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and sub-conscious currents of feeling, there will be a marked difference between the arts of coexistence and of succession; that is to say, the arts which appeal to the eye and those which address themselves to the ear. Poetry and music unfold their contents in a succession of impressions, and so far the whole of the object is, little by little, brought under the control of a discriminating attention. Only in the case of the more complex chords of music is there a considerable simultaneous claim on attention. In the visual arts of painting and sculpture, on the other hand, a large number of details are presented in one and the same moment; and, though we may successively attend to particular features, there is always a large region of the vaguely discerned present to consciousness. In another respec, however, the arts of succession are less definite than those of coexistence, namely, in their general aspect as connected, harmonious wholes. When we appreciate the harmonies of form and sentiment which dominate in a picture, we have all the terms of the relations present to us. The eye can rapidly pass and repass from one point to another, and so by frequent repetition make the perception of the whole distinct and clear. On the other hand, when we gather up the series of impressions left by a beautiful poem or musical composition, we have to trust to recollection for the details. The various elements which are to be combined as parts of a harmonious whole,exist now only as half-blurred mental images, and hence our perceptions of form in these arts are never so clear and exact as in the arts of coexistence. Let us now turn to the second ground of vagueness in the impressions of art, namely, the impossibility of reaching well-defined elements, whether sensations or ideas, by successive: concentrations of attention. So far as the separation of the sensuous material in art-pleasure is concerned, there seems to be some little difference between the arts which employ visual and auditory impressions. We break up melodies into separate tones, yet these still seem to contain some further secret. On the other hand, colors do for the most part appear to consciousness as perfectly simple sensations. A greater difference presents itself in relation to the depth of associated feelings. Colors do not for the most part stir the mysterious emotional currents which are set in motion by tones. A color presents itself to our minds more as a well-defined object of perception, as a quality of external things to be discriminated and inter
preted by the intellect. A tone, on the other hand, has far less of the intellectual and more of the emotional. We do not understand it, we rather feel it. The reason of this difference cannot fully be given here. It may be enough to say that musical tones are not, like colors, common accompaniments of the objects of the external world; that they have their nearest prototype in the natural sounds of the human voice, and that this circumstance serves to invest them with an emotional significance which is wanting to colors. It may be added that many verbal sounds and cadences employed in poetry share to some extent in these deep and undefinable emotional associations. Finally, with respect to the scope for obscure and incomplete ideal representa: tion, it would appear, also, that the arts of the ear surpass those of the eye. Visual forms and colors, if presented in the abstract — that is, not as directly imitative of objects, as in decorative painting — do no doubt call up now and again vague ideas. Thus the moral ideas symbolized by the straight line or the circle, or by white, are examples of such vague suggestions. For the most part, however, particular arrangements of form and color answer, roughly at least, to too many unlike objects of nature to suggest any particular ideas, however faintly. Thus the forms of architecture, excepting, perhaps, some details, as the Corinthian capital, do not suggest ideas to our minds, and hence the special definiteness of the impressions of this art. It is only when they are made more complex and special that they awaken ideas of objects, and in this case they become imitative, and so call up definite ideas. In contrast to these, musical tones and their combination do commonly tend to call up vague representations of objects or events. We feel, when under the spell of one of Chopin's nocturnes, an irrepressible impulse to interpret the melody with its supporting harmonies, to make them representative of ideas. Yet the ideas thus sought after do not rise into luminous distinctness. We only very dimly perceive the meaning of the wandering melody; and it is this dim sense of an ideal background in music which helps to lend it its peculiar mystery. It may be added that poetry, though using a medium of definite signs, may, by help of certain sounds and cadences, share, in a humble measure, in this power of music to body forth in dim outline large and impressive ideal shapes. It follows from what has just been said that music will surpass all other arts in o to the imagination a blank region to be filled up by its free constructions. The whole of music, when not defined by a union with language, may be said to answer to the occasional pauses and blanks of painting and poetry. As directly imitative arts, these have for the most part to control the imagination, and can only in