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other. Therefore does beauty, which, in relation to actions, as we have seen, comes unsought, and comes because it is unsought, remain for the apprehension and pursuit of the intellect; and then again, in its turn, of the active power, Nothing divine dies. All good is eternally reproductive. The beauty of Nature reforms itself in the mind and not for barren contemplation, but for new creation.
All men are in some degree impressed by the face of the world. Some men even to delight. This love of beauty is Taste. Others have the same love in such excess that, not content with admiring, they seek to embody it in new forms. The creation of beauty is Art
The production of a work of art throws a light upon the mystery of humanity A work of art is an abstract or epitome of the world. It is the result or expression of Nature, in miniature. For although the works of Nature are innumerable and all different, the result or the expression of them all is similar and single. Nature is a sea of forms radically alike and even unique. A leaf, a sunbeam, a landscape, the ocean, make an analogous impression on the mind. What is common to them all,—that perfectness and harmony, is beauty. Therefore the standard of beauty is the entire circuit of natural forms,—the totality of nature; which the Italians expressed by defining beauty "il piu nell' uno." Nothing is quite beautiful alone: nothing but is beautiful in the whole. A single object is only so far beautiful as it suggests this universal grace. The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the architect, seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point, and each in his several work to satisfy the love of beauty which stimulates him to produce. Thus is Art, a nature passed through the alembic of man. Thus in art, does Nature work through the will of a man filled with the beauty of her first works.
The world thus exists to the soul to satisfy the desire of beauty. Extend this element to the uttermost, and I call it an ultimate end. No reason can be asked or given why the soul seeks beauty. Beauty, in its largest and profoundest sense, is one expression for the universe. God is the all-fair. Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All. But beauty in nature is not ultimate. It is the herald of inward and eternal beauty, and is not alone a solid and satisfactory good. It must therefore stand as a part, and not as yet the last or highest expression of the final cause of Nature.
A THIRD use which Nature subserves to man is that of Language. Nature is the vehicle of thought, and in a simple, double, and threefold degree.
1 Words are signs of natural facts.
2. Particular natural facts are symbols of particular facts.
3. Nature is the symbol of spirits.
1. Words are signs of natural facts. The use
of natural history is to give us aid in supernatural
history. The use of the outer creation is to give
us language for the beings and changes of the
inward creation. Every word which is used to
express a moral or intellectual fact, if traced to its
root, is found to be borrowed from some material
appearance. Right originally means straight;
wrong means twisted. Spirit primarily means
wind; transgression, the crossing of a line;
supercilious, the raising of the eye-brow. We say
the heart to express emotion, the head to denote thought; and thought and emotion are, in their turn, words borrowed from sensible things, and now appropriated to spiritual nature. Most of the process by which this transformation is made, is hidden from us in the remote time when language was framed; but the same tendency may be daily observed in children. Children and savages use only nouns or names of things, which they continually convert into verbs, and apply to analogous mental acts.
2. But this origin of all words that convey a spiritual import—so conspicuous a part in the history of language—is our least debt to Nature. It is not words only that are emblematic; it is things which are emblematic. Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind, and that state of the mind can only be described by presenting that natural appearance as its picture. An enraged man is a lion, a cunning man is a fox, a firm man is a rock, a learned man is a torch. A lamb is innocence, a snake is subtle spite. Flowers express to us the delicate affections. Light and darkness are our familiar expression for knowledge and ignorance; and heat for love. Visible distance behind and before us is respectively our image of memory and hope.
Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things? Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence. Man is conscious of a universal soul within or behind his individual life, wherein, as in a firmament, the natures of Justice, Truth, Love, Freedom, arise and shine. This universal soul he calls Reason; it is not mine, or thine, or his, but we are its; we are its property and men; and the blue sky, in which the private earth is buried—the sky, with its eternal calm, and full of everlasting orbs, is the type of Reason. That which, intellectually considered, we call reason, considered in relation to nature, we call Spirit. Spirit is the Creator Spirit hath life in itself; and man, in all ages and countries, embodies it in his language as the FATHER.
It is easily seen that there is nothing lucky or capricious in these analogies, but that they are constant, and pervade nature. These are not the dreams of a few poets, here and there, but man is an analogist, and studies relations in all objects. He is placed in the centre of beings, and a ray of relation passes from every other being to him; and neither can man be understood without these objects, nor these objects without man. All the