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od it. Medicine they reduced to fuch a form, that, till within these few years, it was the model to which we looked up with veneration, and to which ages were almost afraid to add any thing, left they should contaminate the simple majesty of the original. Their metaphysics we shall leave to the defence of lord Monboddo ; it is at least sufficient for us to observe, that it contains the foundation of all the modern systems of logic and ontology : the author's conclusion is, however, candid.

To conclude: the inconsiderable territory of which we have been treating, was certainly the nursery of great and eminent statesmen; of accomplished generals, and deep and subtle philosophers; the unrivalled patroness, if not the parent, of various arts and sciences; but farther than this, candour forbids us to go. That she was the source of knowledge cannot be admitted. Her claim to perfection in what she undertook is indir. pucable; and with this we will let her reft: for to say that she has not been equalled, would be erroneous. Experience in a succession of years, diffused such light over the ancient, as it fince hath over the modern world, that with a distinguished, though not with a pre-eminent, rank among the kingdoms of the earch, she and her admirers may certainly be satisfied.'

The European nations are scon surveyed; and, as Akbar is lefs minute in his detail, and less criginal in his observations, we shall pass them over, and only notice one ftrange, but general error, that the world is less populous now than it was two thousand years ago. This is a part of the system of those who perceive an increasing depravity in all nature's works; who think the cheering light and genial warmth of the sun lefsened, that the face of nature looks less gay, and that every .thing seems to show a decaying world. It is not easy to demonstrate the error of our author; but that it is an error is highly probable, from the vast tracts now fully populated, which were once deserts, and, from the comparatively small ones that have been deserted. We now speak of what actually happened, and will not admit as evidence, the vast armies of Sesostris or of Xerxes, thote pious frauds, with which we have been hitherto amused.

We must now take our leave of this entertaining author, who indeed often errs, but feldom on subjects of importance. We have not stayed to enumerate his errors; for even to follow his steps more generally, has detained us too long. He is always candid and benevolent. He accompanies us with {miles and good humour, except when he meets with inhu. manity or ingratitude; even then the frowns are foon smooth. ed, and he goes cheeringly along. In thort, we have feldom met with a more pleasing companion,

1

An Enquiry into the Fine Arts. By Thomas Robertson, Fellow

of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 4to. il. Is. in Boards.

Cadell. THERE is an aukwardness in the title of this work which

prejudices the reader against it ; and the prejudice is ftronger. as the subject ought to be elegantly treated. The author himself, observes, that useful books may be written in a mode that is minute and abitruse, as well as in one that is general and plain.' He prefers the latter, and thinks that a treatise on the Fine Arts nught to rise with the subject, and fpeak to the audience of all mankind.' We entirely agree with himn in opinion ; but, if this was his aim, he has not been very successful in attaining it. • To pass by minite object , but to treat of great onės minutely, is a secret in fine writing in general, which seems to have been known only to a few.' To pursue this plan, requires an acute judgment, and an exact discrimination : our future remarks will ascertain how far the author is qualified for the task.

Mr. Robertson professes, in the first volume, to enquire into the ancient and modern state of music, as the chicf of the • fine arts which apply to the ear.' 'He chuses to begin with modern mafic, which is the subject of the first chapter ; the fecond is on ancient music; the third contains fpeculations on music; and the fourth, fifth, and fixth, the history of the fcience. These are followed by a postscript on the music of the South Sea illanders ; and the whole is preceded by an introductory discourse.

The author, in his introduction, thinks that the love of ornament, the passion on which the fine arts are founded, precedes the gratification of natural appetites.

• The traveller, arriving in countries where the people were in the rudest thate, where they hardly knew how to dress food, or keep off the weather, has always remarked a paflion for finery. The lavage is indolent; to look out for his daily nourishment, seems a force upon his nature : but shew him a toy, and he will use prayers, or fraud, or violence, to obtain it. In the savage fate, the study of fine things has always been greater than of things that are necesiary,'

He seems to forget that the savage must exist before he can desire; and that he cannot exist without fatisfying hunger. But to go on.

• It is vain to enquire into the crder of the arts of necessity and of pleasure ; which first, which laft, made their appear.

They' appeared both upon the same day, the moment men exifted. Fully formed by the hands of God, man set his toot upon the earth ; but his fteps were left to his own guid

ance,

ance.

ance, and his road to his own direction. While the arts of 'amusement and of subsistence were thus born together, the former appear to have been soonest advanced. Nature gave caves to savage men' to retire to; and more food, with little cost of time in acquiring it, than they could use. Hence the necessary arts, after making a few steps, soon became stationary for ages; till, at length, population encreasing the demand for food, men were under the necessity to invent, to migrate, or to Itarve. It was not so with the other arts. Men had little to do but to practise them. Ages of idleness were bestowed upon them. Rude people learned to dance, before they could hew timber, or shape ftone : they painted their bodies long before they clothed them : while the palate had little choice of meats and drinks, the eye was courted with shining ores, and shells, and feathers : while the hand had yet to learn its cunning, the ear toiled not to relish sweet melody. The arts of pleasure, in such times indeed, are in a mod imperfect state ; yet it is to these arts chiefly, that rude ages are devoted. If there be men bufied about necessaries more than about any other things, it is the bulk of men in the most refined times : it is the stupid labourer and mechanic: it is the merchant at his books: it is the liberal and learned themselves, amid the tasks of Itudy and the functions of office; their pleasures, properly, so called, being snatched at intervals ; for all their other amusement, 'however genuine, arifes merely from their being employed. The savage dresses, dances, and sings.'