an exceptional way leave it free space for spontaneous action. Music, on the other hand, seems to have as its common function just to touch the imagination with gentlest pressure on one side, leaving it unfettered as to the precise direction to be followed. Yet we have seen that a part of the grati. fication of a freely-moving fancy depends on the representation of the vast, the unbounded, and the sublime, whether in space, time, or in force or degree. Here then, it would seem, the imitative arts must have an advantage. Painting nearly always affords us the sublime in space: sculpture (though inferior in this respect to architecture) may faintly image to our eye the vast and immeasurable in force. Poetry surpasses these, and, by means of its all-comprehensive system of verbal signs, presents to us in suggested forms als varieties of imposing magnitude. In contradistinction to these arts of imitation, music can only body forth the immense by becoming itself a vast magnitude. The protracted series of complex movements of many sounds which makes up a modern symphony may thus be said to give us the sublime in space, time, and energy. Yet it may be doubted how far this effect is proper to music in the same sense in which it is proper to architecture, whose materials are necessarily large and impressive magnitudes. The result of this rapid examination of the effects of art in its various forms is, that it involves as an essential factor a certain amount of vague and undefinable emotion. Hence art will always have its mysterious side, and a full appreciation of art in all its parts will include a susceptibility of mind to this particular emotional effect. Accordingly a mind which cannot enjoy without perfectly comprehending the whence and the why of its delight, must, it would seem, be debarred from a portion of the pleasures of art. We have so far said nothing as to the relative merits of the pleasure which is made definite by intellectual reflection, and that which defies such a process of illumination. In truth, it is difficult to compare the two modes of enjoyment. While such intellectual activity tends to destroy a
certain charm which belongs to these undefined emotional effects, it adds a new gratification of its own. The question of the superiority of the one or of the other form of enjoyment may, as we have already remarked, best be referred to individual taste. Some minds of a highly intellectual order, and unequally developed in an emotional direction, §. those effects of art which lend themselves to clear definition; other minds, of an opposite order, will rather choose the opposite type of aesthetic effect. This difference wiń. the person's relative appreciations of the several arts. Thus, the first type of mind will prefer music united to language to “absolute" music. Many persons, like Lessing, fail to enjoy instrumental music just because of its indefiniteness. Others, like Schumann, would regard all minute inquiries into the what and why of instrumental music as irrelevant. They prefer to keep its meaning screened, so to speak, from the rude light of day. It is another question as to the proper range of this influence, both in art as a whole and in the several arts. It is plain, from what has been said, that this depends, to some extent, on the artist himself. Thus, for example, a musical composer may seek to render instrumental music minutely descriptive. On the other hand, a painter may lean to an obscure mode of presenting his subject. So, too, the poet may fall into the way of suggesting his scenes and events in shadowy outline, and of dwelling on those aspects of nature and of life which most deeply stir vague and undefinable emotions. Is it possible to lay down any rules as to the right management of this material of art? No rigid maxims, we think, can be looked for here. A wide margin must clearly be allowed for differences of individual taste. All that can be safely said is, that the intellectual and the emotional have each their rights. On the one hand, culture tends, as has been remarked already, so to strengthen the intellectual impulses that a mode of enjoyment from which clear apprehension of objects and ideas is wholly excluded, is unsatisfying and incomplete. On the other hand, art is not science: it aims primarily at an emotional, not an intellectual, result. Some of the deepest feelings of pleasure are, as we have shown, afforded by objects and suggestions which leave the intellect comparatively inactive. Further, as we have seen, these modes of pleasure are not only compatible with intellectual culture; they even presuppose (at least in their highest degree) a certain measure of it. To this we may now add, that our modern culture adds to the value of this undefined emotional enjoyment. Accustomed as we are to the scientific attitude of mind, to regarding nature and life only as an object for intellectual comprehension, there is an exquisite sense of relief in abandoning ourselves for the nonce to the emotional attitude — to viewing nature and life through the dim medium of a fancy which gives to each object the form and color most precious to our feeling. We may thus safely conclude that each mode of gratification has its rightful place in art. More definite rules for artistic guidance may perhaps be found if we have to deal with special varieties of art. By consid. ering the materials at the command of a particular art, and its varied