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their designs. We may call a lustre of colouring, the rant and fustian of painting, under which are hid the want of strength and nature. None but a painter of real genius can be severe and modest in bis colouring, and please at the same time. It must be observed, that the glow and variety of colours give a pleasure of a very different kind from the object of painting. When foreign ornaments, gilding, and carving, come to be considered as necessary to the beauty of pictures, they are a plain diagnostic of a decay in taste and power,
A FREE and easy proportion, united with simplicity, seem to constitute the elegance of form in building. A subordination of parts to one evident design forms simplicity; when the members thus evidently related are great, the union is always very great. In the proportions of a noble edifice, you see the image of a creating mind result from the whole. The evident uniformity of the rotunda, and its unparalleled simplicity are probably the sources of its superior beauty. When we look up at a vaulted roof, that seems to rest upon our horizon, we are astonished at the magnificence, more than at the visible extent.
When I am taking a review of the objects of beauty and grandeur, can I pass by unnoticed the source of colours and visible beauty? When the light is withdrawn all nature retires from view, visible bodies are annihilated, and the soul mourns the universal absence in solitude; when it returns, it brings along with it the creation, aud restores joy as well as beauty.
TO A POETICAL FRIEND, ADVISING HIM TO STUDY
THE MATHEMATICS. At length, my friend, I begin to awake out of those dreams and visions which the reading of verses and poems has so long plunged me in. My middle years put all those delusions to a stand. I lave now some moderate esteem for other thoughts besides images and descriptions: I am not in my former ecstasies at every metaphor, and can almost bear the rapture of a fine turn. Poetry, believe me, leads the reader, as well as the knight, into an enchanted world. The objects are all there dressed in false colours, and nothing appears in its due proportion. But if it deceives us in all things abroad, what disorders and confusion does it raise at home? By feeding the mind with delicacies, it makes it mad after pleasure, and lets all the passions loose upon us. Our joys it blows up too high, and makes our griefs sit heavier; and what is yet worse, it kindles in us that foolish passion love, the ruin of our ease, and dotage even in youth.
Whereas mathematics improves all our faculties, makes the judgment stronger, and the memory take in more. The dull it teaches to perceive, and the giddy to attend. It distinguishes between true and false, and inures us to difficulties. It gives besides a thousand advantages in life. By this tbe miser counts his bags, and the countryman knows his times and seasons. This gives our cannon aim in war, and in peace furnishes every workman with his tools. How many noble engines has it invented! In one the wind labours for us, and another turns bogs and pools into firm land. This builds us houses, defends our towns, and makes the sea useful. Nor are its effects less wonderful than advantageous. The mathematician can do more things than any poet ever yet conceived. He in a map can contract Asia to a span, and in a glass show a city from a single house, and an army from a man. He can set the heavens a thousand years forward, and call all the stars by their names. There is scarcely any thing without his reach. He can guage the channel of the sea, and weigh Saturn. He sees furthest into the art and skill of the Creator, and can write the best comment on the six days' work.
Be advised, therefore, to employ yourself rather in the improving of your understanding, than inflaming your passions, and to prefer realities before appearances. In my mind, to make a dial is harder than to find a motto to it, and a prospect drawn in lines pleasanter than one in words. Instead of descriptions of cool groves and flowery gardens. you may inform yourself of the situation and extent of empires; and while others are wandering in Elysian fields and fancied shades below, you may raise your thoughts to the infinity of space above, and visit all the worlds that shine upon us here; think most of Mercury when he is furthest off the Sun, and mind little in Venus but her periodic motion.
To let you see I have got the start of you, I now follow the old rule of Nulla dies sine linea, and am so far advanced in geometry, that I defy any man to make a rounder circle, or cut a line in two more nicely than myself. I am well versed in squares, am no stranger to the doctrine of proportion, and have transposed A, B, C, D, in all the mathematical anagrams they are capable of. My chamber I have surveyed five times over, and have at length found out a convenient place for a south dial. I am at present about a bargain of pins, which you shall soon see disposed into bastions and counterscarps. I felt at first, I must confess, a great confusion in my head between rhymes and angles, fiction and demonstration: but at length Virgil has resigned to Euclid, and poetical feet and numbers to their namesakes in geometry and arithmetic. In short, I write altogether upon slate, where I make parallels instead of couplets, and describe nothing but a circle.
Let me for the future therefore catch no poet in your hands, unless it be Aratus or Dionysius, and follow my counsel, unless you can make one of these studies subservient to the other, your poetry wise and learned, and your mathematics pleasant and ingenious.
OUR NATURAL FONDNESS FOR HISTORY, AND ITS
TRUE USE. The love of history seems inseparable from ljuman nature, because it seems inseparable from self-love. The same principle in this instance VOL. II.
carries us forward and backward, to future and to past ages. We imagine that the things which affect us, must affect posterity. This sentiment runs through mankind, from Cæsar down to the parish-clerk in Pope's Miscellany. We are fond of preserving, as far as it is in our frail power, the memory of our own adventures, of those of our own time, and of those that preceded it. Rude heaps of stones have been raised, and ruder hymns have been composed, for this purpose, by nations who had not yet the use of arts and letters. To go no further back, the triumphs of Odin were celebrated in Runic songs, and the feats of our British ancestors were recorded in those of their bards. The savages of America have the same custom at this day: and long historical ballads of their bunting and wars are sung at all their festivals. There is no need of saying how this passion grows among all civilized nations, in proportion to the means of gratifying it: but let us observe, that the same principle of nature directs us as strongly, and more generally as well as more early, to indulge our own curiosity, instead of preparing to gratify that of others. The child hearkens with delight to the tales of his nurse; he learns to read, and he devours with eagerness fabulous le. gends and novels. In riper years be applies to history, or to that which he takes for history, to authorized romance: and even in age, the desire of knowing what has happened to other men, yields to the desire alone of relating what has happened to ourselves. Thus history, true or false, speaks to our passions always. What pity is it, that even the best should speak to our under