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kind, when about to describe the battle of LECT. Blenheim.
But O! my Muse! what numbers wilt thou find
The faults opposite to the Sublime are chieủy two; the Frigid, and the Bombast. The Frigid consists, in degrading an object, or sentiment, which is Sublime in itself, by our mean conception of it; or by our weak, low, and childish description of it. This betrays entire absence, or at least great poverty of genius. Of this, there are abundance of examples, and these commented upon with i much humour, in the treatise on the Art of Sinking, in Dean Swift's works; the inVol. I.
LECT. stances taken chiefly from Sir Richard Blackmore.
One of these, I had occasion already to give, in relation to mount Ætna, and it were needlefs to produce any more.
The Bombast lies, in forcing an ordinary or trivial 'object out of its rank, and endeavouring to raise it into the Sublime ; or, in attempting to exalt a Sublime object beyond all natural and reasonable bounds. Into this error, which is but too common, writers of genius may fometimes fall, by unluckily losing sight of the true point of the Sublime. This is also called Fuftian, or Rant. Shakespeare, a great, but incorrect genius, is not unexceptionable here. Dryden and Lee, in their tragedies, abound with it.
Thus far of the Sublime ; of which I have treated fully, because it is fo capital an excellency in fine writing, and because clear and precise ideas on this head are, as far as I know, mot to be met with in critical writers,
Before I conclude this Lecture, there is one observation which I chuse to make at this time; I shall make it once for all, and hope it will be afterwards remembered. It is with respect to the instances of faults, or rather blemishes and imperfections, which, as I have done in this Lecture, I shall hereafter continue to take, when I can, from writers of reputa
tion. I have not the least intention thereby L E C T. to disparage their character in the general. I shall have other occasions of doing equal justice to their beauties. But it is no reflection on any human performance, that it is not absolutely perfect. The task would be much easier for me, to collect instances of faults from bad writers. But they would draw no attention, when quoted from books which nobody reads.
And I conceive, that the method which I follow, will contribute more to make the best authors be read with pleasure, when one properly diftinguishes their beauties from their faults; and is led to imitate and admire only what is worthy of imitation and admiration
L E C T U R E V.
BEAUTY, AND OTHER PLEASURES
Е Е ст,
S Sublimity constitutes a particular cha
racter of compofition, and forms one of the highest excellencies of eloquence and of poetry, it was proper to treat of it at some length. It will not be necessary to discuss so particularly all the other pleasures that arise from Taste, as some of them have less relation to our main subject. On Beauty only I shall make several observations, both as the subject is curious, and as it tends to improve Taste, and to discover the foundation of several of the graces of description and of
BEAUTY, next to Sublimity, affords, beyond doubt, the highest pleasure to the ima
* See Hutchinson's Enquiry concerning Beauty and Virtue.-Gerard on Tafte, chap. iii.-Enquiry into the Origin of the Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.-Ele. ments of Criticism, chap. iii.-Spectator, vol. vi.-Essay on the pleasures of Taste,
gination. The emotion which it raises, is LECT. very distinguishable from that of Sublimity. It is of a calier kind; more gentle and soothing; does not elevate the mind so much, but produces an agreeable serenity. Sublimity raises a feeling, too violent, as I showed, to be lasting; the pleasure arising from Beauty admits of longer continuance. It extends also to a much greater variety of objects than Sublimity; to a variety indeed so great, that the feelings which Beautiful objects produce, differ considerably, not in degree only, but also in kind, from one another. Hence, no word in the language is used in a more vague signification than Beauty. It is applied to almost every external object that pleases the eye, or the ear; to a great number of the graces of writing; to many dispositions of the 'mind; nay, to several objects of mere abstract science. We talk currently of a beautiful tree or flower; a beautiful poem ; a beautiful character, and a beautiful theorem in mathematics.
Hence we may easily perceive, that, among so great a variety of objects, to find out some one quality in which they all agree, and which is the foundation of that agreeable sensation they all raise, must be a very difficult, if not, more probably, a vain attempt. Objects, denominated Beautiful, are so different, as to