1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry James Pye

Thomas Green, 19 June 1800; Extracts from the Diary of a Lover of Literature (1810) 234.



Glanced over Pye's Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics. Pye, in his last note, discusses the question, whether Beauty results from Fitness and Utility; but without coming to any general conclusion: Though he inclines to decide, in most instances, in the affirmative; and controverts Burke's examples in favour of an opposite inference. Voltaire, he quotes, as broadly determining in the negative: illustrating his argument by a dose of physic, which however obviously beneficial to the constitution, is not on that account a whit more delectable to the palate; and maintaining, that our moral sentiments are universally the same in all ages and countries; but that our sentiments of beauty and deformity depend altogether upon habit, and will of course vary, at different times, and in different regions, as different habits prevail.