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District of Connecticut, ss.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the sixth (L. S.) dav of June, in the forty-fourth year of the
Inilependence of the United States of America, SAMUEL G. GOODRICII, of the said district, hath deposited in this Office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit: “ Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres,
“ reduced in Question and Answer. By Rev. John
“ Marsh." In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “ Au Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.”
CHAS. A. INGERSOLL,
Clerk of the District of Connecticut. A true copy of record, examined and sealed by me.
CHAS. A. INGERSOLL,
E. Clark, Print. Middletown.
RHETORIC AND BELLES LETTRES.
Q. What is Taste ?
A. The power of receiving pleasure or pain from the beauties or deformities of nature and of art.
Q. Is it an internal sense, or an exercise of reason ?
A. It is an internal sense; but reason assists Taste in many of its operations, and serves to enlarge its power.
Q. Is it common to all men ?
Q. How are the rudiments of Taste discoverable in children ?
A. In their fondness for regular bodie in their admiration of pictures and statues.
Q. How, in savages of the wilderness?
A. In their ornaments of dress, their war and their death songs, their harangues, and their orators,
Q. Do all men possess the faculty of Taste, in the same degree?
A. No. In some men only faint glimmerings of it are visible ; beauties of the coarsest kind only are discerned and relished by them: while, in others, taste rises to an acute discernment, and a lively enjoyment of beauties the most refined.
Q To what is this inequality to be attributed ?
A. In part, to a difference in their natural constitution ; but chiefly, to culture and edu. cation.
Q. How does it appear that Taste is an improveable faculty ?
A. From the immense superiority of civil. ized over barbarous pations, in refinement of Taste ; and of those who have studied the liberal arts, over the rude and yntaught, in the same nation.
Q. How does Taste receive its improvement?
A. By frequent exercise ; and the applica. tion of good sense and reason, to the objects of Taste.
Q. What influence has the heart over a just Taste ?
A. Great. A corrupt heart can never relish the moral beauties, which are the highest, of eloquence and poetry.
Q. What are the characters of good Taste ?
A. The perfection of that natural sensibility on which 'Taste is founded.
Q. What does Correctness of Taste respect?
A. The improvement which that faculty receives, through its connexion with the under. standing.
Q. In what is the power of each chiefly seen ?
A. In discerning the true merit of a work; and in rejecting false pretensions to merit. Delicacy, leans more to feeling; Correctness, more to judgment. The former, is chiefly the gift of nature; the latter, the product of culture and art.
Q. What critical writers have afforded a high example of Delicate Taste ?
A. Longinus, among the Ancients; and Addison, among the Moderns.
Q. Who have possessed most correctness? A. Aristotle and Dean Swift.
Q. Have mankind uniformly approved of the same things ?
A. No. In architecture, the Grecian models long prevailed ; then the Gothic ; afterwards, the Grecian revived, lo eloquence and poetry, the Asiatics were fond of gaudy ornament; while the Greeks admired only chaste and simple beauties. Writings, admired two or three centuries ago, have now fallen into disrepute and oblivion.
Q. What conclusion should we naturally draw from tbis fact ?
A. That Taste, in its operations, is fluctuating and capricious ; and has no standard. Q. Is this actually the case ?
A. No. For there is a standard of good Taste, by appealing to which, we may distinguish between a good and a bad Taste.
Q. Upon what is Taste built ?
A. Upon sentiments and perceptions which belong to our nature.
Q. What occasions a corrupt Taste ?
A. The perversion of these sentiments and perceptions by ignorance and prejudice.
Q. What is the standard of good Taste ?
A. These sentiments and perceptions uncorrupted.
Q. Where are these to be found ?
A. They cannot fail to be developed in the course of time, and to gain ascendency over any corrupted modes of Taste which may be introduced. Ignorance and prejudice may rule for a season, but must ultimately yield to knowledge and truth.
Q. What two works have been approved throughout ages, and become standards of poetical composition ?
A. The Iliad of Homer, and the Æneid of Virgil.