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duced in poetry as a source of public entertainment. We cannot therefore agree with Mr. Robertson in excluding nature and imitation from thele two characters.

" We have so

here,” says he, “ fancy surely; and not nature, and when'

we have fancy, we have a new heaven and a new earth. “ Is it imitation still, we may ask; and of what? Of nature " it cannot be ; for, upon the lifting up of fancy's rod, she is vanished.” The banishment of nature from the regions of imagination, is certainly a fingular fancy. Were this the place, they might be proved to be much better friends than our author is willing to allow.

In order to provè, we suppose; that poetry and painting are not imitative arts, he produces the following extraordia nary argument :

“ But nature is, in many cases, altogether excluded. Not only is a veil thrown over what is fordid or horrid, but the Fine Art bao nishes wholly: what is unclean and mocking in nature.

A fore; a naltiness, an indecency, a death, an execution, a murder, are debarred; fome by one art, fomne by another. The painter can put the latter half of these only upon his canvas.'

Because a painter of delicacy and found morals, will not. contaminate his canvas with objects filthy or obscene; does it follow that the art is less imitative ? Does it not rather follow, that he checks his pencil, from a consciousness of his power of imitátion? But our author perhaps meant only to say, that propriety, decency, and good sense, forbid the representation of certain objects : in this we certainly agree with him, but must add; that, if such be his meaning, he has said nothing to the purpofe:

We pursue this argument no further : and indeed, our author's defcription of the fine Artist in the act of creation; would intiinidate us; did we think the pursuit neceffary.

" Seems it to be his meaning, to resign and surrender himself to any thing whatever? Stoops he to copy? Imitate, is to him the maxim of carth; inveñt, the late of heaven. When; with iinmortal fire; he begins the painting or the poein, what is püfling in his mind? Thinks he of imitation, in the enraptured inoments ? Pronounce to him the word, imitates--it would treeze his blood ; bt, in high disdain, he would dash his pencil in the air.”+

To talk of imitation to a person in such altitudes, might hot be altogether fase; and it might perhaps be equally dangerous, in inomerits like the present, to controvert the positions of Mr. Robertson, tor he feeins “ to be himself the great sublime he draws."



Is Mr. Robertson himself here entirely guildless of imitation? In this, and in some other passages, we can discover, that he has read Shaftesbury with some attention.

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But, though we maintain that poetry, painting, and sculpture are imitative arts in the sense above established, we are not disposed to speak in the same way of music and architecture. The first is but feebly and generally imitá tive, if at all fo ; and in architecture, notwithstanding the fanciful resemblances which ingenious men have pretended to discern, we are at a loss to discover any degree of imitation, except in the smaller and ornamental parts, which come under the article of sculpture, and are confeffedly copies from nature. Of gardening and dance, confidered as fine arts, we must give the fame opinion as of poetry, &c. --In the old stile of gardening, the mimic powers were indeed 'misemployed; men and animals were pourtrayed in box, and all the orders of architecture inight be seen in yew; but ftill imitation was the principle of the art. Of modern gardening, we can only say, that, to approach perfection, a strict adherence to the great lines of beautiful nature, is deemed indispenfible. With regard to dance, whether of the chearful or serious kind, we must consider imitation as its principle, till we shall be convinced of the contrary, by what our author may fay, when he treats tlie subject at large in some future volume.

Before we quit this subject, we cannot help taking notice of a reason assigned by our author, why some of the fine arts adhere more closely to nature than others; because, after a variety of trials, we have been obliged to give up the passage in which it appears, as inexplicable : perhaps some of our readers may be more happy. After having spoken of mufic, architecture, and gardening, he says,

“ The other arts tie themselves more closely to nature; because nature herself, in their case, is more beautiful. Such is sculpture, retaining nature almost entire. Oratory stands with half her weight always upon real life. The poet and painter have less dependence upon it. The Iliad and the Orlando Furioso, the Difcent from tbe Crors, and the Transfiguration, are examples.

Do not the sculptor and the painter imitate the same nature How then can she be more beautiful to the one than

the other? Perhaps he means that a close adherence to na:ture has, in some of the fine arts, a better effect than in

others; and this is true. But, should this be his meaning,

the contrafted exainples of sculpture and painting, are : unhappily introduced the latter adheres as clofely to na

ture as the former, and their deviations are the same; both : are capable of ideal beauty, it is equally in poffeffion of both;

the Belvedere Apollo, and the group of Lycaoon and his sons, may be compared, in this respect, with great advantage to the Descent from the Cross, and the Transfiguration. In this sense of his words, the comparison between ora5


tory and the higher species of poetry is inore apposite. The orator who should mount the epic Pegasus, would appear ridiculous; and had Homer and Ariosto written like Rhetors, they would have funk into inerited oblivion.

After having employed thirteen pages in denying imita, tion to be the fundamental principle of the fine arts, the fit of enthusiasm abandons Mr. Robertson, he steps from his tripod, and condescends to speak fomething like the common lauguage of the world.

“ It is far from being asserted, after all, that nature has no part in the fine arts. The superstructure, indeed, which these arts raise, is their own; but nature is the best basis upon which they have ever

?? How this fentiment is to be reconciled to some previous assertions, that "there is something in the fine arts quite independent of nature,” and “ that nature in many cafes is * altogether excluded,we are at a loss clearly to determine. At present all is vague, no firm, decisive line is drawn; we feel the same disappointment as when looking at the sketch of an indifferent painter, where the numerous discordant attempts at delineation, shew the unikilful hand, and leave the real contour of the figure undetermined. If we underftand our author, he seems to be combating the opinion of servile imitation, an opinion which no one acquainted with the fine arts does maintain. When he comes as he has promised to treat this question more at large, we may have something more satisfactory.

