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James Rush.

The philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita online

. (page 6 of 59)
Online LibraryJames RushThe philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita → online text (page 6 of 59)
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endles metaphysical disputations.

Though future times may possibly break down the mischevous
distinction, which asigns a diferent kind of thot to different depart-
ments of inquiry ; and may subject all nature and art, equaly, to
the simple and suficient proces of Observation and Clasification ;
still it may seem to the present age, that between the perception of
beauty in the arts, and of the ratios of mathematical quantity, there
is little similarity. But, aside from metaphysical sophistiy, there
can be no other ground for an acknowledged certainty, in our per-
ceptions of the relationships of magnitude and number, than the
undivided and unchanging perceptions and belief, of those who
sagaciously inquire into them. They agree upon themj because
they all pursue a like conected train of exact observation, or * rea-
soning' as this train is usually caledj being therein hapily sepa-
rated from the world of wranglers, who taking no part or interest
in a mathematical truth they canot overthrow, do not vexatiously
disturb their agreement ; again, bet^use they all employ the same
precision of terms for these relationshij)s, and are more dispassionate
in their investigations, than we are acustomed to be, on the many
subjects that involve the distractions of our ])ride, and vanity,
and emulation ; because they so closely observe the su(;esions, and



62 INTRODUCTION.

SO strictly, by the comanding symbols of analysis, contemplate the
bearing of premises embraced in a conclusion; and finally, not be-
cause they employ on the exact sciences, a diferent mental method j
for the mind, apart from its endles ways in popular and scholastic
fiction, has only one methodj but because the ambitious and
worldly atractions of other subjects of knowledge, have left the
development of these sciences, together with the aplication of the
above described Causes of their succes, to the retired and self-con-
tented observation and reflection of earnest, exact, and jjersevering
inquirers. It is trifling to urge, that the properties of a Conic
Section are eternal entities of ' purely Transcendental intelect,'
quite independent of our acidental and physical perception of
them, and that they would still exist as truths, even if they might
never be demonstrated. Ti*uth is a com})arative term, uncaled
for by Nature, who has no relative erors within herself, and was
only invented for the uses of a disputatious and imperfectly-per-
cipient being. Besides, the question before us is of knowledge,
not of metaphysical notions. OtherAvise we might, with like proof
of an abstract and eternal rule of taste, asert that the proportions
of a Greek column exist, unhewn and unseen in the quary ; like
that transcendental conceit of old, which declared^ the Venus of
Gnidos was not the work of Praxiteles ; Nature herself having
concreted within the marble, the boundary' but hiden surface of its
beauty; the artist, when the statue came to light, having only
produced the fragments of his chisel, and the dust of his file. I
speak here against an unlimited asertion of the variablenes of the
thotful and efective principles of taste, and not with the presump-
tion, at this time, even to feign for them, a comparison with any
established principle of the exact sciences. But there are no
degrees in truth ; therefore, every mathematical purpose which
remains without fulfilment by demonstration, must submit to its
clasification with what are called the indefinite precepts of the
Esthetic Arts, hapily distinguished from them, in being free from
the interference of Ignorance and Conceit. And yet it may be re-
marked, in anticipation of what will he shown herejifter, that the
Art of Speech, in three of its important modesj namely, Time,
with its measurable moraentsj Intonation, with its measurable in-
tervalsj and Force, with its measurable dcgreesj if not admissible



INTRODUCTION. 63

within tlie pale of exact caleuUition, is yet upon ibi border; and
when, by future cultivation, it shall take its destined ])lace among
the esthetic arts, it will be found, at least lx?side Architecture and
Music, those l^eautiful combinations of taste, with mathematical
truth; if indeed, from its principles of intonation being broadly
and strictly founded in nature, it may not claim to be before
them.

Controversies on points involving the leading principles of taste,
are generaly, contentions of the ignorant with artists, or with one
another; and rarely to any great degree, of the diferences of edu-
cate



Online LibraryJames RushThe philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita → online text (page 6 of 59)