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Hogarth, William, 1697-1764 / The analysis of beauty : written with a view of fixing the fluctuating ideas of taste
(1753)

Chap. XVII: of action,   pp. 138-153


Page 141

ANALYSIS of          BEAUTY.                  :14- 
The peculiar movements of each perfon, as the gate 
in walking, are particularifed in fuch lines as each part 
defcribes by the habits they have contra&ed. The nature 
and power of habit may be fully conceived by the fol- 
lowing familiar inflance, as the motions of one part of 
the body may ferve to explain thofe of the whole. 
Obferve that whatever habit the fingers get in the 
ufe of the pen, you fee exatly delineated to the eye by 
the fhapes of the letters. Were the movements of every 
writer's fingers to be precifely the fame, one hand- 
writing would not be known from another, but as the 
fingers naturally fall into, or acquire different habits of 
moving, every hand-writing is vifibly different. Which 
movements mufl tally with the letters, tho' they are too 
quick and too finall to be as perfedly traced by the eye; 
but this fhews what' nice differences are caufed, and 
conflantly retained by habitual movements. 
It may be remark'd, that all ufeful habitual motions, 
fuch as are readiefi to ferve the neceflary purpofes of 
life, are thofe made up of plain lines, i. e. firaight and 
circular lines, which moft animals have in common 
with mankind, tho' not in fo extenfive a degree: the 
monkey from his make hath it fufficiently in his power 
to be graceful, but as reafon is required for this purpofe, 
it would be impoflible to bring him to move genteely. 
Though I have faid that the ordinary a&ions of. 
the body are performed in plain, lines, I mean only 
comparatively -fo . with thofe.of fludied movements, ia 
the 


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