Imatges de pÓgina
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tion, is no less agreeable upon reflection, than the pleasant emotion raised by a flowing river or a lofty dome : and the painful passions of grief and pity are agreeable, and applauded by all the world.

Another rule more simple and direct for ascertaining the agreeableness or disagreeableness of a passion as opposed to an emotion, is derived from the desire that accompanies it. If the desire be to perform a right action in order to produce a good effect, the passion is agreeable : If the desire be to do a wrong action in order to produce an ill effect, the passion is disagreeable. Thus, passions as well as actions are governed by the mural sense. These rules by the wisdom of Providence coincide: a passion that is conformable to our common nature must tend to good; and a passion that deviates from our common nature must tend to ill.

This deduction may be carried a great way farther : but to avoid intricacy and obscurity, I make but one other step. A passion which, as aforesaid, becomes an object of thought to a spectator, may have the effect to produce a passion or emotion in him ; for it is natural, that a social being should be affected with the passions of others. Passions or emotions thus generated, submit, in common with others, to the general law above mentioned, namely, that an agreeable object produces a pleasant emotion, and a disagreeable object à painful emotion. Thus the passion of gratitude, being to a spectator an agreeable object, produceth in him the pleasant passion of love to the grateful person ; and malice being to a spectator a disagreeable object, produceth in him the painful passion of hatred to the malicious person.

We are now prepared for examples of pleasant passions that are disagreeable, and of painful passions that are agreeable. Self-love, as long as confined within just bounds, is a passion both pleasant and agreeable: in ex

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cess it is disagreeable, though it continues to be still pleasant. Our appetites are precisely in the same condition. Resentment, on the other hand, is, in every stage of the passion, painful; but is not disagreeable unless in excess. Pity is always painful, yet always agreeable. Vanity, on the contrary, is always pleasant, yet always disagreeable. But however distinct these qualities are, they coincide, I acknowledge, in one class of passions : all vicious passions tending to the hurt of others, are equally painful and disagreeable.

The foregoing qualities of pleasant and painful, may be sufficient for ordinary subjects; but with respect to the science of criticism, it is necessary, that we also be made acquainted with the several modifications of these qualities, with the modifications at least that make the greatest figure. Even at first view one is sensible, that the pleasure or pain of one passion differs from that of another: how distant the pleasure of revenge gratified from that of love ? so distant, as that we cannot without reluce tance admit them to be any way related. That the same quality of pleasure should be so differently modified in different passions, will not be surprising, when we reflect on the boundless variety of agreeable sounds, tastes, and smells, daily perceived. Our discernment reaches differences still more minute, in objects even of the same sense : we have no difficulty to distinguish different sweets, different sours, and different bitters; honey is sweet, so is sugar, and yet the one never is mistaken for the other ; our sense of smelling is sufficiently acute, to distinguish varieties in sweet smelling flowers without end. With respect to passions and emotions, their differences as to pleasant and painful have no limits; though we want acuteness of feeling for the more delicate modifications. There is here an analogy between our internal and external senses: the latter are sufficiently acute for all the

useful purposes of life, and so are the former. Some persons indeed, Nature's favourites, have a wonderful acuteness of sense, which to them unfolds many a delightful scene totally hid from vulgar eyes.

But if such refined pleasure be confined to a small number, it is however wisely ordered that others are not sensible of the defect; nor detracts it from their happiness that others secretly are more happy. With relation to the fine arts only, that qualification seems essential; and there it is termed delicacy of taste.

Should an author of such a taste attempt to describe all those varieties in pleasant and painful emotions which he himself feels, he would soon meet an invincible obstacle in the poverty of language: a people must be thoroughly refined, before they invent words for expressing the more delicate feelings; and for that reason, no known tongue hitherto has reached that perfection. We must therefore rest satisfied with an explanation of the more obvious modifications.

In forming a comparison between pleasant passions of different kinds, we conceive some of them to be gross, some refined. Those pleasures of external sense that are felt as at the organ of sense, are conceived to be corporeal or gross :* the pleasure of the eye and the ear are felt to be internal; and for that reason are conceived to be more pure and refined.

The social affections are conceived by all to be more refined than the selfish. Sympathy and humanity are universally esteemed the finest temper of mind: and for that reason, the prevalence of the social affections in the progress of society, is held to be a refinement in our nature. A savage knows little of social affection, and therefore is not qualified to compare selfish and social plea

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sure ; but a man, after acquiring a high relish for the latter, loses not thereby a taste for the former : he is qualified to judge, and he will give preference to social pleasures as more sweet and refined. In fact they maintain that character, not only in the direct feeling, but also when we make them the subject of reflection: the social passions are far more agreeable than the selfish, and rise much higher in our esteem.

There are differences not less remarkable among the painful passions. Some are voluntary, some involuntary: the pain of the gout is an example of the latter : grief, of the former, which in some cases is so voluntary as to reject all consolation. · One pain softens the temper, pity is an instance : one intends to render us savage and cruel, which is the case of revenge. I value myself upon sympathy: I hate and despise myself for envy.

Social affections have an advantage over the selfish, not only with respect to pleasure, as above explained, but also with respect to pain. The pain of an affront, the pain of want, the pain of disappointment, and a thousand other selfish pains, are cruciating and tormenting, and tend to a habit of peevishness and discontent. Social pains have a very different tendency: the pain of sympathy, for example, is not only voluntary, but softens my temper, and raises me in my own esteem.

Refined manners, and polite behaviour, must not be deemed altogether artificial: men who, inured to the sweets of society, cultivate humanity, find an elegant pleasure in preferring others, and making them happy, of which the proud, the selfish, scarce have a conception.

Ridicule, which chiefly arises from pride, a selfish passion, is at best but a gross pleasure: a people, it is true, must have emerged out of barbarity before they can have a taste for ridicule: but it is too rough an entertainment for the polished and refined. Cicero discovers in Plautus

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a happy talent for ridicule, and a peculiar delicacy of wit : but Horace, who made a figure in the court of Augustus, where taste was considerably purified, declares against the lowness and roughness of that author's raillery. Ridicule is banished France, and is losing ground in England.

Other modifications of pleasant passions will be occasionally mentioned hereafter. Particularly the modifications of high and low are to be handled in the chapter of grandeur and sublimity; and the modifications of dignified and mean, in the chapter of dignity and grace.

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INTERRUPTED EXISTENCE OF EMOTIONS AND PASSIONS.

THEIR GROWTH AND DECAY.

Were it the nature of an emotion to continue, like colour and figure, in its present state till varied by some operating cause, the condition of man would be deplorable : it is ordered wisely, that emotions should more resemble another attribute of matter, namely, motion, which requires the constant exertion of an operating cause, and ceases 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 manner : but the moment another thought breaks in and engrosses the mind, the emotion is gone, and is no longer felt : if it return with its cause, or an idea of its

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