« السابقةمتابعة »
nuine rules of Criticism are all of them derived from the human heart.” And upon this occasion we must apply the distinction which we have endeavoured to establish in our opening. In those branches of Criticism, in which we judge from given rules, the rules are not derived from the heart. The rule, for instance, by which we judge of the proportion of a figure in painting or sculpture, or by which we judge of metre in poetry, is purely mechanical; and is not to be traced froin that noble fource. But, with regard to the effects produced on the mind, by the happy expression of character in a fine picture or ftatue, or of sentiment in a fine Poem, these indeed have their source in the human heart. The principles however on which they depend do not govern our judgment, which, as has been observed, is wholly influenced by the force of the previous impressions we receive; and we do not take principles into consideration till the mind returns to its former state, and is at leisure to examine into the cause of the impression, which altered its tone. Therefore, though we may discover from what principles sensitive effects in general proceed, yet the discovery will not enable us to produce those effects, or, in other words, will not teach us to feel : and we might as well attempt, with our naked force, to make an impression on the hard and rugged coat of a rhinoceros, as to tcach a man of rigid nerves to thrill with delicate sensations. It would be as easy likewise to keep the surface of the ocean in a state of perpetual calm, as to preserve the human mind in one constant tone, so as always to be susceptible of the same impressions.
The sources of these impressions, however, are accurately traced in this ingenious work, in which his Lordship proceeds in the analytic method, beginning with an enquiry by what law a train of thought is regulated. He obferves that this train does not depend upon will nor upon chance, but is of opinion that it is directed by the relations which link things together: and he appeals to experience to prove that objects are connected in the mind precisely as they externally exift. He then enumerates the relations which form these connections, such as cause and effect; contiguity in time and place; resemblance and contrast; precedence and subsequence. And in this enumeration the Reader will perceive that his Lordship follows Mr. Lock.
The will (Lord Kaims observes) hath a considerable influence in directing the order of connected ideas, though we have not the absolute command of ideas. We may vary the
order Ee 2
order of a natural train, but not so as to diffolve it altogether, by purfuing our thoughts in an unconnected manner; and he very justly remarks, that the flightest connection will introduce a subject, which accords with the present tone of mind. In some minds (he continues) thoughts and circumstances crowd upon each other by the slightest connection ; which he ascribes to a defect in the faculty of discernment. Such a person must necessarily have a great command of ideas, because the fighter relations being without number, must furnish ideas without end. On the other hand, à man of accurate judgment cannot have a great flow of ideas. The Nighter relations, making no figure in his mind, have no power to introduce ideas. Upon this principle his Lordship very ingeniously accounts for the difference between wit and judgment; and hence it is, he concludes, that accurate judgment is not friendly to declamation, or copious eloquence.
The sense of order and arrangement is asiigned as another cause which regulates the train of thought. When due attention is paid to these, we have a sense of just composition. In these, his Lordship observes, Homer is defective; and Pindar more remarkably so. He likewise censures Horace for being eminently defective in these respects; and among many instances of such defects to which he refers, he takes notice of the first Satire of the first Book, which commences with an important question, “ How it happens that persons, who are so much satisfied with themselves, are generally so little with their condition?” After illustrating the observation (says his Lordship) by several examples, the Author, forgetting his subject, enters upon a declamation against avarice, which he pursues to the line 108. Here he makes an apology for wandering, and promises to return to his subject; but that of avarice having got possession of his mind, he pursues that theme to the end, and never returns to the question proposed in the beginning
Now we cannot forbear thinking his censure too severe, and perhaps not altogether juft. First, his Lordship appears to have mistaken the question, which is simply, “How it happens that persons are so little satisfied with their own condition, and extoll that of others *?” And the idea of oppofition, which his Lordship has introduced of their being so
Qui fit, Mæcenas, ut nemo, quam fibi fortem
much fatisfied with themselves, makes no part of the question put by the Poet. As to the declamation against avarice, admitting it to be too long continued, yet it it is not introduced by forgetting the subject; on the contrary, it seems to rise from it naturally: for the Poet makes the dissatisfied persons, viz. the Soldier and the Merchant, &c. alledge that they endure the toil they undergo, with a view of a comfortable retreat in their old age, after the example of the ant, who amafles her store in summer, and never stirs from home during the winter. But, answers the Poet, the illustration is inapplicable; for neither the scorching heat of summer, nor piercing cold of winter; neither the terror of the sea, or of the sword, prove any obstacle to your pursuits, while you see another man richer than yourself. This answer, without any violation of order and connection, gives rise to his declamation against avarice; and in the 108th line he promises to return to the question, which he immediately does in the fola lowing words:
-Nemon' ut Avarus Se probet; ac porius laudet diverfa fequentes? And in ten línes piore the fatire concludes: : In the second Chapter his Lordship enters upon the most interesting part of his subject, and very minutely enquires into the nice distinctions between emotions and passions. His Lordship’s examination is deep and acute ; but we cannot say it gives us all the satisfaction we could wish. “ An internal motion or agitation of the mind, (he obferves) when it passeth away without raising desire, is denominated an emos tion; when defire is raised, the motion or agitation is denominated a passion. A fine face, for example, raiseth in me a pleasant feeling; if this feeling vanish without producing any effect, it is, in proper language, an emotion : but if such feeling, by reiterated views of the object, become sufficiently Itrong to raise desire, it is no longer termed an emotion, but a palfion. The same (he concludes) holds in all the other pafiions.". His Lordship, however, apprizes the Reader, that by defire, in this place, he means that internal impulse which makes us proceed to action, Desire, in a lax sense, (he observes) is more properly termed a wish.