In this passage, the opinion is much limited ; and, if the author had proceeded a little farther in the enquiry, he would have found the result so obvious, that the whole would probably have been excluded from the work. The amusements of the favage are certainly the origin of the fine arts; but it is of little confequence whether they preceded or followed the gratification of hunger. It would have been a more important subject of enquiry, to have examined the savage state in general, and to have observed in what circumstances there amusements are most frequent. Many savages, after satisfying their appetites, fink into the most torpid infenfibility, till new calls rouse them into action. In this investigation, something might have been found to be owing to climate, not as a cause influencing a particular contexture of the nervous system ; but as inviting its inhabitants into the open air, and inspiring a placid chearfulness. This view would not indeed have explained every particular occurrence, nor is it our prefent object to supply defects.

Mr. Robertson next examines the commonly received prina ciple, that the fine arts are imitative. He denies that they are so ; and music ought, he thinks, to be particularly ex.

cepted. cepted. That music is not an imitative art was, we believe, first afferted by Mr. Jackson, in a preface to one of his early publications. Mr. Robertson observes that we, after Aristotle, continue to fay, that the fine arts imitate, and are ever and anon contradicted by examples, in which there is no imitation.' He asserts that the fine arts, poetry excepted, have never fourilhed in our island so much as upon the continent;: that, not having fine artists, we are in danger of not knowing what are fine arts, ' for in architecture, painting, sculpture, and chiefly music, we not only do not execute ourselves, but fcarely know what is executed by others. If this be true, it is fo of painting only; architecture, and of the pureft style, is more practised in England than in any other country; and music, the immediate subject of our author's Enquiry, undoubtedly fou. risfies more in this kingdom than in any other. London is the great centre to which all musicians of eminence tend; and there are, at this time, more capital performers assembled in it than in all Europe besides.

In the chapter on Modern Music, our author begins with enquiring into the nature of sounds, and examines their sym. pathising effects in inanimate and animated bodies. The me dical effects of music may, he thinks, be owing to this fympathy, fince ? the bones and nerves may be the strings of the human machine.' But this doctrine is now exploded ; and we need not infift on its absurdity. All these, and more fupernatural effects, have been attributed to ancient music : the modern art pretends to nothing more than charming the sense.

Mr. Robertfon divides the qualities of muficai found into force, polish, and time. Polish is a term of his own inven. tion, and not a very happy one ; we also think that the term

low,' is improperly contrasted to loud ;' because in musical difcuffions, it is always opposed to high.' What he means by saying that' tune is nothing else but time,' exceeds our comprehenfion. Tune is a found of a given pitch, and time the duration of it: in this way it has ever been confidered by every writer on the subject. Our author is exceedingly prolix on the first elements of music; and, from thence, takes occafion to speak of modern performances, which it is pretty clear that he is unacquainted with.

All human guide fails, when the masterly is to be executed. Musicians speak of certain occasions, when the ordinary rules both of time and of tune may be set aside ; and these are the occasions of eloquence and of fire. Here some poor fidler is left to himself. He murders Corelli : directions should surely be given to ordinary artifts: fome few rules should be handed down, guiding them, where they are most apt to err, to the spirit of the composer who may be long ago dead; and whose works, imperfectly committed to writing, they are presenting, with many innovations of their own, to the public. It is to be doubted, if Corelli could at this day recognize his owo compofitions in a concert of music: besides other alterations, so many graces, as they are called, being added ; and so much fimple majesty, taken away.'

This justly characterises the music of seventy or eighty years ago; but the moderns play precisely the notes set before them. The account of the different intervals and modes is, most unreasonably protracted, because there is nothing new in it. We think the fame of his fpeculations in the third chapter

In the History of Music, Mr. Bruce is frequently mentioned. As this gentleman has not yet communicated his discoveries to the public, we cannot judge of their importance. The • harp of inexpressible beauty,' as publifhed by Dr. Burney, cànnot be like apy musical instrument, because there is nothing to refift the tension of the strings. That same learned The ban' who painted it must, for an ancient, be miserably igno=rant of the make of musical instruments,

It is impossible to follow our author regularly. Where we; agree with him, it is when he takes up the opinions of others; for he advances very little from himself but what is liable to exception. The best part of this volume is, in our opinion, the account of the progress of music in England, and the character of some of our composers. The author has read a great deal on this subject; but does not seem to poffefs fufficient genius to distinguish what is proper to retain, and what to reject. We Thail felèat, as a specimen, part of this work where Mr. Robertson have been rather an observer than a copyist; and consequently where his account is more values able and original.

• The two moft: general claffes into which the Highland mofic seems to divide itself, are derived from the two different inftruments which that mufic has chiefly employed : the harp, and voice on the one hand, and the bagpipe on the other. String and vecal music being so compatible with one another, and, of consequence, having been lo generally conjoined in practice, have taken the same subjects, and have had the same character. The bagpipe, from its nature, has stood alone, and its music has been peculiar to itself. ; • Harp and vocal music, the former of those two classes apo pears to have been subdivided among the Highlanders into two, Others : fongs adapted to times of relaxation and ease; and fongs that always accompanied labour.

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