produce terror, the gor- Such is the pathetic address of the gons of vague and floating darkness, Gymnosophist, endeavouring to fix his losing themselves in shadowy obscu- attention on the eight original mouna rity. The greatest depths of natural tains and seven seas. This deep nafeeling are often accompanied with a tural sense of transitoriness and unsense of transitoriness and delusion, certainty, is capable of being turned in which particular being appears lost either to sadness or levity. In mom and solved in an indefinite universal- dern times, it has sometimes taken ity, like the Maya of the Indi the form of an inclination for scepSir William Jones gives a translation ticism in reasoning and matters of of one of their poems, in which the opinion; for when scepticism is perGymnosophist expresses the desire to fect and absolute, it is like a resolube weaned from the uncertainties of a tion of all particular thoughts into the transitory existence, and to fix his indefinite. But also, the same deep thoughts on the permanent and real. feeling of uncertainty has sometimes The poem is entitled the “ Mallet of been shewn in the vague horrors of a Delusion,” and has among others the German romance, where the principal following stanzas :
events take place in a mysterious twi. “As a drop of water moves tremul- light, or while autumnal showers are ous on the lotos-leaf, thus is human driven by the wind through the relife inexpressibly slippery; the com- cesses of some unexplored forest. pany of the virtuous is here but for a such productions, change, doubt, and inoment; that is our ship in passing indefinite sadness, are always the chief the ocean of the world.
elements, and they belong to the se“Day and night, evening and morn- cond stage of feeling. ing, winter and spring, depart and re- I shall now proceed to speak of the
Third Stage of feeling. To it may be sion, and also beyond that of natural referred the mixture of human pas- affections. Therefore, I have no besions and affections with the sentiment sitation in saying, that imagination of the beautiful, and with the know- (which is a means of invention in all ledge of the permanent and abstract the stages of taste) belongs most proidea. From this mixture arises inter- perly, in point of feeling, to the Third nal taste, and discrimination as to the Stage, which is the mixture of human higher and lower grades of feeling. affections with the sentiment of the But still the mixture implies the pre- beautiful. In all cases, imagination sence of human affections, which are is an active recognition of the varieties more or less changed, for example, in of possible form. In its finest exerthe sentiment, justice, or generosity, cises, a profound sentiment of the or repentance, or the love of the beau- beautiful makes these appear tinged tiful. To this intermediate region be- with qualified hues, having almost the long the finest struggles of sentiment languor of passive affection. Activity,
tragedies or fictitious narrative ; however, is most appropriate to imasuice, from the mixture of the different gination. These expressions may apelements, it is both interesting to the pear vague and mystical, but it can pissions of the reader, and gratifying scarcely be otherwise in treating of is his taste, or his internal discrimi- such a subject. nation as to the quality of feeling,
That which characterizes the Third which le must exercise in sympathi- Stage of taste, therefore, is not the abeing with the transition of struggling sence of human affections, but the inaffections from their natural anarchy, ternal discrimination of the qualities into abstract beauty. This, therefore, of feeling in relation to the abstract is the Third Stage, and retains some beautiful. Since satire discriminates what of the elements of the two infe- as to quality, it must belong to this rior. But it is unnecessary to say any stage. It sometimes appears to make thing farther, to render the difference one half of human nature ironically between them perceptible.
sympathize with what is bad, while I think the exercise of Imagination the other half is made to condemn, belongs most properly to the Third and to feel opposition of taste, and so Stage of feeling. "Imagination is not to discriminate. But satire, without merely a power for conceiving new si- the exercise of taste, is mere buffoontuations to interest the passions ; for, ery, or abuse. in all the bolder and more sudden The Fourth and last Stage of feeling Higlits of imagination, there is a tem- is to be found in the fine arts, and in porary feeling of the reality of general the contemplation of abstract relations, isleas, as existing abstractedly from such as they are in themselves, withparticular objects. These glimpses are out reference to human affections. only for a moment, but they are di- This kind of feeling applies to form, vine. It is this which connects ima- style, possible order, relative colour, gination with elevation of sentiment. harmony, extension, and the like. Relatively to this Voltaire was a re. These things cannot be so well exmarkable instance. In bim, imagina- pressed by literature, which gives only tion appeared as a power not always words to suggest conceptions to the recognizing the beautiful, but exerting reader, who may conceive imperfectly; activity, to find astonishing contrasts but the fine arts exemplify abstract 10 visible realities. He was like a relations, and make them cognizable strong and far-travelled bird appear- to the senses. The two first or infeing on the earth, from some distant rior stages of taste have no relation region; and the astonishment which to abstract form, but the third is not he excited, was itself a satire on the below the level of the fine arts, for it narrow conceptions of mankind. His is the mixture of human affections flights were rather those of strength with the sentiment of the beautiful. and activity, than of rising qualities of In music, it is well expressed by the Guste. But almost any rapid exercise inixture the discords, and imperfect of imagination is connected with the concords, of human affections, with feeling of the abstract. The rapid harmony. In painting, it may be cornparison of possible forms can sel- shewn in the expressions of the coundoin fail to produce some astonishi- ienances, and in the various mixtures anent, and some risings of taste, be- of light with darkness. The Third and yond the narrow sphere of selfish pas. Fourth Stages of Taste are closely althat it may often require to consider and ascertain their grade in relation to lied; and the difference between them, taste. I do not pretend to detract from is the absence of human passions and the merits of any particular line or walk affections in the last.
