« PoprzedniaDalej »
tion of his crimes : nor has the subordinate officer any obligation to examine the opinions or conduct of those under whom he acts, except that he may not be made the instrument of wicked. ness.
Lise of Addison
BURLESQUE. Burlesque consists in a disproportion between the style and the sentiments, or between the adventitious sentiments and the fundamental subject. It, therefore, like all bodies compounded of heterogeneous parts, contains in it a principle of corruption. All disproportion is unnatural, and from what is unnatural we can derive only the pleasure which novelty produces. We admire it a while as a strange thing ; but when it is no longer strange, we perceive its deformity. It is a kind of artifice, which, by frequent repetition, detects itself; and the reader, learning in time what he is to expect, lays down his book; as the spectator turns away from a second exhibition of those tricks, of which the only use is, to show that they can be played. .
· If the opinion of Bacon be thought to deserve much regard, very few sighs would be vented for eminent and superlative elegance of form. “ For beautiful women (says he) are seldom of any great accomplishments, because they, for the most part, study behaviour rather than vir
' . . . [ 134 ]
We recommend the care of their nobler part to women, and tell them how little addition is made by all their arts, to the graces of the mind. But when was it known that female goodness or knowledge was able to attract that officiousness, or inspire that ardour, which beauty produces whenever it appears?
Ibid. vol. 2, p. 74. The 'bloom and softness of the female sex are' not to be expected among the lower classes of life, whose faces are exposed to the rudeness of the climate, and whose features are sometimes contracted by want, and sometimes hardened by blasts. Supreme beauty is seldom found in cottages, or workshops, even where no real hardships are suffered. To expand the human face to its full perfection, it seems necessary that the mind should co-operate by placidness of content, or consciousness of superiority.'
L" Western Tands, p. 195. Beauty is so little subject to the examination. of reason, that Paschal supposes it to end where) demonstration begins; and maintains that, without inconguity and absurdity, we cannot speak. of geometrical beauty. :
.. ?!! Rambler, vol. 2, p. 219; : Beauty is wel known to draw after it the persecutions of impertinence; to incite the artifices of envy, and to raise the flames of unlawful . love; yet among ladies whom prudence or modęsty have anade most eminents, who has ever complained of the inconveniences of an amiable form, or would have purchased safety by the loss of charms?
Ibid. vol. 3, p. 35. '
It requires but little acquaintance with the heart, to know that woman's first wish is to be handsome; and that, consequently, the readiest method of obtaining her kindness is to praise her beauty. .
Ibid. vol. 4, p. 159.
As we are more accustomed to beauty than deformity, we may conclude that to be the reason why we approve and admire it, as we ap. prove and admire customs and fashions of dress, for no other reason than that we are used to them: so that though habit and custom cannot be said to be the cause of beauty, it is certainly the cause of our liking it.
Idler, vol. 2, p. 167. In the works of nature, if we compare one species with another, all are equally beautiful, and preference is given from custom, or some association of ideas; and in creatures of the same spec cies, beauty is the medium, or centre, of all its various forms.
. Ibid. p. 172.
Beauty without kindness dies unenjoyed, and undelighting. :
Is Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. I, p. 195.
Neither man nor woman will have much difficulty to tell how beauty makes riches pleasant, except by declaring ignorance of what every one knows, and confessing insensibility of what every one feels.
Ibid. vol. 2, p. 96. It is an observation countenanced by Shakspeare, and some of our best writers, that no wo
man can ever be offended with the mention of her beauty.
Ibid. fol. 7, p. 18.
The teeming mother, anxious for her race, .. Begs for each birth the fortune of a face;. Yet Vane could tell what ills froin Beauty spring, And Sedley curs'd the form that pleas'd a king.
Ye nymphs of rosy lips and radiant eyes, Whom pleasure keeps too busy to be wise ; Whom joys with soft varieties invite, By day the frolic, and the dance by night; : Who frown with vanity, who smile with art, And ask the latest fashion of the heart; ." What care, what' rules, your heedless charms shall
save, Each nymph your rival, and each youth your sláve?' Against your fame with fondness, hate combines, The rival batters, and the lover pines, With distant voice neglected Virtue calls, i Less heard and less, the faint remonstrance falls : Tired with contempt she quits the slipp’ry reign, And Pride and Prudence take her seat in vain ; In crowds at once, where none the pass defend, The harmless freedom and the private friend. The guardians yield by force superior ply'd, By int'rest, Prudence; and by flatt’ry, Pride : Now Beauty falls betray'd, despis’d, distrest, And hissing Infamy proclaims the rest.
Vanity of Human Wilhes.
BIOGRAPHY. There has, perhaps, rarely passed a life, of which a judicious and faithful narrative would not be useful. For not only every man has, in the mighty mass of the world, great numbers in
the same condition with himself, to whom his mistakes and miscarriages, escapes and expedients, would be of immediate and apparent use ; but there is such an uniformity in the state of man, considered apart from adventitious and separable decorations, and disguises, that there is scarce any possibility of good or ill but is common to human kind. :
Rambler, vol. 1p. 37.
The necessity of complying with times, and of sparing persons, is the great impediment of biography. History may be formed from permanent monuments and records, but lives can only be written from personal knowledge, which is growing every day less, and in a short time is lost for ever. What is known can seldom be immediately told, and when it might be told, is no longer known.
Life of Addison.
The writer of his own life has at least the first qualification of an historian, the knowledge of the truth; and though it may plausibly be objected, that his temptations to disguise it, are equal to his opportunities of knowing it, yet it cannot but be thought, that impartiality may be expected with equal confidence from him that relates the passages of his own life, as from him that delivers the transactions of another. What is collected by conjecture (and by conjecture only can one man judge of another's motives or sentiments) is easily modified by fancy or desire ; as objects imperfectly discerned take forms from the hope or fear of the beholder. . But that which is fully known cannot be falsified but with reluctance of understand,