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less from that very circumstance of not being divided into parts.
A room of a moderate size appears larger when properly furnished. But, when a very large room is furnished, I doubt whether it be not lessened in appearance.
A room of a moderate size looks less by having a ceiling lower than in proportion. The same low ceiling makes a very large room look larger than it is in reality.
These experiments are by far too small a stock for a general theory: but they are all that occur at present ; and, instead of a regular system, I have nothing for the reader's instruction but a few conjectures.
The largest angle of vision seems to be the natural measure of space : the eye is the only judge; and in examining with it the size of any plain, or the length of any line, the most accurate method that can be taken is, to run over the object in parts: the largest part that can be seen with one steadfast look, determines the largest angle of vision; and, when that angle is given, one may institute a calculation, by trying with the eye how many of these parts are in the whole.
Whether this angle be the same in all men, I know not: the smallest angle of vision is ascertained; and to ascertain the largest would not be less curious.
But supposing it known, it would be a very imperfect measure ; perhaps more so than the natural measure of time: for it requires great steadiness of eye to measure a line with any accuracy, by applying it to the largest angle of distinct vision. And supposing that steadiness to be acquired by practice, the measure will be imperfect from other circumstances. The space comprehended under this angle will be different according to the distance, and also according to the situation of the object : of a perpendicular this angle will comprehend the smallest space ; the space will be larger in looking upon an inclined plain; Vol. I.
and will be larger or less, in proportion to the degree of inclination.
This measure of space, like the measure of time, is liable to several errors, from certain operations of the mind, which will account for some of the erroneous judgments above mentioned. The space marked out for a dwellinghouse, where the eye is at any reasonable distance, is seldom greater than can be seen at once, without moving the head : divide that space into two or three equal parts, and none of these parts will appear much less than what can be comprehended at one distinct look; consequently each of them will appear equal, or nearly equal, to what the whole did before the division. If, on the other hand, the whole be very small, so as scarce to fill the eye at one look, its division into parts will, I conjecture, make it appear
still less : the minuteness of the parts is, by an easy transition of ideas, transferred to the whole : and we pass the same judgment on the latter that we do on the former.
The space marked out for a small garden is surveyed almost at one view; and requires a motion of the eye so slight, as to pass for an object that can be comprehended under the largest angle of distinct vision; if not divided into too many parts, we are apt to form the same judgment of each part, and consequently to magnify the garden in proportion to the number of its parts.
A very large plain without protuberances is an object no less rare than beautiful ; and in those who see it for the first time, it must 'produce an emotion of wonder. That emotion, however slight, imposes on the mind, and makes it judge that the plain is larger than it is in reality. Divide the plain into parts, and our wonder ceases; it is no longer considered as one great plain, but as so many different fields or enclosures.
The first time one beholds the sea, it appears to be large beyond all bounds. When it becomes familiar, and ceases to raise our wonder, it appears less than it is in
reality. In a storm it appears large, being distinguishable by the rolling waves into a number of great parts. Islands scattered at considerable distances, add in appearance to its size: each intercepted part looks extremely large, and we insensibly apply arithmetic to increase the appearance of the whole. Many islands scattered at hand, give a diminutive appearance to the sea, by its connexion with its diminutive parts: the Lomond lake would undoubtedly look larger without its islands.
Furniture increaseth in appearance the size of a small room, for the same reason that divisions increase in
appearance the size of a garden. The emotion of wonder which is raised by a very large room without furniture, makes it look larger than it is in reality : if completely furnished, we view it in parts, and our wonder is not raised.
A low ceiling hath a diminutive appearance, which, by an easy transition of ideas, is communicated to the length and breadth, provided they bear any proportion to the height. If they be out of all proportion, the opposition seizes the mind, and raises some degree of wonder, which makes the difference appear greater than it really is.
THE RESEMBLANCE OF EMOTIONS TO THEIR CAUSES.
That many emotions have some resemblance to their causes, is a truth that can be made clear by induction ; though, as far as I know, the observation has not been made by any writer. Motion, in its different circumstances, is productive of feelings that resemble it; șluggish motion, for example, causeth a languid unpleasant feeling; slow uniform motion, a feeling calm and plea
sant; and brisk motion, a lively feeling that rouses the spirits, and promotes activity. A fall of water through tocks, raises in the mind a tumultuous confused agitation, extremely similar to its cause. When force is exerted with any effort, the spectator feels a similar effort, as of force exerted within his mind. A large object swells in the heart. An elevated object makes the spectator stand erect.
Sounds also produce emotions, or feelings that resemble them. A sound in a low key brings down the mind : such a sound in a full tone hath a certain solemnity, which it communicates to the feeling produced by it. A sound in a high key cheers the mind by raising it: such a sound in a full tone both elevates and swells the mind.
Again, a wall or pillar, that declines from the perpendicular, produceth a painful feeling, as of a tottering and falling within the mind : and a feeling somewhat similar is produced by a tall pillar that stands so ticklish as to look like falling.* A column with a base looks more firm and stable than upon the naked ground; and for that reason is more agreeable: and though the cylinder is a more beautiful figure, yet the cube for a base is preferred; its angles being extended to a greater distance from the centre than the circumference of a cylinder. This excludes not a different reason, that the base, the shaft, and the capital of a pillar, ought, for the sake of variety, to differ from each other: if the shaft be round, the base and capital ought to be square.
A constrained posture, uneasy to the man himself, is disagreeable to the spectator; whence a rule in painting, that the drapery ought not to adhere to the body, but hang loose, that the figures may appear easy and free in their
* Sunt enim Tempe saltus transitu difficilis: nam præter angustias per quinque millia, qua exiguum jumento onusto iter est, rupes utrinque ita abscissæ sunt, ut despiei vix sine vertigine quadam simul oculorum animique possit. Titus Livius, lib. xliv, seot. 6.
movements. The constrained posture of a French dancing master in one of Hogarth's pieces, is for that reason diagreeable; and it is also ridiculous, because the constraint is assumed as a grace.
The foregoing observation is not confined to emotions or feelings raised by still life: it holds also in what are raised by the qualities, actions, and passions of a sensible being. Love, inspired by a fine woman, assumes her qualities: it is sublime, soft, tender, severe or gay, according to its cause. This is still more remarkable in emotions raised by human actions : it hath already been remarked, * that any single instance of gratitude, beside procuring esteem for the author, raiseth in the spectator a vague emotion of gratitude, which disposeth him to be grateful; and I now further remark, that this vague emotion hath a strong resemblance to its cause, namely, the passion that produced the grateful action : courage exerted inspires the reader as well as the spectator with a like emotion of courage ; a just action fortifies our love of justice, and a generous action rouses our generosity. In short, with respect to all virtuous actions, it will be found by induction, that they lead us to imitation, by inspiring emotions resembling the passions that produceth these actions. And hence the advantage of choice books and choice company.
Grief as well as joy are infectious: the emotions they raise in a spectator resemble them perfectly. Fear is equally infectious: and hence in an army, a few taking fright, even without cause, spread the infection till it becomes an universal panic. Pity is similar to its cause; a parting scene between lovers or friends, produceth in the spectator a sort of pity, which is tender like the distress: the anguish of remorse produceth pity of a harsh kind; and if the remorse be extreme, the pity hath a mixture of
* Part I. of this chapter, sect. iv.