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peculiarly cleaving to us, makes way for our humility. Good anticipated, lends all its brightness to hope. Evil foreboded lends all its lurid darkness to despair. Good, as stable and permanent, wins our confidence; but as evil threatens it, jealousy distracts us. Good done by us elicits self-estimation ; evil committed by us fills us with shame and remorse.
Such is the summary into which I venture to methodise the passions of the human mind. Many varieties will easily take their place among the bolder and elementary classes. These may be compared to the semitones of the chromatic scale, or to the gentle blending of the prismatic colours.
Upon these passions it will now be proper to offer some general comments.
Complacency towards ideal or absolute good is a noble passion. It has high commerce with all that is fair and lovely. It lingers amidst the visions and archetypes of moral beauty. It soars to gaze on the sun-beams of an infinite excellence. There is a delight in all the works of our common Creator, which only a mind so constituted and directed can indulge. I envy not the selfish who can behold the gambols of the lamb, who can watch the flowerings of the shrub, who can listen to the carols of the woodland, without a luxury of this complacential emotion. And when it can win back its way into any bosom, that bosom may yet be cleansed. It is true to all that we know of human feeling when the heart, so long seared and withered, of the “ Ancient Mariner” first relents and softens at the spectacle of ocean's happy sportive tribes :
“O happy living things ! No tongue
Their beauty might declare :
And I blessed them unaware !"* Complacency may also rest upon what is abject and gross : it may long for that as its good which is unworthy of right taste and pursuit. It is possible for the miser to make an idol of his gold! It is possible for the demon to cry, “Evil be thou my good!" Hatred, standing as its antipode, when it
fastens upon abstract or positive evil, may be not only innocent but laudable: it is virtuous to shun all that may vitiate, to abhor that which is evil, as it is natural to shrink from pain and physical harm. We may hate it with a perfect hatred. It is possible, nevertheless, that hatred may see in good its very provocation. It is thwarted and reproved by it. The light disturbs. The loveliness embitters.
The desire of particular acquisitions is the goad of general exertion. It awakens the husbandman to his toil: it harnesses the warrior for the fight. As ambition, it may strive to read its history in a grateful country's eye; or, like Hyder Aly, in the emphatic language of Burke, “blast it with one storm of fire.” Milton thus excuses desire when it takes the shape of the love of distinction:
“ Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise,
To scorn delights, and live laborious days." Disgust and aversion, the extreme of desire, are most proper emotions when deeds and principles of evil are presented before us: but too frequently they are intolerant and rankling prejudices.
Admiration is something more than crude astonishment: it relates to works of power, or qualities of conduct, which are elevated above our ordinary conceptions. When the emotion passes beyond this, it is sublimated into awe. There is nothing nobler, or more rapturous, in the mind, than this form of reverential admiration. It is the soul in its highest stretch, and yet sweetest calm. It is the agony and the peace of ecstasy. It is the trembling of delight. And the holier aspects of virtue have often claimed this profound impression. Profligacy has been abashed in the presence of these examples. Our great poet describes his fiend as penetrated with the sentiment, “He felt how awful goodness is.” Perhaps as the closest opposite to admiration, we may adduce horror. Monstrous, prodigious, things of evil will create it. Crime has but to reach a pitch and turpitude, and the well-ordered mind is revolted and shocked.
We shudder at the recital. It is a tragedy that makes us shrink. A reduced emotion of the same excitement may be felt at some haggard scenery, the gloomy pass, the bleak precipice, the cataract torrent, the mountain scalp; we are affected by them somewhat in the same manner as the ancient heroes were moved when they descended to visit the shades. Another modification of this passion is when wickedness sends forth its defiance of retribution ; we rush from the spot as though we dreaded that the reddest thunderbolt was about to fall. Indignation is kindred to horror: and while horror regards the deed itself, it rather marks the principles and sympathies in spite of which it is done. Had we been the first to gaze on the murdered Duncan :
“ His silver skin laced with his golden blood, And his gash'd stabs like to a breach in nature, For ruin's wasteful entrance,"
we might have exclaimed with Macduff
“0, horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
Cannot conceive nor name thee !"
