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LECT. the terrible, tend greatly to assist the Sublime;

such as darkness, folitude, and silence. What
are the scenes of nature that elevate, the mind
in the highest degree, and produce the sublime
fensation ? Not the gay landscape, the flowery
field, or the Aourishing city; but the hoary
mountain, and the folitary lake; the aged
forest, and the torrent falling over the rock.
Hence too, night-scenes are commonly the
most fublime. The firmament when filled
with stars, scattered in such vast numbers, and
with such magnificent profusion, strikes the
imagination with a more awful grandeur, than
when we view it enlightened by all the splen-
dour of the Sun. The deep found of a great
bell, or the striking of a great clock, are at
any time grand; but, when heard amid the
filence and stillness of the night, they become
doubly so. Darkness is very commonly ap-
plied for adding sublimity to all our ideas of
the Deity. « He maketh darkness his pa-
" vilion; he dwelleth in the thick cloud.” So
Milton :

How oft, amidst
Thick clouds and dark, does Heaven's all-ruling Sire
Chuse to reside, his glory unobscured,
And, with the Majesty of darkness, round
Circles his throne-

Book II. 263 Observe, with how much art Virgil has introduced all those ideas of filence, vacuity, and darkness, when he is going to introduce his

Hero

Hero to the infernal regions, and to disclose Lect. the secrets of the great deep.

III.

1

Dii quibus imperium est animarum, umbræque silentes,
Et Chaos, et Phlegethon, loca nocte filentia latè,
Sit mihi fas audita loqui ; fit numine veftro
Pandere res altâ terrâ, et calligine mersas.
Ibant obfcuri, fola fub nocte, per umbram,
Perque domos Ditis vacuos, et inania regna ;
Quale per incertam lunam, sub luce maligna
Et iter in sylvis-*.
These passages I quote at present, not so much
as instances of Sublime Writing, though in
themselves they truly are so, as to Thew, by
the effect of them, that the objects which
they present to us, belong to the class of sub-

lime ones.

OBSCURITY, we are farther to remark, is not unfavourable to the Sublime. Though

* Ye fubterranean Gods, whose awful sway

The gliding ghosts and filent shades obey;
O Chaos, hear! and Phlegethon profound !
Whose folemn empire stretches wide around!
Give me, ye great tremendous powers! to tell
Of scenes and wonders in the depths of Hell;
Give me your mighty secrets to display,
From those black realms of darkness to the day.

Pitt.
Obscure they went; through dreary hades, that led
Along the waste dominions of the dead;
As wander travellers in woods by night,
By the moon's doubtful and malignant light.

DRYDEN.

it

III.

LECT. it render the object indistinct, the impreffiont,

however, may be great; for, as an ingenious

Author has well observed, it is one thing to Á

make an idea clear, and another to make it affecting to the imagination ; and the imagination may be strongly affected, and, in fact, often is so, by objects of which we have no clear conception. Thus we see, that almost all the descriptions given us of the appearances of supernatural Beings, carry some Sublimity, though the conceptions which they afford us be confused and indistinct. Their Sublimity arises from the ideas, which they always convey, of superior power and might, joined with an awful obscurity. We may see this fully exemplified in the following noble passage of the book of Job. In thoughts from the « visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth

upon - men, fear came upon me, and “ trembling, which made all my bones to " shake. Then a spirit paffed before my “ face; the hair of my flesh stood up: it stood « still; but I could not discern the form " thereof; an image was before mine eyes ; " there was silence; and I heard a voice“ Shall mortal man be more just than God * ?"

(Job,

* The picture which Lucretius has drawn of the domi. nion of superstition over mankind, representing it as a portentous spectre showing its head from the clouds, and difmaying the whole human race with its countenance, together with the magnanimity of Epicurus in raising himself

PP

III.

(Job, iv. 15.) No ideas, it is plain, are fo LE C T. sublime as those taken from the Supreme Being; the most unknown, but the greatest of all objects; the infinity of whose nature, and the eternity of whose duration, joined with the omnipotence of his power, though they surpass our conceptions, yet exalt them to the highest. In general, all objects that are greatly raised above us, or far removed from us, either in space or in time, are apt to Itrike us as great. Our viewing them, as through the mift of distance or antiquity, is favourable to the impressions of their Sub. limity.

As obscurity, fo disorder too, is very compatible with grandeur; nay, frequently heightens it. Few things that are strictly regular, and methodical, appear sublime. We see the limits on every side; we feel ourselves confined; there is no room for the mind's exerting any great effort. Exact proportion of parts, though it enters often into

up against it, carries all the grandeur of a sublime, obscure,
and awful image.

Humana ante oculos fæde cum vita jaceret
In terris, oppressa gravi sub religione,
Quæ caput a cæli regionibus oftendebat,
Horribili super aspectu mortalibus inftans,
Primum Graius homo mortales tollere contra
Eft oculos aufus.--

LIB. I.

: VOL, I,

F

the

III.

LECT, the beautiful, is much disregarded in the Sub.

lime. A great mass of rocks, thrown together by the hand of nature with wildness and confusion, ftrike the mind with more grandeur, than if they had been adjusted to one another with the most accurate symmetry:

In the feeble attempts, which human art can make towards producing grand objects (feeble, I mean, in comparison with the powers of nature), greatness of dimensions always constitutes a principal part. No pile of building can convey any idea of Sublimity, unless it be ample and lofty. There is, too, in architecture, what is called Greatness of manner; which seems chiefly to arise, from presenting the object to us in one full point of view; so that it shall make its impression whole, entire, and undivided, upon the mind, A Gothic cathedral raises ideas of grandeur in our minds, by its size, its height, its awful obscurity, its strength, its antiquity, and its durability.

THERE still remains to be mentioned one class of Sublime objects, which may be called the moral, or sentimental Sublime; arising from certain exertions of the human mind; from certain affections, and actions, of our fellow-creatures. These will be found to be all, or chiefly, of that class, which comes un

der

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