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partially successful. It has never recovered the dignity it then assumed, although the greatest actors, as far as art is concerned, have flourished since that time. It no longer represents the spirit of the age, nor satisfies any want of the better part of society. Books have increased, not only to meet all demand, but even to exceed any capacity to devour, at the same time that the degraded moral character of actors, in general, shuts them out from the only means of gratifying that kind of audience which would take pleasure in the higher efforts of their profession.
-Quintilian, Institutiones Oratoricæ. Campbell, Philosophy of Rhetoric. Whateley's Elements of Rhetoric. Dannon, Cours D'etudes Historique. Arnold's Lectures on History. Macauley, Miscellanies -article, History. F. Schlegel, Lectures on Philosophy of History. John Q. Adams, Lectures on Oratory. Horace, Art of Poetry. Boileau, Art Poetique. Pope, Art of Criticism. Pemberton, Observations on Epic Poetry. Moir's History of Poetry. Schlegel's Lectures on Dramatic Literature. Coleridge's Lectures on Shakspeare.
From the above brief definitions of the principal branches of art, the limits of æsthetic science must be sufficiently clear. It is that department of mental philosophy which treats of human feelings, as far as they are conducive to beauty, and of intellections, in as far as they give rise to feelings of that kind, as well as of external objects, in as far as they are the signs, conditions, or occasions of such feelings.
The relations of modern art to society are unprecedented, and full of obscure but lofty promise. In
284 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF ÆSTHETICS.
earlier times, high intellectual culture, and quently, good taste, were confined to certain orders or professions: the masses were uneducated and incompetent. The works of Egypt were produced by a caste of priests, who perpetuated the necessary instruction among themselves: those of Greece, by a professional few, in the service of their mythology; and those of reviving Europe, under the patronage of the popish priesthood, and, in some cases, even by secret societies of artists. Printing, and the Reformation, with their universal diffusion of knowledge, have wrought a change in this matter-a change which is still in progress, not in all cases for the better, so far, it must be confessed ; architecture, painting, and statuary, especially, are in the present day in a woeful state of chaos and indecision. Some, looking back to the lofty and well defined purpose and masterly execution of former times, are turning their hopes to a revival of exclusive fraternities, as the only means of correcting the present disorder. But all such attempts are vain. History never repeats herself. We are evidently in the transition state to something greater than has yet appeared, an age of art, where no exclusive caste or profession shall dictate style—but the enlightened taste of a whole people, under the nobler moral and religious light of a pure Christianity. The transition state must necessarily be chaotic, but the elements will arrange themselves correctly in the end, and the greater their number and diversity, the higher shall be that art which effects their harmony.