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OF THE PLEASURES OF VARIETY. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 4.
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OF THE PLEASURES OF VARIETY.
But if order in objects is necessary, variety is so also: without this the soul grows languid; for objects, which resemble each other, appear to it to be the same; and if one part of a picture, which is shewn us, should resemble another which we have seen, this object would be new without appearing to be so, and would afford us no pleasure. And, as the beauties of the works of art consist in the pleasures which they afford us, they ought to be made as fit as possible to vary those pleasures; the mind ought to be shewn objects which it has not seen; the sentiment it is inspired with ought to be different from that which it had before.
It is thus that histories please us by the variety of relations; romances, by the variety of prodigies; theatrical pieces, by the variety of passions; and that they, who know properly how instruct us, vary, as much as they can, the uniform strain of instruction.
A long uniformity renders any thing insupportable; the same order of periods a great while continued, quite fatigues us in an oration; the same numbers, and the same cadences, make a long poem extremely tiresome. If it be true that they have finished the famous road from Moscow to Petersburg, the traveller must be tired to death, shut up between the two rows of that alley; and one, who should travel a long time upon the Alps, would come down from them disgusted with situations most agreeable, and points of view the most charming.
The soul loves variety; but it does not love it, as we have said, but because it is formed to know and to see: it must then be possible for it to see, and the variety must permit it to do so; that is to say, an object must be simple enough to be perceived, and varied enough to be perceived with pleasure.
There are some things which appear varied, and are not so; and others which appear uniform, and are much varied.
The Gothic architecture appears extremely varied, but the confusion of its ornaments fatigues us by their smallness; which makes it impossible for us to distinguish them from each other, and their number prevents the eye from fixing upon any one of them; so that it disgusts us by those very parts which were intended to render it agreeable.
A building of the Gothic order is a kind of riddle to the eye which beholds it; and the mind is embarassed in the same way as when an obscure poem is presented to it.
The Grecian architecture, on the contrary, appears uniform, but as it has as many divisions as it ought, and as are proper to make the Mind see precisely as much as it can without being fatigued, and at the same time enough to give it employment, has that Variety which makes it be beheld with pleasure.
Great objects ought to have great parts; large men have large arms, great trees have great branches, huge mountains are divided into other mountains bigger and less in proportion; ’tis the nature of things which does this.
The Grecian architecture, which has few divisions and grand ones, imitates the nature of things; the Soul is struck with a certain majesty, which every where abounds in it.
’Tis thus that painting divides, into groupes of three or four figures, what it represents in a picture; it imitates Nature; a numerous troop is always divided into platoons; ’tis thus too that the painter makes grand divisions of his light and shade.