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pleasures. As I propose to confine myself, in this Essay, to Beauty, the first of the three qualities mentioned by Addison, it is unnecessary for me to inquire how far his enumeration is complete, or how far his classification is logical. But, as I shall have frequently occasion, in the sequel, to speak of the Pleasures of Imagination, I must take the liberty of remarking, in vindication of my own. phraseology, that philosophical precision indispensably requires an exclusive limitation of that title to what. Mr Addison calls secondary pleasures; because, although ultimately founded on pleasures derived from our perceptive powers, they are yet (as will afterwards appear) characterized by some very remarkable circumstances, peculiar to themselves. It is true, that when we enjoy the beauties of a certain class of external objects (for example, those of a landscape), Imagination is often, perhaps always, more or less busy; but the case is the same with various other intellectual principles, which must operate, in a greater or less degree, wherever men are to be found; such principles, for instance, as the association of ideas ;-sympathy with the enjoyments of animated beings;-or a speculative curiosity concerning the uses and fitness, and systematical relations which are everywhere conspicuous in Nature;

and, therefore, to refer to Imagination

To these principles must be added, in such a state of society as ours, the numberless acquired habits of observation and of thought, which diversify the effects of the same perceptions in the minds of the painter; of the poet; of the landscape-gardener;

alone, our perception of these beauties, together with all the various enjoyments, both intellectual and moral, which accompany it, is to sanction, by our very definitions, a partial and erroneous theory. I shall, accordingly, in this, and in the following Essays, continue to use the same language as formerly; separating, wherever the phenomena in question will admit of such a separation, the pleasures we receive immediately by our senses, from those which depend on ideal combinations formed by the Intellect. *

Agreeably to this distinction, I propose, in treating of Beauty, to begin with considering the more simple and general principles on which depend the pleasures that we experience in the case of actual perception; and after which, I shall proceed to investigate the sources of those specific and characteristical charms which Imagination lends to her own productions.

of the farmer; of the civil or the military engineer; of the geological theorist, &c. &c. &c.

What Mr Addison has called the Pleasures of Imagination, might be denominated, more correctly, the pleasures received from the objects of Taste; a power of the mind which is equally conversant with the pleasures arising from sensible things, and with such as result from the creations of human genius.






THE word Beauty, and, I believe, the correspond ing term in all languages whatever, is employed in a great variety of acceptations, which seem, on a superficial view, to have very little connection with each other; and among which it is not easy to trace the slightest shade of common or coincident meaning. It always, indeed, denotes something which gives not merely pleasure to the mind, but a certain refined species of pleasure, remote from those grosser indulgences which are common to us with the brutes; but it is not applicable universally in every case where such refined pleasures are received; being confined to those exclusively which form the proper objects of intellectual Taste. We speak of beautiful colours, beautiful forms, beautiful

pieces of music : * We speak also of the beauty of virtue; of the beauty of poetical composition; of the beauty of style in prose; of the beauty of a mathematical theorem; of the beauty of a philosophical discovery. On the other hand, we do not speak of beautiful tastes, or of beautiful smells; nor do we apply this epithet to the agreeable softness, or smoothness, or warmth of tangible objects, consi dered solely in their relation to our sense of feeling. Still less would it be consistent with the common use of language, to speak of the beauty of high birth, of the beauty of a large fortune, or of the beauty of extensive renown.

It has long been a favourite problem with philosophers, to ascertain the common quality or qualities which entitles a thing to the denomination of beautiful; but the success of their speculations has been so inconsiderable, that little can be inferred from them but the impossibility of the problem to which they have been directed. The author of the article Beau in the French Encyclopédie, after some severe strictures on the solutions proposed by

* “There is nothing singular in applying the word beauty to "sounds. The ancients observe the peculiar dignity of the r senses of seeing and hearing; that in their objects we discern "the Kaλ which we don't ascribe to the objects of the other senses."-Hutcheson's Inquiry into Beauty and Virtue, Sect. 2,

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+ See Note (S.)

Diderot, if my memory does not deceive me.-I do not refer to this theory on account of its merit, for, in that point of view, it is totally unworthy of notice; but because the author has stated,


his predecessors, is led, at last, to the following conclusions of his own, which he announces with all


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pomp of discovery "That Beauty consists in "the perception of Relations.”—“ Place beauty in "the perception of relations, and you will have the history of its progress from the infancy of the "world to the present hour. On the other hand, "choose for the distinguishing characteristic of the "beautiful in general, any other quality you can possibly imagine, and you will immediately find

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your notion limited in its applications to the "modes of thinking prevalent in particular coun"tries, or at particular periods of time. The per

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ception of Relations is therefore the foundation "of the beautiful; and it is this perception which, "in different languages, has been expressed by so

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many different names, all of them denoting differ"ent modifications of the same general idea."

The same writer, in another article, defines Beauty" to be the power of exciting in us the perception "of agreeable relations;" to which definition he adds the following clause: "I have said agreeable, "in order to adapt my language to the general and

more explicitly than any other I at present recollect, the funda mental principle on which his inquiries have proceeded; a principle common to him with all the other theorists on the same subject, of whom I have any knowledge.

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*This is the only intelligible interpretation I am able to put on the original. The strictly literal version is :-" You will find your notion concentrated in some point of space and of time." (Votre notion se trouvera tout-a-coup concentrée dans un point de l'espace et du tems.)

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