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cube neither fall nor rise, because they neither stand nor lie more at one time than another.
But suppose we go further : suppose to one extreme of this cylinder we add a new part, that is a capital; to the other extreme another part, that is a base : the two extremes of the cylinder would no longer in such case remain indiscriminate, but the characters of top and bottom would become distinguished and ascertained, even in the figure itself, without looking to things external.
The consequences of these new characters are new modes of position. A pillar (for such we must now suppose it) is not only capable, like the simple cylinder, of standing and of lying, but inasmuch as two of its parts, that is to say, its extremes, are essentially distinguished, if it rest on its base, it stands upright; if on its capital, it stands inverted.
Let us carry our suppositions further, and by a metamorphosis, like one of Ovid's, transform this pillar into a tree. Let the capital sprout into branches, the shaft become a trunk, and the base strike into roots. Here then in a vegetable subject we behold the same distinctions ; a top, a bottom, and a middle of its own, leading as before to the same diversities of position.
If we still pursue the metamorphosis, and transform the tree into a man, making its branches into a head, its trunk into a body, and its roots into feet, we shall discover also in an animal subject the same distinctions as before; and the subject will in consequence be capable of lying, as well as of standing; of standing upright, as well as inverted.
But this is not all. Man is not only an extended substance, like the column, or the tree, but over and above, as an animal, he is by nature locomotive. Now the part of him in progression, which leads the way, we denominate his fore part, or front; the opposite, his hinder part, or rear; and the two parts upon each side, his right and his left.
And thus has man, in consequence of his animal frame, over and above the former distinctions of top and bottom, (both of them common to the other subjects already described) four additional distinctions peculiar to him as an animal, the distinctions of front and rear, of right and left, which four are wholly unknown both to the column and to the tree.
While he is under the position of standing, these four distinctions have little force, but when he happens to lie, then is their efficacy seen, and each of them leads to a new and different position. If his front, while he is lying, be nearest to the earth, then is he said to lie prone ; if his hinder part, or rear, then to lie supine ; if neither of these, then it is either on his right, or on his left; which positions are unknown either to the pillar or the tree.
Thus, besides the standing positions of upright and inverted,
has man, in consequence of his frame, four other positions, which appertain to him, as he lies ; so that his frame taken together, as one perfect whole, is susceptible of six different and specific positions, which have referenee to the six different and specific extensions of his body.”
Fables tell us, that the triangular island Sicily was thrown upon the Giant Typhoeus. Under one promontory lay his right arm; under another, his left; under a third, his legs; under Mount Ætna, his head; under the whole island his body, having his breast upwards, his back downwards. These positions refer to the several extensions above described.
Vasta giganteis ingesta est insula membris
Ejectat, flammamque fero vomit ore Typhoeus. Ovid. Metam, v. 346. But not to anticipate with regard to poets, of whom we shall say more hereafter. In a cube there are six faces, capable of denoting as many positions; and yet there is this important difference between the cube and the man: the faces of the cube being all of them similar, its positions, being only nominal, can only refer to things without, and every face can alike concur to the forming of the same position. But the parts analogous to these in man being all of them dissimilar, his positions, being real, are by no means thus commutable ; but if the head be uppermost, then, and then only, is he, by position, upright; if his back be uppermost, then, and then only, is he, by position, prone; nor can he possibly be called either prone or upright, were any other part to exist in the same place, excepting the two here mentioned.
From what has been alleged, we see the true origin of position or situation. “It arises from the relation which the distinctions of parts within bear to the distinctions of place without ; and it varies, of course, as this relation is found to vary.” The fewer of these internal distinctions any being possesses, the less always the number of its possible positions. As it possesses more, its positions increase with them.
As to the progression of animals, peculiar to them as animals, that progression (I mean) by which they move, not as mere bodies, but as bodies possessed of instinct and sensation; it is to be observed, that thiş progression is formed by the help of joints and muscles; and that these, during their operation, form within the animal body a variety of angles and flexures. Now hence arises a fresh multitude of characteristic positions. There is one position, under which a bird flies; another, under which a horse gallops; a third, under which a man walks, &c.
b See these different extensions, which of Animals, we read, čxel 8 d &vpwnos kal Aristotle calls “distances,” διαστάσεις, fully το άνω και το κάτω, και τα έμπροσθεν και discussed in his treatise De Animalium in- τα οπίσθια, και δεξιά και αριστερά. Ηist. gressu, p. 129. edit. Sylb. In his History Animal. p. 17. edit. Sylb.