But this refined theory will not, we apprehend, solve the difficulty. No man will hesitate to pronounce love a passion; and yet, should this theory prevail, the strong defire which agitates many, among the Fair Sex in particular, cannot be denominated a passion : because it is not such a defire, or
internal impulse, as proceeds to action. How often virgin niodesty, in a fatal conflict between delicacy and senübility,
Has let Concealment, like a worm i'th'bud,
Feed on her damalk cheek.In truth, the distinction between emotion and passion does not seem to depend on the one being accompanied with defire, and the other not; for we cannot conceive even the flightest emotion without desire. When we behold a fine face, for example, desire is co-existent with the motion it excites; nay, we are bold to affirın, that the motion itself is nothing but defire, which is either fainter or stronger according to the warmth of constitution, and other circumstances in the beholder. Therefore we should conceive, that emotion and passion differ only in degree; where, for instance, the defire is transient, and expires immediately upon, or soon after, the removal of the object which excited it, there it may be properly termed an emotion only. Where, on the contrary, it acquires such strength by reiterated views, as to accompany us even in the absence of the object which made the impression, and to grow into a kind of ideal intercourse, there it may be justly denominated a passion,
It is with entire satisfaction, however, that we accede to many of his Lordship's propositions on the subject of this Chapter. We agree with him that, for example, though the difficulty of attainment with respect to things within reach, often inflame desire; yet where the prospect is faint, and the event extremely uncertain, the object, however agreeable, feldom raiseth any strong desire. But we are not satisfied with the following illustration : “ Thus beauty, (says he) or other good qualities in a woman of rank, feldom raises love in any man greatly her inferior." Now here we apprehend that the difference of rank alone is not the cause which fea. cures the inferior against the effects of this tender passion : it will prevent them no otherwise, than as it sets him at such a distance from the object, as to deprive him of the means of reiterated intercourse to strengthen the first impression; or as the disadvantages of education, or natural imperfection on his fide, render the polish of their minds fo unequal, as to prevent his being affected with that sympathy, which is the concomitant, if not the cause, of this paffion. This fo. lution seems the more juft, since frequent experience evinces, that where persons of unequal rank have had opportunities of fțequent intercourse, and where, either from education or
E e 3
nature, there has been such an accord of mind as to excite sympathy, there the inferiority of station has been no fecurity against the violence of love; nor, in such case, will the difficulty of attainment deter a man, under the influence of strong defire, from such actions as will sufficiently indicate his passion, and sometimes crown his wishes with success.'
In the ensuing Section, explaining the emotions of joy and sorrow, his Lordship offers nothing new. That they are to be accounted for from the sensibility of our nature, and that they are heightened by contrast, are principles extremely obvious. But in tracing the cause of the sympathetic emotions of virtue, he unfolds a curious theory, which, with some exceptions, is as just as it is acute. He is at a loss, however, to determine, whether the feeling produced in the spectator by a signal act of virtue exercised by another, should be called an emotion, or a passion. “ The former (says he) it can scarce be, because it involves desire; and the latter it can scarce be, because it has no object *.” The Reader will readily perceive that his Lordship is led into this difficulty by his in our apprehension) erroneous distinction between emotion and paffion; and this mistake involves him in frequent ambiguity and perplexity. The following reflections, however, display his Lordship's intimate acquaintance with the human heart, and yield strong testimony of the benevolence of his own. “ Let any man (says he attentively consider his own heart, when he thinks warmly of any signal act of gratitude, and he will be conscious of a vague feeling of gratitude, as distinct from the esteem or admiration he has for the grateful person. The feeling is fingular in the following respect, that it involves a defire to perform acts of gratitude, without having any particular object; though in this state the mind, wonderfully disposed toward an object, neglects no object upon which it can vent itself. Any act of kindness or good will, that would not be regarded upon another occasion, is greedily seized; and the vague feeling is converted into a real passion of gratitude."
His Lordship next explains how one emotion or paffion is productive of another. An agreeable object (he observes) makes every thing connected with it appear agreeable. Affećtion sometimes rises so high, as to convert defects into pro
Our Author should have said here, as he expresses himself after wards, “ No particular object;" and this, in part, would have solved the difficulty.