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work which fully complied with all the required conditions must be possessed of merit, whether we felt it to be so or not. But it belongs to the very nature of a judgment of taste that it cannot be so constrained ; and it is plain that all the arguments in the world would be of no use to bring any man to own, that a work really possessed beauty, which left no impression of the sort on his own feelings.

When a poet, for example, or any other writer or artist possessed of true power, complies with the prevailing maxims and opinions of his age, or with the judgment of his friends, yielding up his own, it is not because he has really become persuaded of the correctness of these maxims; but because, although the public taste may be thoroughly corrupted, and he may know it, he still chooses to yield to the common delusion, in order to win the temporary approbation he covets, or for some other advantage he expects to gain by it. When his judgment really alters, as it would be likely to do in the course of its further development and cultivation, it will, if he exercise a manly independence, change freely ; not under the influence of any outward and formal rules, but by virtue of its own inherent law of progression. The degree of taste must always hold proportion to the natural vigor of its principles ; its healthy development will depend on the fairness and freedom with which it is exercised, and on the culture bestowed on the mental powers generally.

At the same time it is not denied that there are certain outward and empirical standards of taste, quite worthy of being called and considered as such. Standards of this sort are rightly held up as models. But it must be remembered, that, in their true use as models, they are not to be slavishly copied, any more than nature is to be servilely imitated. There is no original faculty of the mind, which, if left to itself, and deprived of all foreign aid, would not fall into many mistakes and take many false directions, before finding the right one. The models which every age has agreed in admiring serve to place others on the track to seek in themselves the principles by which their predecessors wrought, and so take their own independent, and, as it sometimes proves, better course. good influence of models depends partly indeed on the susceptibility, but still more on the activity, of the mind in contemplating them. No imitation can avail anything but the imitation of principles. But if it is impossible to lay down any outward rules to form the judgment, and direct the taste, with regard to works in which the imagination is the chief constructive power ; if, even in the appraisement of such works, the principles of a just and discriminating perception of excellence must be evolved, in the case of each individual, out of his own mind,

we may inquire, what then is the common ground of our judgment in matters of taste, by virtue of which we

The claim the assent of others to our own ? The answer must be, that the principle of taste by virtue of which the universal assent is claimed and expected for its verdicts is the same with the regulative principle of the faculty of judgment generally. These judgments flow directly from the common principle of judgment in all men. The subjective principle of all judgments is a faculty which presupposes two other powers, a power to seize and combine the manifold elements of sensuous intuition, namely, the imagination, and another power to present the manifold elements thus brought together, under the unity of a conception, namely, the understanding. Now, in the case of all other judgments, the imagination is not left to its own free play, but is limited and restrained by a definite conception; a formal conception of the understanding lies at the basis of the judgment as its necessary condition. But we may see, at once, that the case cannot be the same with judgments of taste. It is not only true that whatever tends to curb and restrain the free working of the imagination must tend, in the same degree, to destroy the feeling of beauty ; but it is true that the understanding generally is in itself wholly without power to apprehend and appreciate that quality in objects which we call the beautiful. When an object is contemplated simply with the purpose of understanding it, whether an object of nature or of art, the emotion of taste instantly vanishes, and is gone. Such being the case, how are we to regard the relation of these two faculties, the imagination and the understanding, in judgments of taste ? It is plain, that, since the imagination, in order to work freely, as it should do in Art, cannot be limited by any definite conception of the understanding, it must have a power of spontaneously and unconsciously conforming to the laws which reason gives the understanding in forming conceptions; and the common ground of all judgments of tastes is the sense of perfect harmony, which thus arises, between the play of the imagination in its freedom, and the necessary laws of all thought ; in other words, the sense of harmony between the way in which we present things, give them shape and form, namely, the imagination generally, and the way in which they ought to be presented, according to the laws of reason in the understanding. Thus in the perception of what is beautiful in nature, our judgment reposes on the sense of the freedom, unconfined by any outward rule, or consciousness of an inward law, with which she indulges in such an endless and sportive diversity of forms, while, at the same time, she remains true to an inward law of order and adaptation. So in contemplating a true work of art, just so far as we enter into its spirit, and feel its beauty, we find our imagination, instead of being restrained and curbed, as in the working out of a scientific problem, set wholly at

liberty, and yet never transgressing the bounds of truth and reason. This sense of harmony between two powers whose relation to each other constitutes the condition of all judgment, and perhaps of all consciousness, though purely subjective, something that must be felt by each individual, but cannot be expressed, is the common principle in all the fine arts. It is a subjective, and

, not an objective, principle of judgment, governed by an inward, and not an outward, rule. But while ! it is subjective, and that, in the sense, that it can have no other mode of existence than in the feeling of each individual who judges; still, as it is one and the same with the inward principle of the faculty of judgment generally, as it is not governed in the least by the particular sensuous affections, the particular modes of conception, the particular understanding of this or that individual, in which there is so much difference; but is one with the inner principle lying at the ground of all knowledge, and therefore may, and indeed must, be presumed to be the same in all men, we may rightly assume that the fundamental principle of the faculty of taste is the same in all men; and that, in their judgments as to the beautiful, all will agree; and that, in the emotions felt by us in contemplating this class of objects, we are entitled to claim and expect the sympathy of others.

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