The preliminary question being discussed in the way we have mentioned, Mr. Robertson proceeds to lay down " the plan that is proposed to be followed in this general $ inquiry.”

Nature," says he, “ fo.obviously distinguishes the body from the mind, as to lead us to divide the fine arts into those which make an impression chiefly upon the body, and into those which make an impression chiefly upon the mind." I say chiefly, because every impression of that kind is made upon both body and mind together; at the same time, it is in the one case more upon the body, and in the other more upon the mind. One part, therefore, may treat of the arts which refer to the ear; another of those which refer to the

eye ; and these two include the principal arts that refer to the body. A third may comprehend the fine arts that refer chiefly to the mind.

“ That part which refers to the ear, will be employed upon mufic and upon speech. At first fight, speech may not appear a fine art; but in this inquiry, I view it strictly in that light, and in that lighe only. It is of the same general nature as music, and cannot be treated of but in the same manner: the doctrines of tune and of time in mufic, corresponding exactly with those of accent and of rythmus in speech.

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“ The theory of speech, as a fine art, treats of words as sounds forms and arranges thein in various ways, to make various impref fions upon the hearers ; and gives the principles of prose and verse. It is the most general in its nature ; and hence will he found to be the moit extenfive in its influence, of all the tine arts.

66 The part which refers to the eye, has to treat of light and coo lours, of figure and of proportion. There may here be many theojies; but chiefly those of Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Gardening, Dance.

“ An appendix to these two parts, may inquire into the arts that regard the other fen:es; and there, very minute, but often deep, subjects, come into confideration. The more they are examined, however, the les trivial they will poilibly appear. There may happen to be discovered a greater number of senles, and of external objects acting upon them, than we are aware of : and the sensations excited, having more fluence than we conceived over the frame of man; conttituting animation, inclination, and even elegant pleasure and desire,

“ In the part which refers to the mind, lie the noble doctrines of Eloquence and of Poetry. The effect which ideas, images, and sentiments have upon the soul, forms here the subject; other things effentially different, belonging to the theory of speech. All here is fpiritual, and in the highest region of the fine arts."

We have no obje&ion to this plan of arrangement; it is obvious and natural; but the weight and variety of the matter, make us tremble for the undertaker. We are ready to exclaim, with the author, “ But who is able to put it in “ execution ? The bow refufes to be bent, but by the arms * of the strong; it belongs only to Atlas to carry the globe.” The task however, is undertaken this northern Hercules Itands in the place of Atlas, and is determined to try quid vaieant humeri, What we should conceive only possible to be executed' by the united taste, genius, and learning of many great men, is now attempted by Mr. Robertson.There is something in courage which is truly noble, and even rashness does not want its admirers.

As to the manner in which this plan is to be executed, our author does not propose to follow the dry, technical, abftrufe method of fome, nor the less scientific method of others, who, instead of a treatise on the fine arts, give only criticisins on particular poems, pictures, buildings, &c. He, on the contrary, means to “ investigate a theory, distinguish a

taste, give a history, and mark an influence upon man“ kind."

Having given our readers a distinct account of the nature of the performance, as held forth in the introductory dif,


course, we proceed to the more particular business of this volume, the history and theory of music, ancient and modern. The author first investigates“ the theory of modern có music.” Here, after having treated, in the comnion way, of found in general, he comes to musical found; examines the nature of time and tune, and under this latter head ex. plains the laws of temperament. He next proceeds to compojition, or modulation. In this part of the work, the reader will have a clear idea of the subject, but we can discover nothing new that has been advanced. Even after all that Mr. Robertion has written, what he has faid of others may be applied to bimself, “ We have had Homers in mufic, but no « Aristotle.” When speaking of composition, the compa. rative excellence of melody and harmony naturally comes to be discussed. Our author has advanced two very good reasons for giving a preference to the former ; first, that " it is almost impossible to produce perfeét harmony," which prevents its having that effect even upon learned ears, that it would have in a state of perfection; and secondly, that even perfect harmony, fuppofing it to exist, must ever be Ar the amusement of the learned and the few: melody that voice which nations hear and obey." Before we dismiss this part of the work, we cannot help observing, that the author frequently falls into a turgid and gigantic manner which suits not with the subject. From many that could be produced we hall sele&t one passage, in which Mr. Robertson seems to rival the Parisian barber of Sterne. The reasoning of the whole passage from which the following extract is taken is far from fatisfactory; but without entering into any discussion on that head, wegive it to the public merely as an instance of what has been juft alledged

• But is not the mind, it may be afred, capable at least of learn. ing intricate proportions? Is the not actually trained to know a crotchet, a quaver, a demisemiquaver? In answer, let us inquire by what means it is that she is trained. Suppose a demisemiquaver struck. How is it that the knows it to be one thirty-second parf of another note, called a semibreve ? Were a femibreve or unit to 'be placed fully before her, divided or graduated into thirty-two equal parts, she might easily know a demisemiquaver : but if there conditions do not take place, how is she able to know it? Can the compare the two notes together, and have direatly a view of the proportion that the time of the one has to the time of the other? She may as soon have a view of eternity.'

The barber being questioned, whether the buckle of his wig would fạnd, replies in the heroic stile, “ You may


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