Imatges de pÓgina
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Love and jealousy connected by a common object, occupy the mind alternately: when the object is considered as beautiful, love prevails : when considered as possibly unfaithful, jealousy prevails. A situation of that kind affords great scope for fluctuation of passion ; which is painted to the life by several masterly hands in words as well as in colours. Shakspeare handles the same subject, but in a manner uncommon, and peculiar to himself: in Othello's soliloquy, before putting his wife to death, love and jealousy are represented, each exerting its whole force, but without any struggle ; Othello was naturally inflexible: and the tenderest love could not divert him from a purpose he approved as right, not even for a moment: but every thing consistent with such a character is done to reconcile the two opposite passions; he is resolved to put her to death, but he will not shed her blood, nor so much as ruffle her skin:

Othello. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul :
Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars !
It is the cause.

-Yet I'll not shed her blood,
Nor scar that whiter skin of her's than snow,
And smooth as monumental alabaster.

[Lays down the sword.
Yet she must die ; else she'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then-Put out the light! -
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent : but once put out thy light,
Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light reluminate.[Sets down the taper.
When I have pluck'd thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again;
It needs must wither.-I'll smell thee on the tree :

[Kissing her.
O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword !-One more; one more ;

Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after. -One more, that's the last ;
So sweet was ne'er so fatal ! I must weep,
But they are cruel tears ! this sorrow's heavenly;
It strikes where it doth love.-

Act V. Sc. 6.

In Otway's Orphan, we have an illustrious example of the address employed to gratify opposite passions directed to the same object. Castalio and Polydore, brothers and rivals, had sworn mutual confidence: Castalio broke his faith by a private marriage; which unwarily betrayed Polydore into a dismal deed, that of polluting his brother's bed. Thus he had injured his brother, and was injured by him : justice prompted him to make full atonement by his own death ; resentment against his brother, required a full atonement to be made to himself. In co-existent passions so contradictory, one of them commonly prevails after a struggle; but here happily an expedient occurred to Polydore for gratifying both ; which was, that he should provoke his brother to put him to death. Polydore's crime, in his own opinion, merited that punishment; and justice was satisfied when he fell by the hand of the man he had injured : he wanted at the same time to punish his brother for breach of faith; and he could not punish more effectually than by betraying his brother to be his executioner.

If difference of aim prevent the union of two passions, though having the same object; much more will it prevent their union, when their objects are also different: in both cases there is a fluctuation; but in the latter the fluctuation is slower than in the former. A beautiful situation of that kind is exhibited in the Cid of Corneille. Don Diegue, an old soldier worn out with age, having received a mortal affront from the Count, father to Chimene, employs his son, Don Rodrigue, Chimene's lover, to demand satisfaction. This situation occasions in the breast of Don Rodrigue a cruel struggle between love and honour, one of which must be sacrificed. The scene is finely conducted, chiefly by making love in some degree take part with honour, Don Rodrigue reflecting, that if he lost his honour he could not deserve his mistress : honour triumphs; and the Count provoked to a single combat, falls by the hand of Don Rodrigue.

This produceth another beautiful situation respecting Chimene, which making part of the same story, is placed here, though it properly belongs to the foregoing head. It became the duty of that lady to demand justice against her lover, for whose preservation, in other circumstances, she cheerfully would have sacrificed her own life. The struggle between these opposite passions directed to the same object, is finely expressed in the third scene of the third act:

Elvire. Ilv ous prive d'un pére, et vous l'aimez encore !

Chimene. C'est peu de dire aimer. Elvire, je l'adore ;
Ma passion s'oppose à mon resentiment,
Dedans mon ennemi je trouve mon amant,
Et je sens qu'en depit de toute ma colere,
Rodrigue dans mon cæur combat encore mon pére.
Il l'attaque, il le presse, il céde, il se défend,
Tantôt fort, tantôt foible, et tantôt triomphant ;
Mais en ce dur combat de colére et de flame,
Il déchire mon coeur sans partager mon ame,
Et quoique mon amour ait sur moi de pouvoir,
Je ne consulte point pour suivre mon devoir.
Je cours sans balancer où mon honneur m'oblige,
Rodrigue m'est bien cher, son interêt m’afflige,
Mon cœur prend son parti ; mais malgré son effort,
Je sai que je suis, et que mon pére est mort.

Not less when the objects are different than when the same, are means sometimes afforded to gratify both passions; and such means are greedily embraced. In Tasso's Gerusalemme, Edward and Gildippe, husband and wife, are introduced fighting gallantly against the Saracens : Gildippe receives a mortal wound by the hand of Soliman: Edward inflamed with revenge, as well as concern for Gildippe, is agitated between the two different objects. The poet* describes him endeavouring to gratify both at once, applying his right hand against Soliman, the object of his resentment, and his left hand to support his wife, the object of his love.

PART V.

INFLUENCE OF PASSION WITH RESPECT TO OUR PERCEPTIONS,

OPINIONS, AND BELIEF.

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CONSIDERING how intimately our perceptions, passions, and actions are mutually connected, it would be wonderful if they should have no mutual influence. That our actions are too much influenced by passion, is a known truth; but it is not less certain, though not so well known, that passion hath also an influence upon our perceptions, opinions, and belief. For example, the opinions we form of men and things, are generally directed by affection : an advice given by a man of figure, hath great weight; the same advice from one in a low condition is despised or neglected; a man of courage underrates danger; and

* Canto xx. st. 97.

to the indolent the slightest obstacle appears insurmountable.

This doctrine is of great use in logic; and of still greater use in criticism, by serving to explain several principles of the fine arts that will be unfolded in the course of this work. A few general observations shall at present suffice, leaving the subject to be prosecuted more particularly afterward when occasion offers.

There is no truth more universally known, than that tranquillity and sedateness are the proper state of mind for accurate perception and cool deliberation; and for that reason, we never regard the opinion even of the wisest man, when we discover prejudice or passion behind the curtain. Passion, as observed above * hath such influence over ụs, as to give a false light to all its objects. Agreeable passions prepossess the mind in favour of their objects, and disagreeable passions, no less against their objects: a woman is all perfection in her lover's opinion, while in the 'eye of a rival beauty, she is awkward and disagreeable: when the passion of love is gone, beauty vanishes with it,-nothing left of that genteel motion, that sprightly conversation, those numberless graces, which formerly, in the lover's opinion, charmed all hearts. To a zealot every one of his own sect is a saint, while the most upright of a different sect are to him children of perdition: the talent of speaking in a friend is more regarded than prudent conduct in any other. Nor will this surprise one acquainted with the world: our opinions, the result frequently of various and complicated views, are commonly so slight and wavering, as readily to be susceptible of a bias from passion.

With that natural bias another circumstance concurs, to give passion an undue influence on our opinions and belief; and that is a strong tendency in our nature to

* Page 107. Vol. I.

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