of literary composition, or unjustly to Having thus gone through the dif- deprecate the mental gratifications ferent stages of taste, and established which may be derived from it. I the grade of each, upon principles only seek to discriminate the kinds, which must appear clear and undeni- and to make their respective qualities able to every person capable of reflecta clearly perceptible. As a person, in ing upon the subject, I appeal to you, learning to dance, goes through all the Mr North, whether I have not stated positions, so the mini goes (improving things well worthy of consideration, in agility and refinement) through all in an age when there are so many differ- the regions of taste. I am, yours, &c. ent excitements to bewilder the mind,
THE DEVIL AMONG THE ARTISTS; OR, DAVID DREADNOUGHT AGAINST
ROUND-ROBIN. When an eartinquake occurs in Ca- and the pretty house-maid appears labria, Sicily, Portugal, or any part of with a broken china-cup in her rosy the habitable globe, excelling in con- paw, as demonstrative evidence of some vulsions and eruptions of nature, it mighty convulsion of nature. Dogs leaves behind it such decided and un- had been heard to bark, cattle to low, equivocal proofs of its reality, as to si- and children to squall. The very hens lence the cavils of the most sceptical. bad tuck-tuck-tuck-a-tuck-tuckooed Towers, temples, palaces, and houses, in the poultry-yard, in a manner which streets, squares, and cities, go down no hen would have adopted, except dulike a child's card-play-thing, and per- ring an earthquake; and the dairy-maid haps some twenty or forty thousand having accidentally gone with Roger, human creatures are burned or buried. the ploughman, into the barn during the But when an earthquake occurs in darkness, had felt the very straw shaScotland, say at Inverness or Comrie, king, and observed that the eggs trunit is so faint and woe-begone, that dled away, most alarmingly indeed, its existence seems extremely problem out of their nests, bearing witness that matical. Hence there arise two pare the barley-mow was agitated to its ties,—the earth-quakers and the anti- foundation-sheaf. The anti-eartha earth-quakers. The one pull a long quakers, on the other hand, are willing face, speak in hollow murmurs, take to pledge faith, fortune, life itself, that you solemnly by the fourth button of there has been nothing whatever of your waistcoat, cast their eyes up to the kind. If the bottles have shook upthe ceiling, and stun your soul with on the table, it was, according to them, the dreadful narrative. Shock after after dinner; and the effect was proshock, they maintain, to the number duced by no earthquake, but by a rap mayhap of the devil's dozen, struck of the knuckles, enforcing some jocuold mother earth till she trembled as lar, political, or amatory effusion. If a with cholic; the heavens were as black, gentleman fell off his chair, they blame they asseverate, as the crown of their no earthquake, but lay his fall to the hat'; the heat was like an oven, and charge of the jorum; and if the Turkey the whole concern most frightful in- carpet heaved, sunk, and whirled, there deed, and dismal alike to men, women, seems no mystery whatever in such children, and cattle.
emotions, for they know, drunk as they In corroboration of such terrific do- are, that the earth is as fast as a nail, ings of nature, and to shew that the and that the table is standing a most solid earth must have quoke from its steady octoped on a most trust-worthy foundation, up comes the cook from the floor. “ Damn' the earthquake did kitchen, solemnly swearing by her sole one or other of us either see, hear, or and flounder, that the very spit shook, feel! However, we won't be positive ; and every pan clattered. The butler only we were too pleasantly occupied is ready to take his Bible-oath, that to attend to such trifles, and really we he heard bottles breaking in the binns; pity people who are so sensitive and
* Report of the Society of the Cognoscenti for the encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland. Svo. 2s.