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prieties. The same communication of passion obtains in the relation of principal and accessory
In the ensuing Section his Lordship traces the causes of fear and anger, and observes, that by operating instinctively, they frequently afford security when the flower operations of deliberative reason would be too late. They who have the advantage of being acquainted with the learned Writer's former works, will perceive that, on the subject of instinctive anger, he has repeated the sentiments contained in his excellent Treatise on the Criminal Law, prefixed to his Hiltarical Law Tracts.
The ingenious Philosopher, in the next Section, unfolds by what means the emotions caused by fiction have such inAuence over the mind. “ A thing (he observes) may be recalled to the mind with different degrees of accuracy. We commonly are satisfied with a slight recollection of the chief circumstances; and, in such recollection, the thing is not figured as present, nor any image formed. I retain the con. sciousness of my present situation, and barely remember that formerly I was a spectator ; but with respect to an interesting object or event, which made a strong impression, the mind sometimes, not satisfied with a cursory review, chuses to revolve every circumstance. In this case I conceive myself to be a spectator as I was originally, and I perceive every particular passing in my presence, in the same manner as when I was in reality a spectator.” From the confideration of this ideal presence arising from an act of memory, his Lordship proceeds to consider the idea of a thing raised by speech, by writing, or by painting ; which, he observes, is of the same nature with an idea of memory. “ An important event, by a lively and accurate description, roużes my attention, and insensibly transforms me into a spectator. I perceive ideally every incident as passing in my presence.” Hence he takes occasion to observe that if, in reading, ideal presence be the means by which our passions are moved, it makes no difference whether the subject be a fable or a reality. In support of this theory, he contends, that genuine history commands our.. passions by means of ideal presence only; and therefore, that with respect to this effect, genuine history stands upon the same footing with fable. Our fympathy must vanish so soon as we begin to reflect on the incidents in either. The effect of history, in point of instruction, depends in some measure on its variety. But history cannot reach the heart while we indulge any reflection upon the facts. Such reflection, if it Ee4
engage our belief, never fails at the same time to poison our pleasure, by convincing us that our sympathy for those who are dead and gone, is absurd.
His Lordship expatiates on the many admirable effects of ideal presence,' and from this principle he deduces many accurate rules of Criticism. He observes, that in an historical poem no improbable incident ought to be admitted; and from hence he takes occasion to censure the ufe of machinery in an epic poem : the argument, as he remarks, concluding still more strongly against imaginary beings, than against improbable facts. Fictions of this nature may amuse by their novelty and singularity, but they can never move the sympathetic passions, because they cannot impose on the mind any perception of reality
The learned Writer, in the next place, very properly distinguishes pleasant and painful emotions, from agreeable and disagreeable. " When a passion is termed pleasant or painful, we refer to the actual feeling; when termed agreeable or disagreeable, it is considered as an object of thought or reflection. A passion is pleasant or painful to the person in whom it exists; it is agreeable or disagreeable to the person who makes it the subject of contemplation. The different modifications of these qualities are next examined, and his Lordship observes, that from acuteness of sense arises what is termed delicacy of taste.
The interrupted cxistence of einotions and passions, with their growth and decay, form the subject of Part III. It is observed, that emotions require the constant exertion of an operating cause, and cease when the cause is withdrawn. An emotion may subsist while its cause is present, and when its cause is removed, may subsist by means of an idea, though in a fainter degrée; but vanishes the moment another thought occupies the mind. With respect to their growth and decay, some emotions are produced in their utmost perfection, and have a very short endurance: this is the case of surprize, of wonder, and sometimes of terror. Love, hatred, and some otlier passions, increase gradually to a certain pitch, and thereafter decay gradually.”
In the ensuing Part, co-existent emotions and passions are taken into consideration, beginning with the fimpler emotions raised by different sounds, and proceeding thence to the more complex, which opens a large field of acute and refined Criticism.
The power of passion to adjust our opinions and belief to its gratification, is illustrated in the next Part. On this head his Lordship makes some very nice and just observations, which prove the delicacy of his feelings, and his intimate acquaintance with the human mind. In an Appendix to this part he endeavours to shew, that even in computing time and space, the power of passion adjusts them to its gratification. But on this subject his Lordship’s reflections are obscured by refinement; and in many instances are, in gur judgment, far from juft.
In the next Part, however, which concerns the resemblance emotions bear to their causes, the learned Writer gives eng tire fatisfaction. But we must not forget our limits; there, fore we proceed to Part VII. wherein the final causes of the more frequent emotions and passions are admirably displayed.
