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liar with the subject, must be sensible that English literature is enriched with its full share of the most exquisite productions, both in poetry and prose; so it would seem to follow, that if these be devotedly studied, their beauties will be properly ascertained, and duly appreciated.
Besides, it must not be forgotten, that the pursuits of elegant literature form the most important part of the course of instruction at the present time pursued in every well regulated femaleschool, both in this country and in Great Britain; and as cases very rarely occur, in which young ladies are to be found with sufficient acquaintance with the ancient classics to study works filled with illustrations taken from them, that their studies may not be constantly interrupted, every beauty should be presented in such a form that they may immediately perceive it.
It is by no means pretended, however, that the force and spirit of the original poetry, is uniformly retained in the translations. This, when the dissimilarity that exists between the two languages is borne in mind, will at once be perceived to be impossible; but as the greater part of the translations here introduced, are from translators of acknowledged celebrity, the editor feels confident that, though accuracy principally was aimed at in pre. paring them, yet they will be found sufficiently elegant not to mar, at least, the interest of the work.
With regard to the body of the work, the editor has been at great pains to preserve it in as pure a state, and as nearly as it originally came from the pen of the celebrated author, as possible. To effect this purpose, the present edition is printed, with the utmost accuracy, from a copy of an edition published in Edinburgh before the author's death, and which received his last revision.
Having thus briefly stated the character of the work, and the
improvements that are proposed to have been added to it, the editor leaves the public to decide how far his labors may be considered commendable; and should the objects mentioned in the commencement of these remarks, be found to have been attained, he will feel himself abundantly compensated.
New York, April, 1833.
Nothing external perceived till it makes an impression on the organs of sense
A wide difference with respect to our knowledge of this impression-Sensible of the impression in touch, taste, and smell— In seeing and hearing not sensible of it-The pleasures of the eye and the ear occupy a middle rank-Other valuable properties of the pleasures of the eye and the ear besides those of elevation and dignity-Organic pleasures defective in three particulars-Intellectual pleasures fatigue, but are relieved by the pleasures of the eye and the ear
Taste in the fine arts nearly allied to moral sense — The design of the author The requisites to form a critic— The effect of a thorough acquaintance with the fine arts-It affords an enticing sort of logic— It furnishes pleasing topics for conversation-It moderates the selfish affections, and invigorates the social It contributes towards the support of morality-Authority, formerly prevailed over reason; latterly reason has prevailed over authority, except in criticism-The productions of Homer and Virgil the foundation of Bossu's rules of criticism-Nature the only proper foundation—To censure works, not men, the proper object of criticism-Time the only true standard of taste.
That nothing external is perceived till it first makes an impression upon
of sense, is an observation that holds equally true in every one of the external senses. But there is a difference as to our knowledge of that impression. In touching, tasting, and smelling, we are sensible of the impression : that, for example, which is made upon the hand by a stone, upon the palate by an apricot, and upon the nostrils by a rose. It is otherwise in seeing and hearing; for I am not sensible of the impression made upon my eye, when I behold a tree; nor of the impression made upon my ear, when I listen to a song That difference in the manner of perceiving external objects, distinguishes, remarkably, hearing and seeing from the other senses ; and I am ready to show, that it distinguishes, still more remarkably, the feelings of the former from those of the latter. Every feeling, pleasant or painful, must be in the mind; and yet, because in tasting, touching, and smelling, we are sensible of the impression made upon the organ, we are led to place there also the pleasant or painful feeling caused by that impression.f But, with respect to seeing and
* See the Appendix, & 13. † After the utmost efforts, we find it beyond our power to conceive the flavor of a rose to exist in the mind; we are necessarily led to conceive that pleasure as existing in the nostrils along with the impression made by the rose upon that organ. And the same will be the result of experiments with respect to every feeling of taste, touch, and smell. Touch affords the most satisfactory experi
Were it not that the delusion is detected by philosophy, no person would hesitate to pronounce, that the pleasure arising from touching a smooth, soft, and velvet surface, has its existence at the ends of the fingers, without once dreaming of its existing any where else.