« PreviousContinue »
that was in Love in fuch a Diftridr, would be in Love with the fame Woman. Only confider of what fatal Confequence that muft be, in any City or Town that you are beft acquainted with. The acknowledged Fair one, in the fame Manner, could choofe out but one happy Man for her Favourite, in all her Town of Lovers; and all the reft muft be left in a State of Defpair. This (as bad as it would be) is only the beft Side of the Cafe, and fuppofing every thing to be carried on with a Patience and Tranquillity, which would then be almoft impoffible; for, in Truth, if the Affections of all centred on the fame Object, nothing but perpetual Quarrels and Mifchiefs would be to be apprehended. Thefuperior Beauty of each Hamlet would be the Object of the Hate and Malice of all the reft of her own Sex in it; and the Caufe of Diffenficn and Murders among all of the other. If this would hold in one Town, it would hold, for the fame Reafons, in every other Town or DiftiiiSt; and of Courfe, there would be nothing more wanting than this univerfal right Judgment of Beauty, to render the whole World one continued Scene of Blood and" Mifery.
But now that Fancy has, perhaps, more to do with Beauty than Judgment, there is an Infinity of Taftes, and confequently an Infinity of Beauty ; for, to the Mind of the Lover, fuppofed Beauty is full as good as real. Every body may now choofe out what happens to hit his own Turn and Caft. The honeft Ruftic can think himfelf happy in h"is Woman of a good ftrong Make, and Sun-burnt frowfy Com4 plexion; plexion; the fine Gentleman may be bleft in his Coquette; the common Soldier can delight himfelf with his Gin-drinking Trull; and the Captain with his military Miftrefs.
This increafes the Extent of Beauty vaftly, and makes it in a Manner univerfal; for there are but • few People, in comparifon, that are truly beautiful; but every body may be beautiful in the Imagination of fome one or other. As I have faid before, fome may delight themfelves in a black Skin, and others in a white; fome in a gentle natural Rofinefs of Complexion, others in a high, exalted, artificial Red; fome Nations, in Waifts difproportionably large; and another, in Waifts as difproportionably fmall. In fhort, the moft oppofite Things imaginable may each be looked upon as beautiful, in whole different Countries; or by different People, in the fame Country.
I fhould be apt to make a Diftin&ion here again, as to the Two former Parts of Beauty, and the Two latter. Fancy has much more to do in the Articles of Form and Co!(r, than in thofe of the Paffions and Grace. The good Paffions, as they are vifible on the Face, are apparent Goodnefs, and that muft be generally amiable; and true Grace, whereeverit appears to any Degree, I fhould think, muft be pleafing to every human Creature; or, perhaps, this may never appear in the Women of any Nation, where the Men are grown fo favage and brutal, as to have loft all Tafte for it.
E 3 Ye'
Yet, even as to Grace itfelf, under the Notion of Pleafmgnefs (as I was juft now calling it,) it may become almoft univerfal; and be as fubject to the Dominion of Fancy, as any of the lefs fignificant Parts of Beauty. A Parent can fee Genteel nefs, in the moft aukward Child, perhaps, that ever was born; and a Perfon who is truly in Love, will be pleafed with every Motion and Air of the Perfon beloved; which is the moft diftinguifhing Character that belongs to Grace. 'Tis true, this is all a miftaken Grace; but, as to that particular Perfon, it has all the Effects of the true.
Since I have fpoken of this Extent and Univerfality of fuppofed Beauty, it would be very ungrateful not to fay fomething of the real Beauty of the other Works of Nature; which feem to reach everywhere, as far as we are acquainted with them; and to meet us, which-ever Way we turn our Eyes.
If we look upon the Earth, we fee it laid out in a Thoufand beautiful Inequalities, and a pleafing Variety of Plains, Hills, and Mountains; generally cloathed by Nature in a*iving Green, the Color that js the moft delightful and the moft refrefhing to the Eye; diverfified with an Infinity of different Lights and Shades: adorned with various Sorts of Trees, Fruits, and Flowers; interfperfed often with windino- Rivers, or limpid Streams, or fpreading Lakes; pr terminating, perhaps, on a View of the Sea,
which which is for ever changing its Form, and in every Form is pleafing.
If we look up to the Heavens, how charming arc the Rifing of the Sun, the gentle Azure of the noble Arch expanded over our Heads, the various Appearance and Colors of the Clouds, the fleeting Shower, and the painted Bow! Even in the Abfence of its great Enlivener, the Sun, we fee it all ftudded with living Lights, or gilded by the more folemn Beauties of the Moon; moft pleafing in her infant Shape, and moft majeftic, when in her full Orb. I know not [how it may be with others, but to me the very Lightnings are pleafing, when ftruggling amidft the fhaded Clouds j and thofe .Fires that dart and waver upwards, fometimes in various Colors, and fometimes with Streams of gentle Light, not unlike the Break of Day, on the firft Appearance of the Morning, from whence they have their Name.
If we turn toward the different Sorts of Animals, it is obfervable enough among them, that the Beauty which is defigned chiefly to pleafe one another in their own Species, is fo contrived as to diffufe Pleafure to thofe of other Species, or at leaft to Man. How beautiful, even to us, are the Colors that adorn the Necks of the Pigeon and Pheafant; the Train of the Mackaw and Peacock; and the whole Drefs of feveral Sorts of Birds, more particularly in the Eaftern Parts of the World? How neat and pleafing is the Make of the Deer, the Greyhound, and feveral Sorts of Horfes? How beautiful is the Expreffion of
E 4 the the Pafllons, in a faithful Dog? And they are not even without fome Degrees of Grace; as may be feen, in particular, in the natural Motions of a Chinefe Pheafant; or the acquired ones, of a managed Horfe. And \ the rather take Part of the Beauty of all thefe Creatures to be meant, by the Bounty of Nature, for us, becaufe moft of the different Sorts of Sea-Fifh (which live chiefly out of our Sight) are of Colors and Forms more hideous, or (at beft) left agreeable to us.
And as the Beauty of one Species of Animals may be fo defigned and adapted, as to give Pleafure to many others; fo the Beauty of different Worlds may riot be confined to each, but be carried on from one World to another, and from one Syftem of Worlds to another; and may end in one great univerfal Beauty, of all created Matter taken in one View. How far this may hold, we are, as yet, incapable even of forming any Guefs; but fome late Difcoveries have fhewn, that there is a furprifing Symmetry and Proportion in the Sizes and Difpofition of the feveral Worlds in our own Syftem; from whence one would' be apt to imagine, that the fame Beauty of Proportion is kept up between the Worlds of other Syftems; and poffibly, even between one Syftem and another: At leaft, all that we know of thefe Worlds, are exactly proportioned; and all that we fee olf them, is beautiful. Thus all fuch of them as come within our View, make what we call a fine ftarry Heaven; and as they compofe that beautiful QbjeA to us, fp docs cur Syflem make a Part in fe