From this general theory of emotions and passions, his Lordship enters upon an enquiry concerning such attributes, relations, and circumstances, as, in the fine arts, are chiefly employed to raise agreeable emotions, beginning with beauty, of which he distinguishes two kinds. The first he terms intrinsic beauty, because it is discovered in a single object, without relation to any other. The second he terms relative beauty, because it is founded on the relation of objects ; 'and from this distinction he deduces many pertinent and accurate reflections,
Grandeur and fublimity come next under examination; and here the Author rises with his subject. The emotions, he observes, raised by great and elevated objects, are clearly distinguishable, not only in the internal feeling, but even in their external expressions. A great object dilates the breast, and makes the spectator endeavour to enlarge his bulk.
This, he very acutely observes, is remarkable in persons, who, neglecting delicacy in behaviour, give way to nature without reserve. Grandeur and sublimity are next considered in a figurative sense. His Lordship then proceeds to remark, that in order to have a just conception of grandeur and sublimity, it is necessary to be observed, that within certain limits they produce their strongest effects, which lessen by excess as well as by defect. This is remarkable in grandeur and fublimity, taken in their proper sense.' The Itrongest emotion of grandeur is raised by an object that can be taken in at one view. An object so immense as not to be comprehended but in parts, tends rather to distract than satisfy
the mind. The same is equally remarkable in figurative grandeur and elevation. Sentiments may be so strained as to become obscure, or to exceed the capacity of the human mind. From these principles his Lordship deduces many excellent rules of Criticism, which he illustrates by examples drawn from the best Writers, and shews where some of them have violated those rules, by strained descriptions, which constitute that species of the false subliine, known by the name of bombast.
The next Chapter treats of motion and force. Motion (he observes) is certainly agreeable in all its varieties of quickness and nowness. But that degree of motion which correfponds to the natural course of our perceptions, is most agreeable. Motion and force, agreeable in themselves, are also agreeable by their utility. Hence the superior beauty of some machines, where force and motion concur to perform the work of numerous hands.
Novelty, and the unexpected appearance of objects, constitutes the subject of the sixth Chapter. In enumerating the emotions excited by novelty, his Lordship obferves, that novelty, wherever found, is the cause of wonder, which he distinguishes from admiration ; the latter being directed upon the operator who performs any thing wonderful : and both are distinct from surprize, which is raised by any thing breaking in unexpectedly, and without the preparation of any connection. This emotion may be occasioned by the most familiar obje&t, such as the accidental meeting a friend, who was reported to be dead; but it will not be produced, if the fpectator be prepared for the sight. An elephant in India will not suprize a traveller who goes to see one, and yet its novelty will raise his wonder.
In the seventh Chapter, which treats of visible objects, his Lordship, in a great degree, confirms the propositions which we have endeavoured to establish in our introduction. “ It seems difficult, (he acknowleges) if at all practicable, to establish before-hand any general character, by which objects of this kind may be distinguished from others. All men are not equally affected by visible objects; and even the same person is more disposed to laugh at one time than another.” Now this observation will hold equally true with respect to other subjects, which affect the senfitive part of our nature. For it is impossible to lay down any general rules before-hand by which we may judge of them, since the judgment formed
depends, in a great measure, on the disposition of the person
With respect to objects that cause laughter, the Author
Having discussed the qualities and circumstances of single objects, he proceeds to the relations of objects, beginning with the relations of resemblance and contrast. Curiosity (he observes) particularly incites us to consider objects in the way of comparison, in order to discover their differences and resemblances. The gratification of this propensity (he observes) lies in discovering difference where resemblance prevails, and in discovering resemblance where difference prevails. With respect to resemblance, he takes notice, that when it is too entire it hath no effect, however different in kind the things compared may be. But this remark is applied to works of art only; for natural objects, of different kinds, have scarce ever an entire resemblance. With regard to contrast, emotions make the greatest figure when contrasted in succession; but then it ought to be neither precipitate nor immoderately flow. Towards the end of this Chapter he enters upon a very important question, concerning emotions raised by the fine arts, viz. What ought to be the rule of succession; whether resemblance ought to be studied or contrast? He concludes, that the emotions raised by the fine arts are generally too nearly related to make a figure by resemblance, and for that reason their succession ought to be regulated as much as poslīble by contrast,
In the last Chapter of this Volume his Lordship treats of uniformity and variety. His reflections on these heads are curious. “ The uniformity or variety of a train, he observes, so far as composed of external objects, depends on the partiçular objects that surround the percipient at the time. À natural train of ideas of memory is more circumscribed, each, .. object being linked by some connection to what precedes, and": to what follows it; but a train of ideas, suggested by reading, may be varied at will, provided we have books in store. In