These latter positions differ from those already described, because they depend not on a simple relation of the whole body to things without, but on a diversified relation of its different parts one to another. The painter well knows the force of these positions, since it is by these he superinduces motion upon immoveable canvas; so that from the position, which we see, we infer the progression, which we see not.
And this naturally leads us to consider the power of position or situation in works of art. Among the common utensils of life, such as chairs, beds, tables, &c., there is a position which is proper, and another which is absurd ; a position by which they attain their end, and another which renders them useless. Some derive their very essence (if I may use the phrase) from their situation : for example, the lintel, from being over the door; the threshold, from being under it. We pass from these to productions more elegant.
It is the knowledge of these various positions peculiar to animal bodies, and to the human above the rest, (commonly known by the name of attitudes,) which constitutes so eminent a part in the character of a perfect painter. To the statuary, if possible, it is a more important science still, because he has no helps, like the painter, from colour, light, and shade.
Instances in support of this assertion (if it needs supporting by instances) may be alleged innumerable, both from pictures and from statues.
Painting gives us the the attitudes of St. Paul and the sorcerer Elymas, in the cartoon of Raphael ; of Apollo and the dancing Hours, in the Aurora of Guido; of the Sleeping Christ, his mother, and St. John, in the Silence of Caracci'; of many and diversified holy families, in the works of Carlo Maratti, &c.
From attitudes in painting, we pass to those in sculpture ; to that of the Medicean Venus, the Farnesian Hercules, the Niobe, the Laocoon, the Wrestlers, the Dying Gladiator, &c. © See page 29, &c.
given by Lysippus to the statue of Alex4 Τα δε θέσει [λέγεται,] οίον ουδές και ander the Great. That prince had a certain υπέρθυρον" ταύτα γάρ τώ κείσθαι πως extension of neck, which made him gently Slapépet : “Other substances are denomi- recline it upon his left shoulder. When nated from their position, as the threshold his figure was cast in brass by Lysippus, and the lintel ; for these differ by the the artist ingeniously contrived to convert peculiar manner of their being situated.” this natural defect into an attitude of magAnd soon after, Oůdds ydp éotiv, 6Ti oŰtws nificence. His head, being reclined, was κείται και το είναι, το ούτως αυτό κείσθαι made, with a sort of insolent look, to cononualver : “ For it is a threshold, because it template the heavens, as if things below is so situated ; and its existence indicates were already at his command. And hence its being situated after this manner." the meaning of that celebrated epigram, in Metaph. H. c. 6. p. 135. edit. Sylb. which this work of brass is supposed to
e To these attitudes may be added that address Jupiter in the following words:
It is easy, when we are describing these beauties, to be diffuse in our expressions, and to exclaim, as we describe, How charming ! How exquisite ! &c. But the observation is just, as well as obvious :
Segnius inritant animos demissa per aurem,
Quam quæ sunt oculis commissa fidelibus. Hor. Art. Poet. 180. He, therefore, who would comprehend attitude in works such as these, must either visit the originals, or else contemplate them (as he may easily do) in models, drawings, and books of sculpture and painting."
We shall find less difficulty in the works of poets, because these address us in words, and convey to us their ideas not through our language but their own. It is thus Virgil gives us an attitude of sitting in desperation :
Sedet, æternumque sedebit
Æn. vi. 517. Shakspeare, of sitting in despondence :
She sat, like patience on a monument
Twelfth Night, act ii. sc. 6. Milton, of conjugal affection :
He, on his side
Par. Lost, v. 11. Ovid makes Thescelus, as he elevated a javelin, to be miraculously petrified in the very attitude of aiming :
Utque manu jaculum fatale parabat
Mittere, in hoc hæsit signum de marmore gestu. Metam. v. 182. More formidable is a similar attitude at Milton's Lazar-house :
Over them triumphant Death his dart
Par. Lost, xi. 491.
