Friday, April 30, 2010
"As the beautiful in nature is more than the useful, so is the beautiful in action and in character more than the good. Straight lines and sharp angles do not look beautiful to the eye; nor in life, speech, and conduct do they seem beautiful to the mind. In natural beauty the lines seem continuous, so gently does curve melt into curve. In character, however good, there is no beauty in sharp angles, in brusquerie, rudeness, abruptness, least of all, in fits of goodness which have their beginnings and endings, with the life, though not bad, on a lower plane, in the intervals. Even when there is no lack of continuity, a character may have inflexible rectitude, literal veracity, habits sedulously conformed in the smallest minutiae to the rule of right, and it may have our entire approval, our sincere though cold admiration, yet may have no beauty. There is a style of goodness that reminds one of a skeleton hung on wires, in which conscience is unrestingly active, but the imagination torpid even to death, — which repels sympathy, and makes virtue unlovely. A heaven thus peopled would seem no paradise. Grim piety may be of subjective worth to the individual soul, but its objective value would be represented by a negative sign."