possibilities, we may roughly ascertain the extent to which this factor is admissible. Thus, for example, it may be safely said that vague suggestion cannot be introduced into pictorial art to the same extent as into music. The eye desires clear and well-defined objects: it is the organ of perception par excellence, and it could never be long satisfied with misty “nocturnes' or with a dreamy, symbolic type of art. Music, on the other hand, by making use of inarticulate sounds — that is to say, a necessarily vague mode of expression — is under no such obligation to meet the intellectual needs. Finally, poetry may be said to offer ample scope for each mode of pleasure. Its medium, verbal signs, allows of the most definite modes of presentation. On the other hand, it is capable of the widest and most various suggestion of the vague and incomplete sort. Hence we ask of the poet an equal satisfaction of intellect and of emotion, clear perception of fact and dreamy imagination of the unknown and the ideal. We are here reasoning that the special aim of an art must be inferred from its special capabilities. Thus, having found how far these vague modes of delight are capable of being produced by the several arts, we can roughly determine their proper functions in relation to this particular kind of emotional effect. There is one relation of our subject about which a word or two may appropriately be said in conclusion. As we have had occasion to remark in passing, what is new in impressions and their groupings affects us with wonder and a sense of the mysterious; on the other hand, what is customary and familiar appears intelligible on this very ground. Thus, in musical art, certain sequences of harmony, and certain
modulations of key, overawe us, so to speak, by their very strangeness; whereas more familiar arrangements seem comparatively clear and comprehensible. In the first case, we have the peculiar delight of the vague and mysterious; in the other, the quieter gratification of intellectual comprehension. If, as we have argued, each mode of delight is a proper effect of art, we must ask how they may be combined. Every work of genius supplies the solution of this problem. It meets our intellectual needs by keeping within those general rules of form which in art answer to the uniformities of nature. On the other hand, in its originality it provides ample novelty of detail, and so unfolds to eye or ear the hidden and mysterious powers of art. If all artists were men of creative genius, there would be no question of the relative worth of fixed form and of novelty of combination. But unfortunately this is not so. Hence we find, on the one hand, those who are content to keep to rules of art without endeavoring to reach a new embodiment of beauty; on the other hand, those who recklessly strain themselves to invent some new wonder, no matter how formless. The first yield but the cool satisfaction of intellectual perception; the second impress and stir our minds for an instant to a sense of the strange and wonderful, but only to leave them permanently unsatisfied. It is an interesting question, whether the development of art tends to narrow and even to annihilate the region of new creation. J. S. Mill tells us he was much troubled by the thought that musical combinations would some day be exhausted; and German pessimists affirm that original creation in art, as in science, is becoming rarer and rarer. On the other side, there are many who assert that, in the works of one living dramatic poet and musician, we have an absolutely new revelation of art. It certainly would be a sad reflection that at some future day the world would no longer be thrilled by the delicious wonder of a new development in art. Yet, even if this is to be so, the consequences may not be so dreary as one might at first suppose. By the time this apex of development is reached, the storehouse of art-works will, it may be presumed, have become full, and thus there will then be ample novel material for each successive generation of the lovers of art. Even now there is a wide field for elevating wonder in the works of art which we have been able to preserve from the past. It does not seem to be the most devoted friends of art who are wont to complain of its narrow limits.
C O N T E N T S. I. PETRARCH, . - - - - - . Quarterly Review, e - . 771 II. BIANCA. By W. E. Norris, . . . . Belgravia, . . . . . 787
III. A RED-C Ross RIDE THROUGH SNow AND
IV. THE Cottage by THE RIVER, . . . Blackwood's Magazine, . . 8o3 V. The Sorrows of Lord PENZANCE, . . Saturday Review, - - . 819 VI. CLERICAL SELF-ConCEIT, . - - . Spectator, . - - - . 821
VII. A RAJPUT CHIEF of THE OLD School.
- - - . Fortnightly Review, . . . 823 *** Title and Index to Volume CXXXIX.
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sea Through the dark woods that border Norman's Woe, Rippling with joy or stealing silently, There cardinal-flowers in stately clusters grow. They seem in their calm beauty to uprear Their haughty heads, and blush with conscious pride, As if the mosses, ferns and all things near Were but as slaves and vassals at their side. The cool, green depths where nature seems asleep, Their passionate color fills with warmth and grace, Till thoughts of regal pomp and splendor come ; And gazing on their hue so rich and deep I seem to see, as in a vision, pass Some gorgeous pageant through the streets
of Rome. Magnolia, Aug. 1878. M. B. A.