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

Chap. XVII: of action,   pp. 138-153

Page 152

What I would have underflood by adion, abfiractedly 
and apart from its giving force to the meaning of the, 
words, may be better conceived by fuppofing a fo- 
reigner, who is a thorough mailer of all the effeds of 
action, at one of our theatres, but quite ignorant of the 
language of the play; it is evident his fentiments under 
fuch limitations, would chiefly arife from what he might 
diffinguifh by the lines of the movements belonging 
to each charader; the ations of an old man, if proper, 
or not, would be vifible to him at once, and he would 
judge of low and odd chara~ters, by the inelegant 
lines which we have already fhewn to belong to thu) 
charaders of punch, larlequi4, pierrott, or the clown; 
fo he would alfo form his judgment of the graceful 
a&ing of a fine gentleman, or hero, by the elegance of 
their movements in fuch lines of grace and beauty as 
have been fufficiently defcribed. See chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 
on the compofition of forms. Where note, that as the 
whole of beauty depends upon continually varying the 
fame moul be obferved with regard to genteel and ele- 
gant ating: and as plain fpace makes a confiderable 
part of beauty in form, fo ceffation of movement in 
ading is as abfolutely neceffary; and in my opinion 
much wanted on mofi flages, to relieve the eye from 
what Shakefpear calls, continually fawing the air. 
The atrefs hath fufficient grace with fewer adions, 
and thofe in lefs extended lines than the a&or ; for as 
the lines that compofe the Venus are fmpler and more 

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