These crouchings, and these lowly courtesies
Might fire the blood of ordinary men. Jul. Cæsar, act iii. sc. 1. The lying, or being extended on some surface, is an attitude in most instances so connected with death, that death is often denoted by that attitude alone.
Thus Nestor, in Homer, speaking of the Greek commanders slain before Troy:
Αυδάσoντι δ' έoικεν ο χάλκεος, είς Διά i Those who dwell in the neighbourhood λεύσσων,
where these notes were written, may find Γαν υπ' εμοί τίθεμαι: Ζεύ, συ δ' 'Ολυμ- excellent examples of attitude at Wilton πον έχε. .
house, (lord Pembroke’s,) among the statues The brass looks up to Jove, and seems to and basso-relievos there preserved ; in parcry,
ticular, the Cupid bending his Bow; the This earth is mine ; do thou possess the sky. Faun, who, as he stands, turns his body,
Plut. de Vita et For. Alex. p. 335. edit and looks backwards ; the figures in the Xyland. See also Brodæi Epigram. Gr. l. Marriage-vase ; the Amazon fighting, the iv. p. 454. edit. Franc. 1600, where the lines basso-relievos of Meleager, of Niobe, of here cited are introduced by two others. Ceres and Triptolemus, &c.
Ένθα δ' έπειτα κατέκταθεν όσσοι άριστοι,
Odys. T. 108.
There my own much-lov'd son."
0! mighty Cæsar, dost thou lie so low?
Jul. Cæs. act iii. sc. 3. Sleep, whom the poets deify, appears under a similar position:
Cubat ipse Deus, membris languore solutis. Ovid. Metam. xi. 612. It was perhaps from this resemblance in position, joined to that other, the cessation of the sensitive powers, that Sleep and Death were by the poets called brothers," and that the former upon many occasions served to represent the latter.
If we pass from poets to actors,' (by actors, I mean those of dramatic compositions,) we shall find that attitudes and positions make at least a moiety of their merit; so that though they are to speak, it is certain, as well as to act, yet it is from acting, not from speaking, that they take their denomination.
Nor are just positions without their use to that real actor upon the stage of life, I mean the orator. Demosthenes, in whom rhetoric attained its last perfection, was at first so unsuccessful, that he was in a state of despair, till Satyrus, a celebrated tragedian, shewed him the amazing force of action, by the different manners of repeating certain passages out of Euripides and Sophocles."
And whence is it that positions derive this wondrous efficacy? It is, in fact, because the body is an organ to the soul; an instrument, whose gestures correspond to every affection, and are
8 See also Hom, Il. 2. 20. and Mr. Clarke's It seems indeed to have been a custom note, where he quotes Quinctilian.
with all nations, in instances of this sort, " See page 132.
to mitigate the harshness of the thing sig| When sleep represents death, it is com- nified, by the mildness of the terms that monly marked with some strong epithet: signify it: a well-known figure, called, in by Homer it is called a brazen sleep; by books of rhetoric, Euphemismus. Virgil, an iron sleep ; by Horace, simply a j See Cic. de Orat. iïi. 56, 57, 58, 59. long sleep; which idea the poet Moschus edit. Pearce ; where it is worth remarking, heightens by calling it not only a long (c. 59.) so much stress is laid on the sleep, but a sleep without an endo; a sleep management of the countenance, and of the out of which we cannot be awaked.
eyes in particular, that we are informed the Εβδομες ευ μάλα μακρόν, ατέρμονα, νή- old men of that age did not greatly praise
even Roscius himself, when he appeared in See Hom. Iliad. A. 241. Virg. Æn. x. 745. his mask-Quo melius nostri illi senes, qui Hor. Od. l. iii. i 1. 36. Mosch. Idyl. iii. 105. personatum ne Roscium quidem magnopere
Even in prose-writers, when we read of laudabant; animi est enim omnis actio ; et persons being dead, we sometimes read that imago animi vultus est, indices oculi. “they are fallen asleep,” or that “they slept * Plutarch. Demosthen. p. 849. edit. Xy. with their fathers." I Cor. xv. 6; 2 Chron. land. ix. 31.
γρετον ύπνον. .