I think I may define taste to be that faculty of the soul which discerns the beauties of an author with pleasure, and the imperfections with dislike.
Bad taste is a species of bad morals.
Taste and elegance, though they are reckoned only among the smaller and secondary morals, yet are of no mean importance in the regulation of life. A moral taste is not of force to turn vice into virtue: but it recommends virtue, with something like the blandishments of pleasure.
It is for the most part in our skill in manners, and in the observances of time and place and of decency in general, that what is called taste consists; and which is in reality no other than a more refined judgment. The cause of a wrong taste is a defect of judgment.
Taste, if it mean anything but a paltry connoisseurship, must mean a general susceptibility to truth and nobleness, a sense to discern, and a heart to love and reverence all beauty, order, goodness, wheresoever, or in whatsoever forms and accompaniments, they are to be seen. This surely implies, as its chief condition, a finery-gifted mind, purified into harmony with itself, into keenness and justness of vision; above all, kindled into love and generous admiration.
A truly elegant taste is generally accompanied with excellency of heart.
May not taste be compared to that exquisite sense of the bee, which instantly discovers and extracts the quintessence of every flower, and disregards all the rest of it?
Delicacy of taste has the same effect as delicacy of passion; it enlarges the sphere both of our happiness and misery, and makes us sensible to pain as well as pleasures, which escape the rest of mankind.
Delicacy of taste is favorable to love and friendship, by confining our choice to few people, and making us indifferent to the company and conversation of the greater part of men.
Whatever injures the body, the morals, or the mind, will lessen or vitiate taste; thus, disorders of the body and violent passions of the mind, will do this, and so will also excessive care or covetousness; but above all, a habit of intemperance and keeping low company will greatly deprave that which was once a good taste.
Good taste is the flower of good sense.
Talk what you will of taste, you will find two of a face as soon as two of a mind.
Taste depends upon those finer emotions which make the organization of the soul.
Taste is, so to speak, the microscope of the judgment.
A fastidious taste is like a squeamish appetite; the one has its origin in some disease of the mind, as the other has in some ailment of the stomach.
Taste is often one of the aspects of fashion. Folly borrows its mask, and walks out with wisdom arm in arm. Like virtues of greater dignity, it is assumed.
Taste is not stationary. It grows every day, and is improved by cultivation, as a good temper is refined by religion.