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have for our mothers, where the parental authority is almost melted down into the mother's fondness and indulgence. But we generally have a great love for our grandfathers in whom this authority is removed a degree from us, and where the weakness of age mellows it into something of a feminine partiality.

SECT. XI.

HOW FAR THE IDEA OF BEAUTY MAY BE

APPLIED TO VIRTUE.

FROM what has been said in the foregoing section, we may easily see how far the application of beauty to virtue, may be made with propriety. The general application of this quality to virtue, has a strong tendency to confound our ideas of things; and it has given rise to an infinite deal of whimsical theory; as the affixing the name of beauty to proportion, congruity, and perfection, as well as to qualities of things yet more remote from our natural ideas of it, and from one another, has tended to confound our ideas of beauty, and left us no standard or rule to judge by, that was not even more uncertain and fallacious than our own fancies. This loose and inaccurate manner of speaking, has therefore misled us both in the theory of taste and of morals; and induced us to remove the science of our duties from their

proper

proper basis, (our reason, our relations, and our necessities) to rest it upon foundations altogether visionary and unsubstantial.

SECT. XII.

THE REAL CAUSE OF BEAUTY.

HAVING endeavoured to shew what beauty is not, it remains that we should examine at least with equal attention, in what it really consists. Beauty is a thing much too affecting not to depend upon some positive qualities. And, since it is no creature of our reason, since it strikes us without any reference to use, and even where no use at all can be discerned, since the order and method of nature is generally very different from our measures and proportions, we must conclude that beauty is, for the greater part, some quality in bodies acting mechanically upon the human mind by the intervention of the senses. We ought therefore to consider attentively in what manner those sensible qualities are disposed, in such things as by experience we find beautiful, or which excite in us the passion of love, or some correspondent affection.

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SECT. XIII.

BEAUTIFUL OBJECTS SMALL.

THE most obvious point that presents itself to us in examining any object, is its extent or quantity. And what degree of extent prevails in bodies that are held beautiful, may be gathered from the usual manner of expression concerning it. I am told that, in most languages, the objects of love are spoken of under diminutive epithets. It is so in all the languages of which I have any knowledge. In Greek the and other diminutive terms are almost always the terms of affection and tenderness. These diminutives were commonly added by the Greeks, to the names of persons with whom they conversed on terms of friendship and familiarity. Though the Romans were a people of less quick and delicate feelings, yet they naturally slid into the lessening termination upon the same occasions. Antiently in the English language the diminishing ling was added to the names of persons and things that were the objects of love. Some we retain still, as darling (or little dear), and a few others. But to this day, in ordinary conversation, it is usual to add the endearing name of little to every thing we love: the French and Italians make use of these affectionate diminutives even more than we.

In the animal

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animal creation, out of our own species, it is the small we are inclined to be fond of; little birds, and some of the smaller kinds of beasts. A great beautiful thing is a manner of expression scarcely ever used; but that of a great ugly thing, is very common. There is a wide difference between admiration and love. The sublime, which is the cause of the former, always dwells on great objects, and terrible; the latter on small ones, and pleasing; we submit to what we admire, but wel love what submits to us; in one case we are forced, in the other we are flattered, into compliance. In short, the ideas of the sublime and the beautiful stand on foundations so different, that it is hard, I had almost said impossible, to think of reconciling them in the same subject, without considerably lessening the effect of the one or the other upon the passions. So that, attending to their quantity, beautiful objects are comparatively small.

SECT. XIV.

SMOOTHNESS.

THE next property constantly observable in such objects is* Smoothness: A quality so essential to beauty, that I do not now recollect any thing beautiful that is not smooth. In trees and flowers, smooth leaves are beautiful; smooth slopes of earth

* Part IV. sect. 21.

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in gardens; smooth streams in the landscape; smooth coats of birds and beasts in animal beauties; in fine women, smooth skins; and in several sorts of ornamental furniture, smooth and polished surfaces. A very considerable part of the effect of beauty is owing to this quality; indeed the most considerable. For take any beautiful object, and give it a broken and rugged surface; and however well formed it may be in other respects, it pleases no longer. Whereas, let it want ever so many of the other constituents, if it wants not this, it becomes more pleasing than almost all the others without it. This seems to me so evident, that I am a good deal surprised, that none who have handled the subject have made any mention of the quality of smoothness, in the enumeration of those that go to the forming of beauty. For indeed any ruggedness, any sudden projection, any sharp angle, is in the highest degree contrary to that idea.

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SECT. XV.

GRADUAL VARIATION.

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BUT as perfectly beautiful bodies are not composed of angular parts, so their parts never continue long in the same right line *. They vary their direction every moment, and they change

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*Part V. sect. 23.

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