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either of a natural principle, or of a fitnefs to an fwer fome end; the idea which mankind most commonly conceive of proportion, is the fuitablenefs of means to certain ends, and, where this is not the queftion, very feldom trouble themfelves about the effect of different measures of things. Therefore it was neceffary for this theory to infift that not only artificial, but natural objects took their beauty from the fitness of the parts for their feveral purposes. But in framing this theory, I am apprehenfive that experience was not fuffi ciently confulted. For, on that principle, the wedge-like fnout of a fwine, with its tough cartilage at the end, the little funk eyes, and the whole make of the head, fo well adapted to its offices of digging and rooting, would be extremely beauti ful. The great bag hanging to the bill of a pelican, a thing highly useful to this animal, would be likewife as beautiful in our eyes. The hedgehog, fo well fecured against all affaults by his prickly hide, and the porcupine with his miffile quills, would be then confidered as creatures of no fmall elegance. There are few animals whofe parts are better contrived than those of a monkey; he has the hands of a man, joined to the fpringy limbs of a beaft; he is admirably calculated for running, leaping, grappling, and climbing; and yet there are few animals which feem to have lefs beauty in the eyes of all mankind. I need fay little to the trunk of


the elephant, of fuch various usefulness, and which is fo far from contributing to his beauty. How well fitted is the wolf for running and leaping! how admirably is the lion armed for battle! but will any one therefore call the elephant, the wolf, and the lion, beautiful animals? I believe nobody will think the form of a man's leg fo well adapted to running, as thofe of an horfe, a dog, a deer, and several other creatures; at least they have not that appearance: yet, I believe, a well-fashioned human leg will be allowed far to exceed all these in beauty. If the fitness of parts was what conftituted the loveliness of their form, the actual employment of them would undoubtedly much augment it; but this, though it is fometimes fo upon another principle, is far from being always the cafe. A bird on the wing is not fo beautiful as when it is perched; nay, there are several of the domestick fowls which are feldom seen to fly, and which are nothing the lefs beautiful on that account; yet birds are fo extremely different in their form from the beaft and human kinds, that you cannot, on the principle of fitness, allow them any thing agreeable, but in confideration of their parts being defigned for quite other purposes. I never in my life chanced to see a peacock fly; and yet before, very long before I confidered any aptitude in his form for the aerial life, I was ftruck with the extreme beauty which raises that bird above



above many of the best flying fowls in the world; though, for any thing I faw, his way of living was much like that of the fwine, which fed in the farm-yard along with him. The fame may be faid of cocks, hens, and the like; they are of the flying kind in figure; in their manner of moving not very different from men and beafts. To leave thefe foreign examples; if beauty in our own fpecies was annexed to ufe, men would be much more lovely than women; and ftrength and agility would be confidered as the only beauties. But to call ftrength by the name of beauty, to have but one denomination for the qualities of a Venus and Hercules, fo totally different in almost all refpects, is furely a strange confusion of ideas, or abuse of, words. The caufe of this confufion, I imagine, proceeds from our frequently perceiving the parts of the human and other animal bodies to be at once very beautiful, and very well adapted to their purposes; and we are deceived by a fophifm, which makes us take that for a cause which is only a concomitant this is the fophifm of the fly; who imagined he raifed a great duft, because he ftood upon the chariot that really raifed it. The ftomach, the lungs, the liver, as well as other parts, are incom parably well adapted to their purposes; yet they are far from having any beauty. Again, many things are very beautiful, in which it is impoffible to difcern any idea of use. And I appeal to the

firft and moft natural feelings of mankind, whether, on beholding a beautiful eye, or a wellfashioned mouth, or a well-turned leg, any ideas of their being well fitted for feeing, eating, or running, ever present themselves. What idea of use is it that flowers excite, the most beautiful part of the vegetable world? It is true, that the infinitely wife and good Creator has, of his bounty, frequently joined beauty to thofe things which he has made useful to us: but this does not prove that an idea of ufe and beauty are the fame thing, or that they are any way dependent on each other.



WHEN I excluded proportion and fitness from any fhare in beauty, I did not by any means intend to say that they were of no value, or that they ought to be disregarded in works of art. Works of art are the proper fphere of their power; and here it is that they have their full effect. Whenever the wisdom of our Creator intended that we should be affected with any thing, he did not confine the execution of his defign to the languid and precarious operation of our reafon; but he endued it with powers and properties that prevent the understanding, and even the will, which feizing upon the fenfes and imagination, captivate Q 2


the foul before the understanding is ready either to join with them, or to oppofe them. It is by a long deduction, and much study, that we discover the adorable wisdom of God in his works: when we difcover it, the effect is very different, not only in the manner of acquiring it, but in its own nature, from that which ftrikes us without any preparation from the fublime or the beautiful. How different is the fatisfaction of an anatomift, who discovers the ufe of the muscles and of the skin, the excellent contrivance of the one for the various movements of the body, and the wonderful texture of the other, at once a general covering, and at once a general outlet as well as inlet; how different is this from the affection which poffeffes an ordinary man at the fight of a delicate fmooth fkin, and all the other parts of beauty, which require no investigation to be perceived! In the former cafe, whilft we look up to the Maker with admiration and praise, the object which causes it may be odious and diftafteful; the latter very often fo touches us by its power on the imagination, that we examine but little into the artifice of its contrivance; and we have need of a strong effort of our reason to difentangle our minds from the allurements of the object, to a confideration of that wisdom which invented fo powerful a machine. The effect of proportion and fitnefs, at leaft fo far as they proceed from a mere confidera

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