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SUMMER, SPRING, AND AUTUMN.
BY FREDERICK S. ECKARD.
ONE bright autumnal day, a weak old man
“Oh, parent earth! when first the laughing spring
“In that pure season, I, thy fervent child,
“ Well I remember the clear dream which rose,
66 Years cast their shadow o'er me, and once more,
“ Yet death had crossed my path; the fragile flowers,
6 And other wreaths enchain'd me; I had led
“ Earth, take thy kindred dust, for years have laid
The old man's voice was hush'd-it seem'd that sleep,
and for ever shall that slumber keep
THE FINE ARTS.
BY JOSEPH HOPKINSON.
In recommending to our fellow-citizens the cultivation of a general taste in the fine arts, and a liberal attention to every institution calculated to promote it, we should not overlook some of its most interesting uses to society. Every man who is a member of that society and has influence and power in it, either by his rank, his education, or his wealth, has a deep interest, perhaps a serious duty, to attend to on this subject. It is no new doctrine to assert that the fine arts are of great importance to the morals of the community. Their influence, in this respect, may reach where the voice of the preacher is never heard, and the lectures of the moralist nerer read. By providing an innocent, an interesting, and dignified source of pleasure, they not only draw the mind from gross and vulgar gratifications; but finally so entirely absorb and purify it; so quicken its sensibility and refine its taste, that pleasures more gross lose their attractions and become disgusting. Men, whose inclination and fortune withdraw them from scenes of active and necessary business, still require occupation and amusement. The mind that is stagnant loses its vital principle, and sinks either into a distressing lethargy, or low and corrupting vices. What a resource, what a refuge is opened to such men in the fascinating gardens of Taste.
“ Thou mak’st all nature beauty to his eye,
Such are the pleasures of a mind purified by virtue, and cultivated by taste. Can a being capable of such sublime contemplations, and commanding such high sources of pleasure, drop from its dignity into some sink of vice, or be lost in the mazes of sensual dissipation ?
When speaking of the morality of the fine arts, I should be unpardonable were I not to fortify myself with the sentiments of the elegant and philosophical critic, Lord Kaims. He remarks that the pleasures of the ear and eye “ approach the purely mental, without exhausting the spirits; and exceed the purely sensual, without the danger of satiety.”—That they have “ a natural aptitude to draw us from immoderate gratifications of sensual appetite," and that the Author of our nature has thus qualified us to rise, by gentle steps, “ from the most groveling corporeal pleasures, for which only the mind is fitted in the beginning of life, to those refined and sublime pleasures which are suited to maturity;" and these refined pleasures of sense lead “ to the exalted pleasures of morality and religion.” We stand, therefore, says this eloquent writer “engaged in honour, as well as interest, to second the purposes of Nature, by cultivating the plea
sures of the eye and ear, those especially that require extraordinary culture, such as are inspired by poetry, painting, sculpture, music, gardening, and architecture.” Shall I say that he adds, “this is chiefly the duty of the opulent, who have leisure to improve their minds and feelings?” He further declares, that " a taste in the fine arts and the moral sense go hand in hand.” May I be indulged in a further extract from this distinguished critic and moralist? “ Mathematical and metaphysical reasonings,” he says, “ have no tendency to improve social intercourse; nor are they applicable to the common affairs of life: but a just taste in the fine arts, derived from rational principles, is a fine preparation for acting in the social state with dignity and propriety.” It moderates the selfish affections, and“ by sweetening and harmonizing the temper, is a strong antidote to the turbulence of passion and the violence of pursuit.” It "procures a man so much enjoyment at home, or easily within reach, that in order to be occupied, he is, in youth, under no temptation to precipitate into hunting, gaming, drinking; nor, in middle age, to deliver himself over to ambition; nor, in old age, to avarice.” “I insist on it," continues he, “ with entire satisfaction, that no occupation attaches a man more to his duty than that of cultivating a taste in the fine arts, a just relish of what is beautiful, proper, elegant, and ornamental in writing or painting, in architecture or gardening, is a fine preparation for discerning what is beautiful, just, elegant, or magnanimous in character and behaviour."
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