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BEAUTY, SEEN AND UNSEEN.
ether, see things in. much the same way, so, in so far as they possess mental powers and refinement of taste, they admire the same forms and colours as beautiful-beauty being as much a fixed thing, independent of fancy, as light is a fixed thing, independent of the eyeball.
Further, it would seem to follow that as geometrical truth is the same to the Divine mind and to ours, and all truth is known to Him; so beauty is the same to His mind and to ours, and all beauty is pleasing to Him. This, taken in connection with the truth that Evolution is but the method of creation, would account for all the beauty that seems purposely created-it is purposely evolved; it would account for all such as is hidden in the ocean, or under exterior coating, or in microscopic species-it may spring from necessary correlation where the thing correlated with it was the thing aimed at (unless even here it is for the Creator's own pleasure); while the fact that many forms exist which are not beautiful would be explicable on the same principle of necessary correlation the good attained, considering the process by which it has been attained, not admitting of beauty going with it.
The Duke of Argyll shows by some beautiful instances that utility and beauty are often found in combination, where the mere utility would have answered every practical purpose. This is the principle which guides man's action-not to fill his little world with ornament, but after providing for practical use to adorn what is useful, or shape it into a thing of beauty. When the savage carves the handle of his war-club to give his hand a firmer hold, any shapeless scratches would suffice; but he works it into an elaborate pattern, to satisfy his sense of beauty and love of ornament.
When mere ornaments are used in architecture they are commonly the traditional representation of parts which had their origin in essential structure. Similarly the forms of many fish which are beautiful are also forms founded on the lines of least resistance; and some of the most beautiful lines on the surface of shells are simply the lines of their annual growth, following definite curves as their “law.” "Even in those cases where concealment is the main object in view, ornament is never forgotten, but lies, as it were, underneath, carried into effect under the conditions and limitations imposed by the higher law and the more special purpose. Thus the feathers of the ptarmigan, though confined by the law of assimilative colouring to a mixture of black and white or grey, have those simple colours disposed in crescent-bars and mottlings of beautiful form, even as the lichens which they imitate spread in radiating lines and semi-circular ripples over the weather-beaten stones. It is the same with all other birds whose colour is the colour of their homes. For the purpose of concealment, that colouring would be equally effective if it were laid on without order or regularity of form. But this is never done. The required tints are always disposed in patterns, each varying with the genus and the species; varying for the mere sake of variation, and for the beauty which belongs to ornament. And where this purpose is not under the restraint of any other purpose controlling it, and keeping it down, as it were, within comparatively narrow limits, how gorgeous are the results attained! What shall we say of flowers, those banners of the vegetable world, which march in such various and splendid triumph before the coming of its fruits? What shall we say of the humming birds-whose
LAWS OF BEAUTY IMMUTABLE.
feathers are made to return the light which falls upon them as if rekindled from intenser fires, and coloured with more than all the colours of all the gems?"1 Professor Haughton, in a different department of study, comes to the same conclusion:-" I may therefore be asked, How comes it, if the principle of least action be true, that nature ever employs muscles involving a necessary loss of force? I answer, because nature has other problems in view than mere economy of force in a single muscle. She has to consider, if she economise force simply, without regard to other circumstances, such as beauty of form, and surface of least resistance, whether she might not lose rather than gain, taking into consideration all the conditions. I have always maintained that beauty of form, symmetry of outline, was one of the pre-existing conditions in the mind of the Contriver of the Universe, as well as economy of force. We find, therefore, that nature never uses a triangular or quadrilateral muscle, except under great necessity." 2
Our view, then, in brief is this, that the laws of beauty are as immutable as the laws of mathematics or of matter and motion, and that beings of sufficient intelligence must perceive beauty and agree in their estimate of it, as they perceive the properties of numbers or of circles and agree about them; that consequently all beauty incidental to the Creator's work is perceived and appreciated by Him, and there is reason to think He purposely brings about more than would naturally arise; that much of this is displayed before the eyes of man for the delight of man; besides which, and most important of all, whatever proportion of this beauty may 1 Reign of Law, p. 201.
2 Lectures on Least Action.
spring out of the unalterable nature of things, there is beneficent purpose in giving man the eye to see it and the faculty to appreciate it.
The Struggle for Existence: Friends in the Struggle.— The absolute necessity of the struggle for life having been proved, the Divine character is freed from imputation; but it may be possible, in addition, to show some indications of positive beneficence. The terms used in these discussions-Battle, Struggle, Survival-though perfectly justified by the facts, direct attention too exclusively to the conflict between enemies: but in every warfare the soldier may have his friends, the army may have its allies, and it is quite as fair to direct attention to these.
In the first place, every creature is armed against its foes, by weapons; or defended by armour, by speed of foot, by odours, by habits, by means of concealment. No human mother takes the same care in clothing her children as nature takes in giving fur and wool and feathers, a white coat or a black coat, a thick coat or a thin one, according to the exigencies of climate. She gives a conspicuous butterfly an unpleasant odour, a gaudy caterpillar a disagreeable taste; she protects the beetle by hard wing-cases, and the tortoise by an adamantine shield. The flower is fertilized by the aid of insects or the wind; every plant has its indirect helpers in the birds that scatter abroad its seed and the animals that manure it with their dung. Many creatures are social and herd together; some of the higher species place sentinels while they feed or while they sleep; all species find food to eat, with opportunity of rest and enjoyment, and on the average are probably as happy as is man, taking into account the measure of their
PROTECTION IN LIFE'S STRUGGLE.
capacities. We know that these adaptations have been brought about by Natural Selection, but we contend. that Evolution is but the method of creation, and that it is as proper to look on the repose as on the struggle when judging of the relation of all things to the Creator.
The possession of organs of sense and their location in suitable parts of the body, might seem at first to be as much in favour of the aggressor as of the weaker animal; but this is not always the case. The giraffe possesses a natural watch-tower, not to be found in its enemies; eye-lids are exclusively protective, favouring their possessor when sight is threatened; taste is a guide in the choice of food, but does not aid a beast of prey to find a victim, &c. &c.
Protective Resemblances.-The Kallima inachis, or common Indian butterfly, and its Malayan ally Kallima paralekta, when reposing on a twig, have exactly the perspective effect of a shrivelled leaf-size, colour, form, markings, and habits all combine to produce a disguise which may be said to be absolutely perfect; and the protection which it affords is sufficiently indicated by the abundance of the individuals that possess it. Such instances could be multiplied. The British moth called Sesia bombiliformis very closely resembles the male of the large and common humble bee, Bombus hortorum, and thence gets its name; the Sphecia craboniforme is coloured like a hornet, and is much more like it when alive than when in the cabinet-and these resemblances to the stinging hymenoptera make the birds more cautious, and so protect the moths. Such instances could be multiplied. Until recently, these resemblances were looked upon as accidental, or as instances of curious analogy which the Creator had thought fit to produce,