But when we remember that the monarch was welcomed into the castle of Macbeth, - was there “in double trust," — that “ the kinsman,” “ the subject,” and “the host,” were “strong against the deed,"—indignation supplants horror, and our hearts seethe up at the perfidy, as well as at the blood-thirstiness, of “his taking off.”
“ Penetralia Sparsisse nocturno cruore
Esteem is the appreciation of certain attributes which are pleasant and gently agreeable. It bears affinity to those kinds of excellence which are milder and more winning than the objects of admiration. And here it would be inexcusable to omit a reference to what is called “the tender passion.” Esteem is its true source; and when suitors talk of their admiration, they should be peremptorily dismissed, and all the letters of such
Hor: Lib. ii. 13.
deceiving knights ought to be forthwith returned. “Nil admirari,” may well be resolved concerning the sequel of all these awe-struck attachments. The household goddess asks a more touching homage. The hearth is an altar for a more lambent flame. But it is generally supposed that the passion is itself extinct: that but for poets and painters it would be forgotten. It is said that the enquiries are now wholly devoted, not to the drawing of hearts, but of settlements.
If the gallant observes of his betrothed that she has excellent properties, he means in stocks and in lands. Articles of faith are not intended when they speak of their articles of agreement. Poor woman is tariffed, and taken-ad valorem ! Ancestors are nothing, hereditaments are all! There would be no estate of wedlock, unless there was another estate somewhere besides! No line is of any consequence, except it be engrossed! Vieurs are not to be thought of, unless they open in their grounds! Not a conveyance shall the postilion whirl to the shrine, until every other shall be impounded by the lawyer! Hands shall not be plighted, until they have signed, sealed, and delivered ! Poor Cupid ! Once he carried a torch, but it is now only a match ! Venus once was drawn by billing doves, but pecking, quarrelsome, guinea-fowls are now her team !
In this negociation there is no necessity for the school-boy escape from the difficulty of ellipsis, for the negotium is not only understood but always expressed ! Who cares now for hearts? Only their ace has any chance, because that can pounce on all! The knave still remains ! And if the club deal not the death-blow of long-continued domestic strife, secret dejection may complete the catastrophe, and only a little later deal the spade ! Friendship is built upon esteem : without this, men may be accomplices, they cannot be friends. Perhaps this has not fared much better than love. I have read of a gentleman who would always reckon a fixed complement. He invariably filled up the list. His expedient prevented the long continuance of any blank. No sooner did he hear of death having overtaken any of them, than he immediately took his hat and stick, walked down to St. James's coffee-house, and got another !
A satire may
To esteem, scorn may be antagonised. This is often a paltry feeling. It is not unusually the accompaniment of gross ignorance. It mistakes small exceptions for great principles. And yet we often speak of a high and dignified scorn. Crooked policy, treacherous finesse, deserve its brand. be playful as the dancing of a sunbeam: a sarcasm may strike keenly as the lightning of heaven. Disdain need not be the coquette she is generally described to be, with whisking fan and tossing head. There is a danger we may disdain. We may disdain unworthy artifice. “ Contempt,” (says South) “is a noble and an innocent revenge, and silence the fullest expression of it. Except only storms and tempests, the great things of the world are seldom loud. Tumult and noise usually arise from the conflict of contrary things in a narrow passage ; and just so does the loudness of wrath and reviling argue a contracted breast : such an one, as has not room enough to wield and manage its own actions with stillness and composure. What a noise and a buzz does the pitiful little gnat make, and how sharply does it sting: while the eagle passes the air in silence, and never descends but to a noble and an equal prey. He therefore that thinks he shows any nobleness, or height of mind, by a scurrilous reply to a scurrilous provocation, measures himself by a false standard, and acts not the spirit of a man but the spleen of the wasp.” To this racy declamation the only objection that can be offered is, that such conscious superiority may be most false and arrogant; that the “alta silentia,” may evince a dogged obstinacy, and betray a misgiving cause, as well as a sense of rectitude, and a reliance
Courage is a very ambiguous feeling, and it is plain that it is commonly understood in its grossest acceptation. A brute force and hardihood spring from a firm texture and conformation of the bodily frame. The finer rudiments of mental strength are not needed for them who “in the trade of war slay men." But when courage is the temperament and dint of the soul, who but must revere the lofty spectacle? The resistance of oppression, the assertion of principle, the independence of